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New Cell Processor Details

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posted on Dec, 1 2004 @ 02:10 AM
I'm amazed nobody has reported this already of this insanely great product due out sometime in 2006.

Sony, IBM and Toshiba have revealed that they will be formally explaining the Cell chip at the International Solid State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) on the 6th Feb 2005.

IBM and Sony also said they are now ready to announce the promised Cell-based workstation, which should enable software developers to begin coding for the PlayStation 3, itself set to be based on the new chip.

The trio described Cell as a 64-bit POWER-based "multi-core system" for computers and next-generation digital home appliances. Crucially, each core can run a single operating system, or run their own OS independently of the others.

The chip's makers note that Cell is not only a multi-core architecture - like the anticipated 'Antares' PowerPC 970MP - but multi-threaded too, though it's not yet clear whether support for multiple threads takes places within each core level, Hyper Threading-style, or by spreading threads across cores. IBM's POWER 5 architecture supports simultaneous multi-threading, so it seems likely Cell will too.

IBM and Sony also talk about big memory and I/O bandwidth - no great surprise there, given it's a 64-bit processor and what IBM has demonstrated with existing POWER and PowerPC processors. More interesting is the integration of a security sub-system. The companies don't go into any detail, but it sounds not unlike VIA's PadLock technology with its hardware random number generator. Mention is made of "high-level media processing", which could be a reference to AltiVec, the PowerPC SIMD engine.

There's also the suggestion that Cell will use a SpeedStep-style power conservation technology, allowing the chip to reduced its clock frequency. IBM's 90nm PowerPC 970 already has something along these lines.

Also, contrary to past speculation that Cell would ship at 65nm, its makers today said it will debut as a 90nm part using IBM's SOI technology.
The Chip is set to feature in Sonys PlayStation 3 console, but the architecture also addresses many other applications such as set-top boxes and mobile communications.

Key points:

> The processor leverages a multicore 64-bit Power architecture with an embedded streaming processor, high-speed I/O, SRAM and dynamic multiplier.

> The Cell architecture rests on two concepts: the "apulet," a bundle comprising a data object and the code necessary to perform an action upon it; and the "processing element," a hierarchical bundle of control and streaming processor resources that can execute any apulet at any time. The apulets appear to be completely portable among the processing elements in a system, so that tasks can be doled out dynamically by assigning a waiting apulet to an available processing element.

> Giving scale to the performance targets for the project, one of the ISSCC papers puts the performance of the streaming-processor SRAM at 4.8 GHz. This suggests the data transfer rate for 128-bit words across the local bus within the processing element.

> Each processing element comprises a Power-architecture 64-bit RISC CPU, a highly sophisticated direct-memory access controller and up to eight identical streaming processors.

posted on Dec, 1 2004 @ 03:11 AM
Are you saying this chip reads various systems of machine code?
X86, Power PC (apple/mac?), and others?

posted on Dec, 1 2004 @ 05:55 AM
There have been threads on this before, i wonder how much more dificult it will be to write software for such a chip?

posted on Dec, 2 2004 @ 01:41 AM
If I am not mistaken, the IBM Power PC was always at least 60% faster than that of the Intel Pentium microprocessor. I think the real news is of how Intel has managed to falter as of late rather than of the gigantic leaps made by Intel's chief competitor IBM (since AMD acquires most its technology from IBM). One has to factor as well that since Intel continues to exude a strong relationship with that of Microsoft, IBM is forced to come up with their own operating system to go along with this amazingly stellar product of which would probably add another two years after the cell chip's debut. At first, this microchip will seem like merely a niche product designed to end the little rivarly between in the console wars but with other products also utiliizing this Cell chip, one wonders if this signals Sony's and IBM's ascent back to the glory days of power that they had during the much of the 1980s and early 1990s.

posted on Dec, 3 2004 @ 10:36 AM
they estimate the performance to be around 10X what is currently on offer


posted on Dec, 3 2004 @ 01:26 PM

Originally posted by Lucretius
they estimate the performance to be around 10X what is currently on offer
Especially Sony looks like being love with praising of this chip. And abput how it makes their PS3 to wonder machine.

But compared to what? If to today's best consoles they need that to even catch PCs.

Also consoles would need very dramatical increase in amount of memory to get even close to PCs in amount of graphical details.

[edit on 3-12-2004 by E_T]

posted on Dec, 3 2004 @ 05:19 PM
yeah, i read about this, i just couldnt believe what i saw. the numbers were way too absurd. 18 months my behind! i do look forward, however, to PS3, thatll be a good console. really, really good.

console games: what really matters in the world of computing. seriously though, ttheyd be helped the most, them and laptops. desktops dont really need that much power yet. although... i wonder how many WUs i could get done!

posted on Aug, 16 2006 @ 01:42 AM
Good God! They delayed this thing for what seems like forever. Maybe this nonsense when coupled with the Dell laptop battery snafu will force everyone to rethink this once highly innovative company. I always thought they would magically avoid the same fate as Mitsubishi Motors. But I guess I was wrong. Oh well because at least the PS3 is coming out no matter what and will likely represent Sony's last stand against more competition than ever.

[edit on 16-8-2006 by risitar]

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