PlayStation 3 and Cell Updates
First, engineers from Sony, IBM, and Toshiba unveiled the Cell processor, the chip that's going to power the PlayStation 2 console, yesterday at the International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco.
The chip itself is as small as a postage stamp, contains more than 230 million transistors, and has been tested at clock speeds exceeding 4 GHz. While the chip can push data at speeds upward of 100 gigabytes per second and can perform nearly 256 billion calculations per second, IBM's representatives were quick to point out that Cell's biggest innovation is its multi-core architecture, which allows it to perform 10 operations in the time that rival Intel and Apple chips take to complete 2.
It's expected that the PlayStation 3 will be the first device to employ the Cell chip, but Toshiba also plans to include the chip in televisions and IBM expects to start building workstations around it within the next year or so.
This leads into the second bit of PlayStation 3 news. Sony has confirmed that the system and game demonstrations will be on display at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo, to take place May 17-20. But, in an even bigger turn of events, company representatives have said that the system will be unveiled prior to E3. Typically, Sony holds a media presentation the day before the E3 show to set out the company's plans for the coming year and to give the press a chance to get a first-look at the newest games and hardware. Our sources tell us that Sony plans to scoop its own media presentation this year and reveal the PlayStation 3 significantly sooner than May.
In short, we'll all know what the PlayStation 3 (containing the Cell chip) looks like and what it's capable of within the next month or two.
2/9/2005 Frank Provo