back to article Sony buys PS3 chip plant back off Toshiba

Sony is to buy back the Cell processor plant it sold to Toshiba in 2008. Back then, Toshiba paid ¥90bn for the facility. That was worth $835m at the time. How much today's deal - which is subject to due diligence - will cost Sony wasn't stated, though the figure of ¥50bn ($603m/£390m) has been bandied about in the press. The …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Sorta confirms

    that PS4 will also be a Cell based descendant rather than going for a 3rd party design. Clearly Sony have taken the hit of moving to a new modern massively parallel design that sets them up for the forseeable future.

    I wonder how long Microsoft can continue to flog flog the old architecture it's lumbered with? Not for much longer, as a quick look at the PS3 exclusives vs the 360 exclusives show a already HUGE gap in favor of the PS3, and it's getting bigger at a very fast rate.

    1. Fisher39

      Do Not Feed The Troll


      So someone guessing about an unconfirmed possible architecture for an unnanounced console 'clearly' signals an R&D strategy.

      Thank God you're not running my pension fund.

      Odd isn't it that an article about a chip foundry sale can provoke an unfounded assertion about next years exclusives which probably isn't true anyway. You really ought to have more confidence in your technology of choice. Rubbishing the XBox doesn't make the PS3 any better. Oh and vice versa.

  2. DrXym

    OpenCL, GPUGPU & Cell

    It's hard to shake the missed opportunity Cell represented. While the proof of concept was with PowerPC processors, it could have been applied to x86. Imagine an x86 with 4 or 6 SPUs on the same die. It would scream at doing video decoding, physics etc.

    I wonder if Sony / Toshiba / IBM tried to pitch it to VIA or Intel or AMD or let the opportunity be squandered. Whatever the reason, AMD & NVidia have basically turned their graphics cards into proxy versions of the cell. GPUs could already execute code through shaders and the concept has been extended to be more general purpose, hence it's known as GPGPU

    It's still possible that Cell could live on and do so in a way compatible with GPGPU efforts - OpenCL. OpenCL is device neutral abstraction layer for compute intensive code and there is already an impl for Cell. So someone could write a physics engine against OpenCL and in theory it could use Cell or AMD or NVidia or CPU to run it on, whichever was installed. I can well imagine that if OpenCL took off that we might see a son-of-cell appearing in some future x86 chipset. It might make most sense in mobile chipsets which don't have the luxury of a powerful graphics card to make use of.

  3. Mr Mark V Thomas

    Re: "Sorta confirms"...?

    Or maybe, in a couple of years, Sony will sell a Bravia range television in the U.K, with a built in PS3, in a similar way to which a certain Bravia T.V with built in PS2, is now currently being sold by Richer Sounds for £200...?

    Or possibly, Sony's Vaio laptop range might use the cell processor as a graphics chip, in a similar way, to some of Toshiba's Quasimo laptop range already have...?

    (As I seem to recall, Cell is reportedly OS Neutral...).

  4. Neal 5


    April the first eh?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Capitalism at work.

    So Sony sells a plan for ¥90bn , then buys it back 2 years (or so) later for ¥50bn.

    This would seem to indicate a possible ¥40bn and they weren't (probably) paying employee wages during that 2 years.

    Good way to offload something if you need to streamline, then get it back when your in a better financial position.

  6. John Nicholson
    Thumb Up

    Cheaper PS3?

    I doubt Sony is spending all that money to save money producing PS3's. They would have to sell a hell of a lot to make the cost worth while. I can only imagine they plan to put the cell into other devices. Maybe a cut down version for the PSP2? Also, with the advent of internet TV's and TV's generally needing more power they plan to start including them in their TVs.

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