Sony, IBM and Toshiba revealed quite a few details surrounding the upcoming cell processor which will fuel the upcoming PlayStation 3. According to the chip designers, the 64-bit cell processor will be able to run at speeds faster than 4GHz and will utilize a total of eight co-processors. The Cell processor will also be able to process 256 billion calculations per second (256 gigaflops). Interesting numbers if you ask me.
Here’s a clipping from a GameSpot article on the subject of the new Cell processor:
The Cell will have a 64-bit Power processor and eight “synergistic processing units” capable of handling separate computing tasks, said Jim Kahle, an IBM fellow. The multicore design will give software developers tremendous flexibility, Kahle said, allowing them to run multiple operating systems on the same chip and experiment with variations on grid computing.
“It’s designed from the beginning to work in a world where all the computers are tied together,” he said.
Future versions of Cell chips could have more or fewer processing units depending on what device and software designers require, Kahle said. “There are a number of different ways to implement parallelism on the chip,” he said.
How those processing units are used is up to software developers, including the game makers who will soon start wrestling with the PlayStation 3. Kahle said IBM and its Cell partners will provide game developers and other code writers with open-source tools and guidelines for working with Cell, but game developers will have final say on how they chop up computing tasks among the processing units.
Images of the chip are also available at this link.