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IBM PlayStation (Games) Hardware Games

IBM's Plans For the Cell Processor 124

Posted by Soulskill
from the breeding-a-better-hamster dept.
angry tapir writes "Development around the original Cell processor hasn't stalled, and IBM will continue to develop chips and supply hardware for future gaming consoles, a company executive said. IBM is working with gaming machine vendors including Nintendo and Sony, said Jai Menon, CTO of IBM's Systems and Technology Group, during an interview Thursday. 'We want to stay in the business, we intend to stay in the business,' he said. IBM confirmed in a statement that it continues to manufacture the Cell processor for use by Sony in its PlayStation 3. IBM also will continue to invest in Cell as part of its hybrid and multicore chip strategy, Menon said."
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IBM's Plans For the Cell Processor

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  • We like money! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by allaunjsilverfox2 (882195) on Tuesday October 12, 2010 @12:41AM (#33866436) Homepage Journal
    What business would want to give up guaranteed sales? I mean, a gaming platform is like walking into a bank, depositing one cent and then getting a cent every second until the bank closes.
  • by gizmod (931775) on Tuesday October 12, 2010 @12:41AM (#33866438)
    Bring on a 12 core PS4 with raytracing games.
  • by keeboo (724305) on Tuesday October 12, 2010 @01:34AM (#33866668)
    So, shortly:
    Cell is a processor with two PPC cores, interfaced with a bunch of auxiliary CPU cores optimized for SIMD, each with its local memory.
    Right?
  • by Nursie (632944) on Tuesday October 12, 2010 @02:13AM (#33866804)

    On further reading - not two PPC cores, one core with two threads using a similar (but possibly superior) technology to hyperthreading.

    But yeah, essentially your short description there is correct.

    Also I've looked at the top 500 list - The cell, though not the variant in the playstation, is in Roadrunner. Roadrunner is the third fastest computer on the planet.

  • by Entropius (188861) on Tuesday October 12, 2010 @02:50AM (#33866952)

    ... is that it lies in between ordinary x86-type multicore processors and CUDA/GPGPU, and there's not much room in between.

  • by Jesus_666 (702802) on Tuesday October 12, 2010 @05:58AM (#33867632)

    For games and graphics this it thought to be good, hence its inclusion in the playstation 3.

    Of course game developers tend to be a bit more sceptical. The Cell requires a very specific way of programming (don't align your data flow to the processor's capabilities and performance nose-dives), which doesn't go over well with people who have limited time to make their game/engine work on several different platforms, most of which work roughly the same.

    I attended the Games Convention Developers Conference 2008. A number of panelists mentioned that what they presented was harder to get working on the Cell due to its unique requirements. It really does require a different approach to every other system on the market.

    Add to that the fact that the PS3 doesn't appear to deliver obviously superior performance to the more conventional X360 and the question arises whether the Cell is worth the hassle in the gaming sector. Scientific programming can afford to write system-specific code and jump through hoops to attain maximum performance (after all, 10% faster execution speed may mean their calculations finish a month or more sooner). Game developers, on the other hand, are on a very tight development schedule and might make a better game with a sightly less powerful but conventional platform to develop for.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 12, 2010 @06:06AM (#33867672)
    ...processor is that the company selling it's flagship product decided to lock out people wanting to experiment with it.

    Because those people made such progress after having nearly four years to experiment? It's time people around here quit pretending like Sony never gave them the chance to dink around with the PS3.
  • Re:We like money! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 12, 2010 @10:32AM (#33870542)

    What?

    There are going to be some 120-140 million or so PS3 sold over its 10-11 year lifetime. Yeah, IBM is making 'next to nothing with Cell'.

    IBM was so happy with landing PPC/Cell contracts for all three consoles that they immediately dumped Apple as a customer upon doing so after being fed up with the nightmare of dealing with Apple and Jobs over the years.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 12, 2010 @05:26PM (#33877004)

    If they return to ROM cartridges, RAM is only needed for working memory. Anything that doesn't change can be stored directly in the memory-mapped ROM, and accessed as quickly as RAM is.

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