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Forbes Details Cell Processor Development

An article on financial site Forbes.com looks into the upcoming Cell processor chip, a co-production of IBM, Toshiba, and Sony made to power image-intensive software and ...
An article on financial site Forbes.com looks into the upcoming Cell processor chip, a co-production of IBM, Toshiba, and Sony made to power image-intensive software and hardware. One of the first applications of the device will be at the core of Sony's next-generation PlayStation 3 console, a project which spawned the Cell work when SCEI president Ken Kutaragi requested a new chip from IBM. The report compares the Cell chip favorably to the leading processor of the moment, Intel's Pentium line, saying that the Cell can achieve image processing results 50 times faster than the best existing Pentiums. Adoption of next-generation chips is always a challenge, the article notes with examples such as the Amiga and Trilogy Ltd., but notes that the Cell will find its way into homes via the PlayStation 3 as well as some Toshiba HDTVs. Though the article makes no secret of the complexity of designing for Cell, which features one core processor linked to eight "asymmetric" Synergistic Processing Engines, there is some anecdotal evidence that development for PlayStation 3, at least, may be easier than its difficult predecessor. "Anyone who worked on the PlayStation 2 is jumping for joy," said Secret Level CEO Jeremy Gordon. Despite its innovations, the expense of the Cell chip's creation was $400 million over its five-year development, and production will be pricier still. Together with the new Blu-ray technology used in the PlayStation 3's drive and the custom GPU built by Nvidia, analysts are expecting the PS3's retail price at launch to be higher than that of the competition.

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