From what I’ve learned from the Folding@Home site, they are trying to get the 8800 to run the protein folding code, but a bug in the nVidia drivers prohibits this. nVidia is aware of the problem, apparently. It would be great if nVidia fixed this because there are many 8800s that could contribute to the science of protein folding which can have breakthroughs applicable to “diseases” such as Alzheimer’s to HIV.
If nVidia were to fix this bug and/or aid protein research scientists in developing their crunching code, this would only help the demand for nVidia graphics cards and it would be a public relations boon. It would also be a boon for nVidia as businesses would be more tempted to create farms of 8800s to crunch data. There are people who have bought ATI x1k cards for the sole purpose of crunching scientific data.
The GPU folding at Folding@Home is able to get 90 gigaflops of processing power from a single top-of-the-line ATI card. This compares to about 3.3 to 4 gigaflops for a Core2Duo CPU. I’m fairly certain that an 8800 could achieve a similar performance. The 8800’s shader units are not as complex as ATIs, but it has more shader units. If the 8800 DOES get similar performance, I would definitely buy one to double as a GPU cruncher and game player because the 8800 is superior in games.
(This is directed more at a bug in the drivers than CUDA, but it applies to GPU crunching)