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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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Denida's Avatar
#58 - Denida - 133w ago
Don't be sure they won't be taking more off of it! As for BC, I agree with you, as Sony will likely still want to sell PS3's too.

But in reference to them waiting on MS fully that seems unlikely as making a new console takes time, plus xbox360 came out a good deal before PS3, and that didn't help them, far from...

moja's Avatar
#57 - moja - 133w ago
Well, I don't think Sony will take as much of a loss per console as they did with the PS3, which should result in removing less stuff from it. As far as the graphics are concerned, both MS and Sony need to put something relevant in there, because I want native 1080p for consoles and better engines for the PC(!).

Backwards compatibility? Pf, I've pretty much written that off, and am interested in what MS will do (hell, at least they tried instead of sucker-punching their fans). I think they'll push PS One compatibility to the Vita, because to be honest it's getting a little old of a trick, and my laptop does better upscaling/rendering than their emulator.

And for the love of consoles, Sony, don't give us another new disc format. Bluray is fine for now, leave your trojan horses in storage. Oh, and before I forget, both major players PLEASE don't slap some evangelical tech in there and fail to cool it properly.

I think they are waiting for MS to see what the status quo will be.

HeyManHRU's Avatar
#56 - HeyManHRU - 133w ago
leukotic, I had nightmares after that post. If consoles ever do become like that I would probably loose all faith in humanity and live on mars.

inginear's Avatar
#55 - inginear - 133w ago
the day that consoles are not purchased and owned out right by consumers, or require an active internet connection to play any game is the day that i give up console gaming. except for the consoles and games that i currently own.

when the aforementioned day does come, hopefully there will be another industry crash like the one around 1981-1982. if the game companies (manufacturers and developers) don't take the long term effects on consumers into consideration along with their profit forecasts then they all deserve to crash and burn.

leukotic's Avatar
#54 - leukotic - 133w ago
Quote Originally Posted by inginear View Post
better yet, the ps4 will be a leased console with users paying for the time that they spend on the system. it will start with a low lease price from the stores to prevent lawsuits from people claiming that they own the hardware that they purchase. and it will continue to charging customers accounts automatically for the amount of time that the console is powered on, no matter what is or is not happening.

and it may further continue to making customers purchase timed licenses for games and applications that they want to run on the system. customers may extend the timed license by purchasing another complete timed license without any way to prorate or divide the license to smaller time frames.

You know this probably isn't very far off, and I can easily see this happening in the near future. I can see the marketing hype now "Get a PS4 today for only $12.99! And brand new games only cost $20!" Then once you get it you realize that you are essentially renting the console from Sony, and that they are going to charge you various monthly fees and service fees based on how you use the console.

Want to use the Blu ray drive? That will be an extra $20 a month. DVD drive? $10 extra a month. Want to play more than 2 games a month? That will be an extra $10.99 per game played. Internet access, downloading games, and playing games online? $2.50 per GB (on top of the price for the games) and $0.02 cents per MB when playing online games. Want a package deal that includes a lot of different options and a pre-set MB limit (that you get charged 10x for if you go over) for online game usage? $100 a month for the bronze package. $150 a month for the Gold package. And $200 a month for the Platinum package. And to top it all off they will charge you $0.05 cents for every KWh you use the system, they will market this as a way "to help conserve energy".

An internet connection would be required to authenticate the console each time you turn it on in order to relay the usage stats to Sony for billing purposes. Any means to circumvent or tamper with this process will immediately terminate the console and require you to return it to an authorized PlayStation processing center. Failure to do so within 15 days and you would be charged a $450 service fee. You will have the option to reactivate your console after 5 days from the original termination date for a minimal fee of $50, each re-occurrence would add an additional 20% surcharge onto the previous fee.

The console will essentially turn into something like what the mobile phone companies are doing, except much much worse!

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