208w ago - A novel transcoding tool Fixstars (PDF) allows for the conversion of video material on the Full HD format, with the help of a PlayStation 3 in real time, is coming in June 2009.
To quote, roughly translated: The conversion of video footage in Full HD movies at a resolution of 1920 x 1080 provides current desktop CPUs with a lengthy task. This allows the transcoding of a movie sometimes half a day.
In comes Linux Developer Fixstars with a video converter called CodecSys CE-10, which was to encode movies into MPEG-4-AVC format (H.264)
The Cell processor uses a PlayStation 3 - this format will be predominantly on Blu-ray media or IP-TV via video-stream uses. The CE-10-encoder sends out from a Windows PC, the output data via Ethernet to the console, which finished the encoded data back to the PC sends back.
According to the announcement of Fixstars reached the Cell processor of the PlayStation a performance of 29 FPS, that is 1.2 times real-time conversion - the cell has a similar performance as the CUDA Badaboom encoder in combination with an Nvidia Geforce GTX-285.
By comparison, Intel's current top-CPU, the Core i7 965 XE, does it still at 18 FPS - normal desktop CPUs even create only about 5 FPS.
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The "...but can it run Crysis?" was a joke moreso than anything else... I just had to say it... the PS3 Cell seems to have the power of a 7900GTX which back in the day was hot tech until the 8800s came by in 2007.
The final release of Crysis didn't look as great as the alpha but it still beats any game out there in terms of graphics, physics, and special effects; I wonder what CryEngine3 has in store for the PS4 as I'll be looking forward to that.
The Cell architecture is great like you said, but it shines in certain other parts much better than it does in gaming which is kinda of ironic being a gaming console and all... it would probably be easier to port games between 360, PC, and PS3 if it had used a standard CPU and GPU like everything else does.
Crysis should not be used as a benchmark there are alot of games that look better than it, the only reason Crysis requires a top of the line PC to play is because it was coded by a bunch of morons, the original concept photos of Crysis made it look great but the final product was not even close to the concept. In theory the PS3 could play Crysis its not really down to the processor its down to the video card, if the PS3 has something with a little more power it could play Crysis fairly well.
The architecture of the cell is really only designed for super computing not gaming. In my opinion the choice of the Cell as a processor for the PS3 was a bad one, it seems like as if they thought to themselves '8 cores should be good, lets choose this one since more is always good and let the developers worry about the tricky architecture'.
Different architectures are better at different things; I'd prefer to see how it does on many other tests rather than just one. It's like comparing a workstation video card to a gaming video card, one does a certain thing better than the other but loses out to many other things as well so to call it "faster" is a rather blunt statement.