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In a bid to lower the cost of its Cell processor that powers Sony PlayStation 3 video game system, Sony Corp. plans to utilize version of the chip that is produced using 45nm process technology by Toshiba Corp.

At present Sony PlayStation 3 game console utilizes Cell chip that is made using 65nm process technology, but in order to reduce costs and trim power consumption the company intends to develop 45nm version of the central processing unit. Potentially, low power Cell processor may enable Sony to create a slimmer and smaller PlayStation 3 game system that will also be cheaper to produce. According to Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun news-paper, 45nm Cell will be available already in 2009.

The Cell processor was jointly developed by IBM, Sony and Toshiba.

According to slides that IBM demonstrated at International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) earlier this year, power consumption of Cell chip operating at 4GHz produced using 45nm fabrication technology is 42% below the same chip made using 65nm process tech. Moreover, the 45nm chip consumes just about one third of the energy devoured by Cell 4GHz produced using 90nm fabrication process.

The Cell microprocessor incorporates one dual-threaded PowerPC core and eight so-called synergistic processing engines (SPEs) intended for floating-point calculations, the most demanding tasks in entertainment, workstation and server systems. The PowerPC core is projected to have 32KB L1 cache and 512KB L2 cache, while each of the SPEs will have 256KB of cache. The Cell has built-in Rambus XDR memory interface, capable of data rates from 3.20GHz to 8.0GHz. The chip also uses FlexIO processor buses that are capable of running at up to 6.40GHz.

Tags: Sony, Toshiba, Cell, 45nm, Playstation

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