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Sony to Ditch Cell Processor for PlayStation 4 (PS4) Console?


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134w ago - Following up on our previous article, today Kotaku (linked above) reports that according to inside sources Sony may be ditching the Cell Processor for the PlayStation 4 console.

Below are the details, to quote: "The PlayStation 4 will not use Sony's Cell processor nor any possible successor to the vaunted chipset that was introduced to the world through the PlayStation 3, gaming industry sources tell Kotaku.

What we're hearing from sources follow a Forbes rumor last week that chip-maker AMD would make the graphics chip for a PS4, a shift from the PS3's use of a graphics chip from AMD rival Nvidia.

The abandonment of the Cell architecture would thrill the many game developers who have struggled with the complex chipset, but it could also be viewed as the admission of a mistake.

Cell was the pet project of PlayStation creator Ken Kutaragi, who dreamed that the chip- a "Power Processing Element" married to eight "Synergistic Processing Elements"- would make the PS3 the most impressive gaming console ever. He spoke of a home equipped with multiple devices that were powered by Cell, all of them linking to each other to increase the computational power driving any of the devices.

Cell was not the revolution Sony hoped and hyped that it would be. It also never managed to make the PS3 appear to be significantly more powerful than the year-older Xbox 360. That could have been the Cell's fault or simply the result of development decisions that compelled game creators to make their games run on both the PS3 and the generally-more-popular XBox 360.

But with no Cell or Cell successor in the PS4, what would Sony do? Here's where the reporting turns to speculation. One theory I've heard is that AMD will provide both the CPU and GPU for the PS4, meaning that AMD, not Sony, would engineer the main processing and graphics chips for the machine. Should AMD be doing that, they could go with the AMD Fusion architecture, which puts CPU and GPU on the same chip.

AMD has already been putting chips like this out (one was considered for the MacBook Air), which would enable Sony to turn to developers and say: you could be working with the PS4 architecture right now; just work on an AMD Llano chip or something.

Would developers like that? They'd have to prefer it to Cell and- what do you know- here's one of gaming history's best programmers, id's John Carmack, saying in an interview with PC Perspective last year that AMD Fusion-style chip architecture is "almost a forgone conclusion" for the future of computing.

A Sony rep declined to comment on this story, citing the company's policy not to comment on rumors and speculation."




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Comments 73 Comments - Go to Forum Thread »

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Prince Valiant's Avatar
#73 - Prince Valiant - 129w ago
Aye.

I don't think the amount of memory on the GPU is so much the issue as the card itself.

Neo Cyrus's Avatar
#72 - Neo Cyrus - 129w ago
System memory and video memory are used for different tasks and are generally not shared which is why the PS3 was limited. Sharing any of the system memory would pose issues considering it's pretty much always slower than VRAM. The 360 used GDDR3, the VRAM, for the entire system.

Prince Valiant's Avatar
#71 - Prince Valiant - 129w ago
I'd like to think they will have a good amount of system memory to feed off of.

I just hope that this rumor isn't true. I don't expect the 4k resolution thing to be anywhere near accurate but, this would be more than a little disappointing.

Neo Cyrus's Avatar
#70 - Neo Cyrus - 129w ago
Well benchmarks should be done with a beastly CPU and almost always are. It's all about what the GPU can do assuming there is nothing in the way.

It's not like the 1GB is entirely for textures, that's absolutely all the GPU has to work with, everything else including any form of AA takes memory as well. The last time I cranked up the textures in a game it took almost 2GB.

Prince Valiant's Avatar
#69 - Prince Valiant - 129w ago
Quote Originally Posted by Neo Cyrus View Post
What benchmark shows a 6670 getting over 30fps in Metro 2033 at 1080p? That sounds really off. Maybe with all settings turn to the lowest and in DX 9 mode... even then it still seems unlikely. Well I just looked it up, apparently under medium settings it averaged 32fps according to one benchmark. Unfortunately that still means under maxed settings it wouldn't even pull 10fps.

Honestly the entire thing is a massive disappointment to me but the 1GB video memory blew me away, that means we won't even be getting good resolution textures.

Probably a benchmark using a beastly CPU, that tends to skew FPS a bit. A 1GB card can handle a decent texture load.

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