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The Life And Times Of The Cell Processor

PlayStation 3Business 2.0 magazine has a feature article this month about the Cell processor that will run the next generation of the Sony PlayStation.  The article discusses how the Cell came about, what it is capable of, the problems the design team discovered and solved during development, and just what the Cell means to you and how it could change your life.  It's very interesting stuff, although you have to be a subscriber of the magazine's print edition to read the entire piece online.

Kutaragi, known for the bold stroke and the grand vision, swung for the fences from the get-go. "We want to do something that has never been done before," he told Davari and a group of IBMers at their first meeting. "Let's work together to change the world." The movie The Matrix had just come out, and Kutaragi relished its premise of a world that is actually a giant computer simulation. "Think about creating a crude version of that world," he said, "where millions of people can play in a realistically rendered virtual Tokyo or New York City as if they are really living there." Creating that magical realm, Kutaragi told the team, would require a chip 1,000 times as powerful as the one in the PlayStation 2. The IBMers tried not to roll their eyes. They tended to like all that Matrix stuff, but when it came to 1,000-fold chip boosts, they thought Kutaragi was out of his mind.

Also of interest here is the news that while the PS3 will be the first consumer device to feature the Cell, plans are already in the works to release all kinds of products that use the chip including televisions, home media servers, and even music players.  The one place the Cell isn't planned to appear?  PCs and other hardware powered by Microsoft Windows.  It looks like the Battle for the Living Room is heating up.