IBM Plans to Integrate Cell Chip into "Future Power Roadmap"

IBM to Continue Development of Cell Microprocessors

by Anton Shilov
10/08/2010 | 04:24 PM

IBM plans to continue development of Cell processor, which was originally designed by IBM, Toshiba and Sony. Earlier it was widely considered that all three original creators of Cell decided to abandon future development of the design. However, IBM claims that eventually Cell's hybrid approach will find its way into Power-series roadmap.


IBM's architecture - in one or another form - powers all three major game consoles of this generation, including Microsoft Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii and Sony PlayStation 3. IBM plans to keep development of Cell-based heterogeneous multi-core microprocessors so that to stay competitive and be able to offer future designs for future game consoles.

"We want to stay in the business, we intend to stay in the business," said Jai Menon, chief technology officer of IBM's systems and technology group, in an interview with IDG News Service.

IBM also will continue to invest in Cell as part of its hybrid and multi-core chip strategy.

"I think you'll see [Cell] integrated into our future Power road map. That's the way to think about it as opposed to a separate line - it will just get integrated into the next line of things that we do. But certainly, we are working with all of the game folks to provide our capabilities into those next-generation machines," said Mr. Menon.

Cell processors feature one Power core as well as eight synergistic processor engines specialized on floating point operations along with Rambus XDR memory controller. The heterogeneous multi-core microprocessors are a part of the chip trend. For example, Advanced Micro Devices is about to release chips featuring integrated graphics processing engines for graphics as well as general-purpose data processing.

The present the original Cell chip powers a supercomputer, Sony PlayStation 3 game console as well as certain specific devices from IBM and others. In future such hybrid chips can find themselves in cloud datacenters, which required maximum raw performance.

"Some of this consumer stuff is also a cloud play. There are giant servers out there that provide some of the gaming capability. Some of that will come through cloud-based offerings as well," said the CTO at IBM.