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


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130w 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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inginear's Avatar
#53 - inginear - 130w ago
the main cost is the half assed os developed by a company that is in so many different industries it doesn't even know it's own identity.

codecxbox's Avatar
#52 - codecxbox - 130w ago
So, in essence, you will be buying a AMD Fusion motherboard and APU, with a BD drive? And its supposed to be cheaper than current PS3's?

Gateway NV75S02u 17.3" Notebook w/ AMD A8-3500M CPU $499.99

SwordOfWar's Avatar
#51 - SwordOfWar - 130w ago
Well if the Cell is ditched, say goodbye to PS3 game backward compatibility.

Time to invest in a gaming PC.

pasty745's Avatar
#50 - pasty745 - 130w ago
Devs might be able to do more with Cell if Sony were more open with them about it all. The PS3 has been taunted as being more powerful than the Xbox, but seems to feel like it does much less. Some of it may just be Sony not really knowing how to make an OS, or just the crazy amount of DRM.

I am mostly concerned about what it will mean for PS3 backwards compatibility. If it is like what they did with PS2 on PS3, I might seriously have to stop buying all things PlayStation. Not to be one of those people who says they will jump-ship over every little thing. But the whole hyping of being able to play PS2 games on the PS3 when it came out, but then taking it away really pissed me (and I am sure pretty much everyone on this site) off. But even that would have been somewhat okay if they didn't then proceed to take away other features (otherOS, the card readers, the extra USB ports, etc.).

Then they continue with the PS Vita and the whole "It plays all your old PSP games...but you have to re-buy them" bs. At least with the Xbox I don't feel like I am constantly being lied to. Really most of my reason for getting a PS3 was because the games were on BD discs, and that it could play Blu-ray movies (the game backups at the time was also nice). But ever since the PS2, Sony has really lost its way. /end rant

inginear's Avatar
#49 - inginear - 130w ago
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.

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