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IBM's Cell Microprocessor
Contributed by: G3nu1n3, at 12/06/2004 08:30:00 AM.

When IBM gave a sneak peek at its new Cell microprocessor this week, it was short on specifics about what it calls a supercomputer on a chip. But details are leaking out thanks to a recent patent awarded to IBM and Big Blue's own disclosures for an upcoming conference.

The Cell chips -- jointly created by IBM, Sony and Toshiba -- are expected to have a wide impact on everything from handheld computers to supercomputers. But the biggest potential use is for Sony's PlayStation 3 video-game console, which is expected to debut in 2006. Many analysts believe that if the Cell is successful, it will become the biggest threat to Intel's dominance of the chip industry.

In a disclosure to the International Solid State Circuits Conference, IBM said it has made Cell chips that run at 4.6 gigahertz and operate at 1.3 volts.

That speed is notable in part because Intel canceled its 4-gigahertz Pentium 4 chip this year. IBM earlier in the week would say only that a rack of Cell chips could compute 16 teraflops, or trillions of precision math operations, a second. The world's fastest supercomputer currently deployed in the commercial market is NEC's Earth Simulator, which computes 36 teraflops.

Source: Link

More on CELL Microprocessor ...

Cell microprocessors and their micro-architecture were jointly developed by Sony, IBM and Toshiba are projected to be the base for Sony’s PlayStation3 console, while simplified or more powerful versions of the Cell chips will serve as the base for consumer electronics or more complex applications. The Cell microprocessors are expected to unleash massive computing power – something multimedia environments need tremendously – but will require some new approaches in programming for the central processing units.

According to Petrov Group, IBM’s “GHz U-turn,” away from frequency and toward System-on-Chip integration and memory density, will have profound consequences for all major players in the digital entertainment, enterprise computing, and semiconductor industry sectors. It could lead to mass extinctions and the emergence of new vendors and businesses; it will profoundly change the landscapes of entire industries and create new configurations of business innovation, productivity, and added value. The changes are imminent although still poorly, if at all, understood.

This year the era of entirely new organic-like computing technology is starting. It will be based on software-enabled computing cells. These building blocks will be highly integrated and super-dense, have very low power, and will be cost-effectively produced in ultra-large volumes. Perhaps most importantly, it will be software, rather than hardware, that will fuel the computing performance of the new systems,” Mr. Petrov said.

The first commercial Cell microprocessors are expected to emerge in late 2004.

Source: Link


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