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Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. has unveiled its highly-anticipated PlayStation 3 during a press conference in Los Angeles, California. The new console promises to have floating-point performance of two teraflops which is likely to allow game developers to make more realistic and thrilling games.

The PlayStation 3 console is based on the Cell processor with 7 SPEs and 512KB L2 cache at 3.20GHz clock-speed. The chip will be build using 90nm process technology at IBM’s facilities and will have one SPE disabled for additional yield and redundancy. The chip has built-in XDRAM memory controller that connects the Cell to 256MB of system RAM with 25.6GB/s speed; The Cell in the PlayStation 3 will also be connected to NVIDIA’s RSX graphics processor using Flex IO bus that provides 20GB/s and 15GB/s of bandwidth to and from the RSX respectively.

NVIDIA’s RSX graphics processing unit jointly developed by NVIDIA Corp. and Sony is claimed to be the most sophisticated graphics processor ever built, representing 1500 person-years of investment. The chip is expected be based on NVIDIA’s next-gen architecture and be more powerful and capable than two NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra graphics cards in SLI mode.

“This cutting-edge graphics processor will give freedom in graphics expression and accelerate the fusion of entertainment content,” said Ken Kutaragi, president and group CEO, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.

NVIDIA claims that its RSX processor has dedicated pixel and vertex shader pipelines that will be able to perform up to 136 shader operations per cycle. The chip support 1080p resolution and will have dedicated frame buffer of 256MB of GDDR3 (700MHz) memory. NVIDIA said the RSX contains 300 million of transistors, works at 550MHz and will be made using 90nm process technology at at Sony Group’s Nagasaki Fab2 as well as OTSS (joint fabrication facility of Toshiba and Sony). Earlier it was believed that the RSX will be made using 65nm process technology.

NVIDIA and Sony launched certain technology demos on the PlayStation 3 console during the presentation, which indicates that the machine is functional and "playable".

The PlayStation 3 will be equipped with removable 2.5” HDD and will use Blu-Ray ROM drive that will also be able to read CDs and DVDs. Besides that, the machine will support a breed of flash card standards, including Memory Stick, SD and CompactFlash and will also have up to 6 USB 2.0 ports. Sony will build-in Gigabit Ethernet, WiFi (802.11b and g) and Bluetooth interconnections into the console and will also equip it with IP camera connectivity. The console’s game controllers will be wireless.

The forthcoming console from Sony will be able to connect TV or HDTV sets and speaker systems using common cables or using HDMI cables that multiplex video and audio signaling. One of the strong capabilities the PlayStation 3 will have is support for two displays output which should provide even more immersive gameplay.

Sony PlayStation 3 console will be available in three colours: white, grey and black.

Sony PlayStation 3 console is expected to be available in Spring, 2006. Pricing is yet unclear.


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