back to article Big Blue talks up 45nm PlayStation 3 processor possibilities

It's no great surprise, perhaps, but Cell Broadband Engine chip co-developer IBM will produce a 45nm version of the processor, paving the way for smaller, cooler-running PlayStation 3 consoles. Originally produced using a 90nm process, Cell is currently being punched out at 65nm. That version debuted with the 40GB PS3. The …


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  1. Chris Morrison
    Dead Vulture

    Wrong title.

    Surely the tile for this article should be

    "IBM announces that halfing transistor size reduces chip size by half shocker"

  2. Chris McFaul


    apparenlty it was the GPU which shrank in the 40GB PS3 not the Cell !

  3. Andy Turner

    I'd be surprised...

    .. if they increase the clock speed. What would be the point of creating platform variances which would create allsorts of problems for the developers? Would the developers really code in extra performance when they detect that they're on a faster chip? I think you'd then get people trying to overclock their 90nm chips! They didn't do it with the PS2, which means a PS2 is a PS2 and it reliably and consistently runs the games the same, whether it's an early one or the latest slimline.

  4. Andy Turner


    They changed their mind the week after:

  5. Philip

    Exactly, Mr. Andy Turner

    There's no way Sony with increase the clock speed, as then what runs on one console may not run on another. The idea is that the platform is consistent and all games will run on all hardware in the same manner.

    This story is mostly crud. There is no news in it what so ever. They could have just written "IBM says that process technology evolves over time" and no need to mention Sony or PS3 at all!

  6. James
    Thumb Up

    No more burns!

    A cooler running PS3 would be a good thing, as I'm always surprised just how hot the air blasting from the vents are! It has to be said, it's a VERY quiet machine despite the monster coooling when the BR drive isn't clunking around (just listen to that thing while you're playing Uncharted).

    Reduced power consumption is going to be the big win too, this is the one thing that stops me from running Folding and using it as a media center. The PS3 is such a power hungry beast, and anything that makes it a greener machine is a good thing. Errr...although I'll have to buy a new PS3 with the smaller Cell to reap any benefits from it. I wonder how I can convince my wife that I need another PS3.

    A thumbs up for the Cell in general as it's such a sexy piece of silicon [/geek]

  7. Sergiu Panaite

    "More likely, Sony would use the 45nm Call"

    I would like a Call that small too, imagine the savings I could make on my international Calls!

    The one that's got its pockets full of heatsinks please.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    Hot air blasting from the vents? It should be hotter! Stood in front of an IBM Z-series mainframe recently. Honestly it's like a furnace combined with a wind tunnel.

    Now THAT's computing :-)

  9. Iain

    re: changing clockspeed.

    Don't put it past Sony. They doubled the memory capacity of the slim and light PSP over the fat and heavy one, which is why the official skype firmware doesn't run on the older model.

  10. User

    wrong title

    Big Blue big on small chips?

  11. Highlander

    @James and his wife

    James, simply find a way to get your wife hooked on a game. In my case Soul Calibur III (PS2 emulation on 60GB PS3), Madden and especially Burnout Paradise have done the trick. All I have to do is find a way to convince her that not only is a second PS3 worth a shot, but also that a second HDTV (1080p this time) is also needed.

  12. mvrx

    Good IBM, now put 4-8 of these on clusterable cards and write directx drivers.

    The Cell was designed from the ground up to be stackable. Now that they are fast enough, lets start scaling these into huge arrays and write some directx drivers for them :)

    My 8800GT runs at 600Mhz. If a cell can do 6ghz, and you can cluster a bunch of them, even with some wacky emulation, there has to be a way to get up to speed.

    I'll even buy the first version if it is only as fast as 10 8800GT's. :-0

    P.S. Add native h.264 encode and decode to each of the cores please. I have some home movies that need compressed.

  13. E


    Heck, port FFTW, and Mathematica, and maybe Gauss to these little beasties - 8 per card - and sell it in the HPC market. They're too hard to program straight up in C for most researchers, but with a decent library interface they could prove very popular.

  14. PaulM


    I attended a talk given by a PS3 game developer in which I was told that future IBM Cell processors would contain 100s of Synergestic Programming Elements. He mentioned this fact in order to emphasise the importance of making increasing use of SPEs if one was to produce competetive high performance games.

    If future Cell processors run at no more than the current clock frequency of 3.2 GHz then this has the implication that existing games would work without any problem on the future Playstation. The only limitation would be that the games would not be making full use of the 100s of SPEs in the new Cell processor.

    Another snippet of interesting imformation from this developer is that he said that Java might replace C++ in future game devwelopment despite the inefficiency of BYTE codes. He said that the reason for this is that it was easier to generate parallel code for SPEs in a Java compiler than in a C++ compiler.

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