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While the Cell processor jointly developed by IBM, Sony Corp. and Toshiba Corp. has not yet found home in advanced consumer electronics apart from PlayStation 3, its derivatives have all the chances to become more widespread. Toshiba said on Thursday it would demonstrate SpursEngine chip that features Cell’s synergistic processing elements (SPEs) and video encoding/decoding units at a show in Japan.

SpursEngine is a co-processor that integrates four of Cell high-performance RISC core SPEs, half the number of the full configuration, hardware dedicated to decoding and encoding of MPEG-2 and H.264 video, XDR memory interface as well as PCI Express interface. By combining the high level, real time processing software of the SPEs with the hardware video codecs, the SpursEngine realizes an optimized balance of processing flexibility and low power consumption. The prototype of SpursEngine operates at a clock frequency of 1.5GHz and consumes power at 10Wto 20W.

Toshiba’s SpursEngine co-processor works in cooperation with a host central processing unit and may be used in consumer electronics that requires video processing along with computing capabilities. Besides, SpursEngine can be used on personal computers for transformations, physics and other computing.

The prototype of SpursEngine will be unveiled at CEATEC JAPAN 2007 in early October. Notebook PCs integrating SpursEngine will be used in the world’s first public demonstration of the processor’s capabilities in 3D image processing and manipulation: real-time transformations of hair styles and makeup that instantaneously recognize and process changes in position, angle, and facial expression, and render them as computer graphics. Toshiba also plans to demonstrate concept notebook PCs integrating the SpursEngine.

Toshiba will bring SpursEngine to market after CEATEC, for application in various digital consumer products, and for use by customers and Toshiba itself, as soon as it completes specifications for commercial production.

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