238w 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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Well, we have to remember that the PS3 is actually a "cheap" system.
If you go out and build any PC today (let alone a Core i7), you are definitely going to stick more than 256MB worth of ram inside.
If the PS3 was jazzed up a bit, its advantages could shine so much more - stick 2GB of system ram (at least), stick in something newer than an Nvidia 7000 series.
It does show how scalable the system is though, its successor could simply be the same system with a beefier chip (more cores), some additional memory, and a new graphics chipset and it would be set for years to come. The CELL is a powerhouse, I just wish we did not get the short end of the straw back in 2006 - but there is always more to come in the future!
This is hardly a surprise due to the fact that the cell is designed for number crunching hence how well it does in f@h, but in everything else the Core i7 is way more powerful, and it will even do much better in gaming than the Cell.