When I had a Windows 95 PC back in the late 1990’s I would run the [email protected] program. As most people know this is a way to help search for ET. I can not remember exactly but I believe it took at least a day of continuous processing on my IBM Pentium MMX 166 MHz processor to complete one work unit.
About a year ago I rediscovered my childhood urge to find ET and decided to run SETI once more. I discovered that SETI now runs through a program call BOINC. More information on BOINC here.
BOINC, as I understand it, has enormous potential; especially with CUDA. I bought the CUDA enabled GTX 580 to create a monster gaming rig (See post on my gaming computer). When I run SETI, the GTX 580 completes the task in about 7 minutes. Just incredible. My Core 2 Duo laptop took 7 hours.