The first early details of the next-generation Cell processor, the CPU which will be used in the PlayStation 3, and co-produced by IBM, Sony, Sony Computer Entertainment, and Toshiba were revealed late in 2004
, with the promise of further information to debut at the 2005 International Solid State Circuits Conference. More details have now been released from the Conference, particularly the specific new technology that distinguishes the Cell chip from its competition.
The chip is 221 millimeters long, contains 234 million transistors, and will be fabricated using a 90-nanometer process. The highlights of the new chip's design are that it features eight synergistic processors and top clock speeds of greater than 4 GHz (as measured during initial hardware testing), is a multicore chip capable of massive floating point processing, and is OS neutral, supporting multiple operating systems simultaneously.
Despite PlayStation creator Ken Kutaragi's suggestion that "With Cell opening a doorway, a new chapter in computer science is about to begin," examples of the practical graphical results of the Cell are still relatively sparse on the ground, a situation which should begin to ameliorate as the PlayStation 3 gets closer to launch.