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Friday, September 29, 2006

360 threads better than the PS3???

1up brings an article quoting the Assassin's Creed developers claiming that the 360 is capable of better crowd AI than the PS3. The benefit is due to multithreading. To me, this doesn't make direct sense when thinking only of the hardware. The Cell is a multithreading capable processor, which is technically supposed to run a few more threads than the 360's processor.

I'm sure the problem lies in the development tools and the respective processor architecture. Microsoft has already done amazing things with Visual Studio and .NET, so we would expect their Xbox 360 tools to far exceed anything the competition can offer. The PS3 probably gets a combination of Sony and IBM provided tools that likely can't match the competition's.

As far as the Cell architecture is concerned, there is only one core. The SPE's all require instruction from that core, which could lead to more complexity than utitilizing a same multithreaded program on three independent cores (of the 360). The result would be more accessible threading than currently available with the PS3.

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To dumb that down even more, how about an analogy? Think Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. The 360 processor is 3 Snow Whites. They can do whatever jobs they need to do on their own individually. They don't need to discuss the jobs with each other, and they can do two jobs at a time each. Together, that's a potential of 6 jobs that can be done independently.

The Cell is one Snow White and seven dwarves. For the sake of this analogy, we'll say that the dwarves are less capable than Snow White and can only do 1 job at a time. 2 jobs from Snow white and 7 jobs from the dwarves leaves a total of 9 jobs. However, independence is an issue. The dwarves need to constantly ask Snow White when to do their assigned task or when they get a new one. It's her job to keep them updated. Think of 7 dwarves incessantly asking, "Is it my turn, yet?"

In effect, the latter scenario provides more simultaneous jobs at the expense of freedom. While this could relate to what is suggested by the developers, I can only speculate.

1 Comments:

Anonymous SydRocks said...

nice analogy!

5:39 PM  

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