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After facing widespread criticism for complex software development process for PlayStation 3 games, Sony Computer Entertainment is reportedly considering to use more traditional microprocessor inside the next-generation PlayStation 4 video game system.

Sony Computer Entertainment has been looking forward at Intel’s code-named Larrabee processor for both general-purpose and graphics computing for PlayStation 4, however, since the first-generation of the chip has been cancelled, Sony started to look at more traditional architectures, e.g. homogeneous multi-core central processing unit (CPU) and a graphics processor, reports PC Watch web-site.

The PlayStation 3 features innovative heterogeneous multi-core Cell Broadband Engine chip with one Power processor elements and numerous synergistic processing units for floating point calculations. The concept implicates massive floating point performance of Cell chip, many game developers have hard times creating games for such CPU architecture.

In addition, when Sony started to work on the PS3, it hired Toshiba to develop graphics processing unit for the forthcoming console, however, Toshiba failed to create a competitive graphics chip and Sony had to outsource development to Nvidia Corp. just two years before the release. At present Nvidia’s RSX chip is the most important chip inside the PlayStation 3.

Quite naturally, SCE does not want the history to repeat itself with the PlayStation 4 and is currently choosing the right technologies for the next-generation game system, according to the report. At present nothing has been decided, it seems.

Considering the fact that Sony should at least try to maintain compatibility between PS3 games and PlayStation 4 game console, the company may still redesign the Cell processor considerably to simplify software development and ask Nvidia to design a new graphics processor. However, there are possibilities that Sony will still utilize a new CPU architecture and ask a different partner to design the a new graphics chip.

Sony did not comment on the news-story.

Tags: Sony, Playstation, Cell, Nvidia

Discussion

Comments currently: 9
Discussion started: 12/29/09 05:59:10 PM
Latest comment: 01/26/10 06:52:19 PM
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1. 
Since we're talking late 2011 or 2012 for this next generation, we'll most likely see 28/22nm chips from TSMC/GF. Current consoles started with 90nm CPUs, approx 200mm2 (above for cell, below for Xenon, not counting EDRAM). It's realistic the next CPUs could be ~1B transistors.

I think a key place to look is at the IBM Power7. While 8 cores with 4-way SMT totaling 1.2B transistors and 32 threads with 32MB EDRAM L3, it might not be the exact chip, but I reckon we'll see something CLOSE to it. Maybe 75%? Actually, yes, I think that sounds about right. That would be ~900M transistors on 28nm, equaling a ~220mm2 part...Pretty much EXACTLY the same size as the 90nm CELL.

Wouldn't be surprised to see BOTH the xbox3 and PS4 go with something along these lines.
0 0 [Posted by: turtle  | Date: 12/29/09 05:59:10 PM]
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2. 
I don't understand why they simply can't use something like a Core i7 32nm @ 3.5-4.0ghz. It will surely mop the floor with anything Sony will be able to come up with. All these fancy IBM Power cores may be theoretically superior to Intel/AMD chips, but in the real world theoretical performance advantage does not always directly transform into better performance. When we compare any console CPU to PC CPUs, most mid-range Intel/AMD cpus (at the time) were always faster than anything that was put into consoles.

The reality is that even a Core i5 750 will be more than sufficient for consoles for the next 5 years. The key to HD gaming is the Graphics card. The bill of materials for the Cell processor was about $230 when PS3 was introduced vs. $70 for the NV GPU (http://www.engadget.com/2...00-sez-merrill-lynch-mob/).

GPUs should probably be at least 2x-3x more expensive than the CPUs (in a console) since consoles focus on gaming. This is the biggest mistake console makers make.The first one to figure out that graphics is more important than the CPU for games will emerge as the graphics leader in the next gen wars.
0 0 [Posted by: BestJinjo  | Date: 12/30/09 11:28:18 AM]
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IIRC, the fastest PC-CPU out when the 360 came out was a s939 Athlon X2 (4800+ or FX-60) compared to Xenon 3-core. When the PS3 came out it was the C2-X6800 and C2-QX6700.

Your logic is skewed. People bitched about the PS3 being $400-600. You seem to want $2,000 worth of hardware in a console that is cheap enough to afford. Nothings free buddy. Now you can wait in you're little hole until Banjo finds and gives you his XBOX-1440.
0 0 [Posted by: cheeseman  | Date: 12/30/09 01:27:29 PM]
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Obviously you are not familiar with CPU technology. Even Intel stated a long time ago that the x86 instruction set is bloated. What this means is too much transistors are used just for compatibility, and any unused transistor consumes power (you cannot completely turn off transistors).
While the Core i5/i7 are indeed powerful CPUs, remember that Intel has much of it's resources concentrated on CPUs. If the Cell would be released with the same performance and transistor process as the Core, it would surely beat the Core at power consumption.
The only advantage to Core (and all x86) is compatibility and widespread of use of Windows. Look to the history: Intel tried to go separate with Itanium, but AMDs extension of 64-bit made that project fail economically. For an invention to succeed you need the right place and right time. The latter was where Itanium failed.
And you compare the Intel/AMD launched around PS3's lauch with PS3's processor which was probably "frozen" a year before.
And how do you compare real-world performance? In SW terms, you have no comparison because you don't have an application compiled and optimized for both worlds. Games are limited to developer knowledge (which is plenty for x86). Linux for PS3 is no good comparison because of the GFX limitation. Besides, the PS3 uses a modified GeForce 7800 and 8800 was already present at PS3 launch.
I personally need Windows only for games, otherwise GNU/Linux would be enough for me. But I really can't buy a cheap MB+processor with low power and good performance. For example, the cheapest Cell IS the PS3, but it's graphics limitation form Sony stops it from being more than just a "playing" platform. ARMs are not built for Core-like performance. So yeah, the Core is the best price/performance you can get, but when you consider power consumption, the architecture failes.
0 0 [Posted by: mathew7  | Date: 01/01/10 03:38:09 AM]
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3. 
BestJinjo... Sorry but your theory about GPUs be so much more important than CPU doesn't really fly...
If this is the case, then Nintendo would be selling 0 Wii's since they are so underpowered compared to the other consoles right now... Graphics are nice to see, but a game is more then just graphics ;-) (yeah I know about physics on GPU and stuff...)
0 0 [Posted by: Grated  | Date: 12/30/09 01:20:34 PM]
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4. 
Grated,

You make a great point. Having said that, PS3 and Xbox360 do no compete on innovative gameplay, but partly on technological prowess. I realize that graphics do not make a successful console at all. What I am saying is that unless PS4 / Xbox next decide to drastically change the gaming landscape (i.e., 3D glasses, motion sensing controllers, etc.), then at the very least they should ensure a competitive advantage over one another in the graphics department. Instead, consoles have a vastly overpriced, underperforming CPU, and a so-so GPU. There is a misbalance of power in regard to graphics.

Sorry if I misled in implying that graphics alone will result in the most successful HD gaming console.
0 0 [Posted by: BestJinjo  | Date: 12/30/09 05:20:49 PM]
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5. 
If Sony were smart, they'd develop their next-gen console around the total gaming experience vis a vis the Wii, rather than just chasing raw processor power. There is a whole market out there who never even considered the XBox 360 and PS3 because of the Wii being more of an "immersible" experience. There's only so much that CPU and GPU performance can get you.
0 0 [Posted by: incident_man  | Date: 01/01/10 10:23:49 AM]
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6. 
Graphic and Graphic are two diferent things. The visual experience depends first on artists , not hardware. A atractive presentation can be achieved regardless of graphic power by smart desing,color usage and so on. The PS3 only games like uncharted 2 or Final Fantasy 13 can put to shame many today PC games with less than quarter of performance.
The thing is on consoles u have fixed hardware specs.U can buy radeon 5900 but noone will make a game on this level of performance. Its like all PC-s would own a integrated graphic at the level of geforce 7800 GT and a reasonably fast cpu and use them to 100 percent. On pc-s u have different gpu architectures (nvidia, ATI) and performance range (in order of 7times and more betwen low end and high end), the hardware is used with very litle efficiency on PC-s.
So in the end the difference is much smaler betwen consoles and PC-s.
If nvidia and ATI would rather try to make gpus-s on the level of gts250 and 4850 but make them affordable like intel integarted graphic to all PC-s. A radeon 4850 gpu in a console would beat the dust out current highend sli pc systems.
0 0 [Posted by: Zool  | Date: 01/01/10 11:57:06 AM]
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7. 
Sorry but I don't think the Wii should even be considered a gaming console. Its either for the too young or for the too old, but definitely not gamers.

And as far as using CPUs goes, I think it would be better if sony could create something that was more like the Emotion Engine they used for the PS2.
0 0 [Posted by: PFX  | Date: 01/26/10 06:52:19 PM]
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