Monday, May 01, 2006

Knocking the PS3 down a few notches?

Yes, I know it's from a "rival" blog.
However, this is what I was alluding to about the PS3 and it's power. We already know Sony is full of crap most of the time, but this is just a humbling example.

Note that the link is very technical. What Crimson Angelus did was try to dumb down the explanation using over-simplified math. Sony is claiming ridiculous amounts of power that IBM didn't even attain using ALL of the SPEs in the Cell. As a reminder, the PS3 will keep one SPE for the OS, and it will keep another SPE on semi-standby to be stolen by the OS (even if being used by a game). That leaves developers with 1 core and 5 SPEs they can count on being available at all times. If the SPE=half-core/subcore were used for an example, then a layman could say the Cell is left with 3.5 cores (although not technically accurate).

Here are PS3 fanboys making the assumption that an SPE being exclusively for the OS won't affect gaming. They must not know that the single core of the cell has to give the non-core SPE instructions on what to do (SPE's are "dumb" in a sense); they are not stand alone. However, that doesn't mean that SPE's are worthless; they can still be delegated separate tasks.

For comparison, here's some 360 CPU info.

This makes the Xbox 360 CPU a six-thread per clock cycle system, or one which acts like six conventional processors.

For the Cell, if I remember correctly, each SPE can do one thread (as instructed by the core). With two SPE's subtracted from the equation, we end up looking at similar simultaneous thread counts.

The Cell architecture is great, but don't let Sony fool you into another "Emotion Engine" line of statements. Thankfully, I believe in the near future Sony will have to actually put up or shut up (with games). Their claims of nuclear power have been debunked, but that doesn't mean we still won't see some great things out of the PS3.


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