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Speculation: PS4 could be Based on Cell Architecture


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311w ago - Some interestng speculation on ps3fanboy about the potential target date of the PS4 and cell processing. To quote:

Perhaps the PS3 was a bit too ahead of its time. The console was almost absurdly expensive when it launched -- and not just for consumers. In spite of an initial $600 price tag, Sony lost hundreds of dollars on every system manufactured.

The combination of Blu-ray drive and Cell processor made the PS3 a bit too bleeding edge, perhaps. A report from respectable Japanese site PC Watch suggests that Sony may be considering a cheaper alternative for the next-generation PS4.

Nintendo found great success (and profitability) with Wii by releasing hardware that was only marginally more powerful than the Gamecube. Sony may mimic that trend by having PS4 hardware based on the same Cell architecture as the PS3. Keeping the same architecture will help developers, many which have only recently come to grips with the complex processes of Sony's proprietary system.

However, one particular note in the report has us quite worried: according to PC Watch, the Sony wants to launch a new system, before the competition -- eyeing a 2011 release. With the PS3 still so relatively young, we'd hate to see Sony raise a white flag and move on to something new, especially when they've harped about the "10 year life cycle" so often.

Too soon of a hardware release could be seen as a betrayal by many, and could result in a serious backlash. For us, we'd love to get more time out of the significant investments we've made in our PS3 hardware.



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myof's Avatar
#10 - myof - 310w ago
I always have been a little iffy about the 10 year life cycle. 5 years maybe, but not 10. Also Sony never said they would wait 10 years to make a new console they just said the ps3 life cycle would last 10 years. Development costs to make games are getting pretty high.

Making a system twice as powerful should make games more expensive to make. So if they released a PS4 that could play PS3 games(and if both have the same processors I don't see why not) then dev can choose whether they want to make games to PS3 specs or if they want more power they can use the PS4.

I have a feeling I could I worded this post a little better but I think you know what I mean lol.

macdumpy's Avatar
#9 - macdumpy - 310w ago
I've always asked myself why do they always make a console with wierd peripherals such as low capacity of RAM, wierd CPU? What's wrong with builiding a console with peripherals the same as computers' ? It'd have 2GB of RAM, nice graphic card and it'd work flawlessly, it'd be easy to code for coders. Anyone ?

I've wondered the same thing. This is pretty much what (if the rumours ar true) Sony plans on doing by using a Cell processor again. It will be allot easier for the developers. The same goes for Microsoft (using x86 chips). I suppose Microsoft is doing the 'gaming PC' with the Xbox360 -- x86 CPU based, and as I understand it, Direct X and a Win32 API.

The RAM limitation is 100% to do with price, and the fact that the RAM used in consoles is significantly faster/moe expensive than what would be found in a sub 500$ PC. XDR in a PS3 and GDDR3 in a Xbox360. 2G of slower ram is not necessarily better than 512M of faster ram. But, it's all relative to the tasks at hand. Gaming benefits allot from fast ram.

In 2006 when the PS3 was released, 512M was not an uncommon amount of RAM in a PC, however forward thinking, and puting 1G of XDR in it (I know 512M XDR, 512M GDDR3) would have increased the price (or increased losses) 100$, and prevented profits for even longer.

However, why we don't see an Asus gaming console, as they could use a TCM chip ([Register or Login to view links]) to reduce piracy, is beyond me. Perhaps it would be too easy to reverse engineer, and then make clones, cutting Asus out of the picture.

emot's Avatar
#8 - emot - 310w ago
I've always asked myself why do they always make a console with wierd peripherals such as low capacity of RAM, wierd CPU? What's wrong with builiding a console with peripherals the same as computers' ? It'd have 2GB of RAM, nice graphic card and it'd work flawlessly, it'd be easy to code for coders. Anyone ?

macdumpy's Avatar
#7 - macdumpy - 310w ago
The Cell processor is a behemoth. It's cutting edge, much the same way early Motorola chips were cutting edge when there were RISC/CISC chips. They powered Macintosh computers in ways never imagined by developers. With Intel adding more cores to thier CPU's in keeping with Moore's law, maintaining backwards compatibility was always a bit of a burden. The Cell was designed from the ground up to be multicore, and doesn't have as many legacies to worry about.

The biggest expense in a CPU is the architecture and production. The Cell efficiently deals with both quite handily. To double the speed of a Cell, just throw more cores into it. The manufacturing is there, and the yeilds can be increased the same way the PS3 Cell is managed now -- put 8 cores on each CPU, then disable any single non-functional one, or disable a random one if all are functional. The Intel process is to produce (for e.g.) a quad core system, but have 4 cores that work. The problem with the costs of that is there will be 4x the failure rate, as there is no redundancy. Or no extra core to backup/throw away. As well, multi-core is a great way to reduce chip design times. Instead of designing a whole new system, just design smaller more specialized chips and use more of them.

Sony seems to know what they are doing in the hardware department. They will without a doubt, be cutting edge, and relevant for years to come. No one seems to care that the Xbox is using 'recycled' (meaning x86 compatible) CPU's. Why should Sony be any different? The CELL is powerful, expanable, and arguably, more suitable for a gaming console. Increase the clock speed by 25% and put in 16 cores. It'd be a monster -- with nominal design/manufacturing changes -- leaving the consumer with a reduced cost, and a killer machine.

sekemc's Avatar
#6 - sekemc - 310w ago
Using the cell again would be nice because then the developers wouldn't have to learn another architecture. This equals less complaints about learning new hardware all over again. What will be interesting is their choice for GPU manufacturer, if they stick with Nvidia then they could hopefully stick to hardware that would at least be compatible with PS3 games.

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