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

1150°
135w 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...
 

IBM Announces Cell Processor Development to be Phased Out

550°
254w ago - Update: [Register or Login to view links] has now received clarification on this from IBM, to quote: "only one CPU development cycle is being 'halted' which is the successor to the current PowerXCell-8i cpu. IBM have said they are planning to work on other CPU's in the Cell Processor 'family'."

Today PlayStationUniversity.com (linked above) is reporting that IBM's Vice President David Turek [Register or Login to view links] that Cell processor development will be phased out.

Apparently the planned 32 SPE Cell processor will not be made, and their current PowerXCell 8i will be the company's last entrance in the technology.

To quote: "The Cell Processor was originally the brain child of 'The Father of PlayStation' Ken Kutaragi. It was later co-developed by Sony, IBM and Toshiba; making its way into the PlayStation 3, TV's and super computers.

So what does this mean for Sony and the PlayStation 4? Will this change with IBM pulling out of their own development?

Not necessarily. Sony can still hire IBM to create a Cell Processor for their next console, without IBM being involved in their own internal development outside of the...
 

Sony's PS3 Slim Carries Updated Cell Chip, 45nm Cell Processor

500°
267w ago - IBM have revealed that the new PS3 Slim carries a revised version of the Cell processor.

The electronics giant have confirmed that the Slim's new Cell is "manufactured using an advanced 45-nanometer manufacturing process" that will deliver "many performance improvements while drawing less power than earlier chips".

These chips are obviously cheaper to produce and, in part, are responsible for the smaller and more power effective PlayStation SKUs.

To quote: "The new chip has been manufactured using an advanced 45-nanometer manufacturing process, an IBM spokesman said. Based on IBM's Power architecture, the chip delivers many performance improvements while drawing less power than earlier chips, IBM has said. The earlier console carried a Cell processor manufactured using the 65-nm process. IBM declined to provide the clock speed of the new Cell processor.

Chip production enhancements for the Cell could deliver some cost benefits to users, said Jon Peddie, president of Jon Peddie Research. The chips will become more power efficient and users may see some energy savings, Peddie said.

Smaller chips also cost less to produce, which may have contributed to the lower console price, Peddie said. That could also set the stage for further price drops in the...
 

Cell Processor to Shrink, Size and Price of PS3 to Follow?

250°
314w ago - A 45 nanometer cell processor was first realized earlier this year, and Sony plans to include it in the PlayStation 3 sometime during 2009.

Well, how does this affect you? By creating a smaller chip, Sony circumvents some costs associated with creating the Cell, and a cheaper production price equates to more leeway for a potential PS3 price cut.

Additionally, by reducing the size of the chip from 65nm to 45nm, power consumption decreases by approximately 40%. When less power is consumed, less heat is generated, and a slimmer console -- like the slimline PS2 -- suddenly becomes a possibility.

We'll continue to provide the big picture on the Cell processor in the future -- no matter how small it gets.
 

Is PS3 Programming Really More Difficult?

200°
363w ago - This question has come up in GamePro and also on the new Sony (US) PS3 blog. According to Sony programming the PS3 can be more complex than the 360 but this is due to the Cell having more capabilities. This (sort of) matches what is said in the article and does seem to be a more general consensus.

But is it really true? You do have to put in more effort to get the power out of the Cell processor, there's no doubt about that. I don't think it's necessarily "difficult", contrary to what you might read, very few people who have programmed Cell have ever actually said that, they do say it's more involved though.

Being a chip geek I've looked over the 360's processor and my own thinking is that getting something up and running on it will be easier than getting it running on Cell. The 3 XCPU cores are the same and are programmed in much the same way as a traditional PC processor.

Cell is of course different, the PPE is similar to existing processors (actually, it's based on the same core as the XCPU). The SPEs however are different and are not programmed in quite the same way, programmatically the big difference is the local store, you have to explicitly move data in and out of it. On a normal CPU this is invisible as the cache handles this for you.

However you don't want to just...
 
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