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IBM's CELL Processor: Preview to Greatness?

IBM's CELL Processor: Preview to Greatness? - PCSTATS
Abstract: The tiny CELL chip contains a powerful 64-bit Dual-threaded IBM PowerPC core but also eight proprietary 'Synergistic Processing Elements' (SPEs).
Filed under: CPU / Processors Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: IBM May 15 2005   Max Page  
Home > Reviews > CPU / Processors > IBM

Beyond Playstation 3: The future of the Cell?

One of the most interesting properties of this new processor is its modular design. In addition to being essentially a multi-processor solution on a chip, each Cell processor can theoretically share its processing tasks with any other Cell processor anywhere, not just ones hooked up to the same system.

Imagine a 'world of tomorrow' where the Cell-based processors in your TV and your toaster quite happily help your Playstation V chew through some advanced weather physics calculations while you watch your collection of blu-Ray DVDs… call it 'SkyNet'. ;-)

Back to earth. Obviously the idea of this sort of communication is still just potential, but the Cell's architecture really does allow for this sort of out-of-box co-processing-cooperation. Of course, for it to be at all useful, better networking technologies will need to placed in production. Infiniband, anyone?

Cell core and CPU photos courtesy of PCwatch.co.jp
More SPEs?

The way that the Element Interconnect Bus is designed allows for more than the eight SPEs shown in IBM's prototype Cell chip.

It would also allow for less...

The potential here for a range of Cell based designs to cover all sorts of processing requirements is obvious.

Overall, the IBM/Sony/Toshiba Cell processor has a bright future ahead of it, and not just because millions will be sold in Playstation 3 consoles. With the correct compiling tools, Cell-inside PCs could potentially excel at the kind of applications we buy high-end PCs for today: Graphics, video, audio and games.

The only question that remains is will they in the face of Intel's upcoming Extended Memory-64 Technology and dual-core Pentium 4 processors?

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Contents of Article: IBM
 Pg 1.  IBM's CELL Processor: Preview to Greatness?
 Pg 2.  The Element Interface Bus: Cellular Network
 Pg 3.  — Beyond Playstation 3: The future of the Cell?

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