Sony Looking at Alternatives to Cell Processor for PlayStation 4

Sony PlayStation 4 May Include Multi-Core CPU Instead of Cell

by Anton Shilov
12/29/2009 | 02:19 PM

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.