Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Cell Broadband Engine

IBM Cell Processor
IBM Cell Processor
Photo: www.ibm.com

'A long way from the console games that processor has come, indeed,’ (Yoda would comment on the subject), and now on to the dark side. Not having much success with the PS3, Sony is in quite a bad spot right now. Not to mention the exploding batteries phase they went through, it looks like they're not going to pull out very soon. The Wii


console had a performance on the market similar to a magic trick, now you see it, now you don't. This little detail didn't help one bit in bringing them back to business. Perhaps this is why they want to reduce costs no matter what.

This is where IBM Microelectronics steps in with the beginning of production of Cell microprocessors on a new 65nm manufacturing process. The processor is developed by IBM, Sony and Toshiba and should reduce manufacturing costs by permitting more processors to be fitted onto a single wafer. Along side the reduced manufacturing costs, other benefits of the processors built on the 65nm manufacturing process include lower power consumption and less dissipated heat. Other uses for this processor have been the introduction into IBM's BladeCenter servers.

Cell is a shorthand for Cell Broadband Engine Architecture and it combines the benefits of Power Architecture with streamlined coprocessing elements which accelerate multimedia and vector processing applications. It's composed of a dual-threaded PowerPC core and eight Synergistic Processing Engines (SPE) which are able to realize floating-point calculations. The core has 32KB L1 cache and 512KB L2 cache, and 2MB of cache are spread evenly between the eight SPEs. It also features a Rambus XDRAM Memory Interface able to sustain data transfers from 3.20GHz to 8GHz, an I/O controller and a Rambus FlexIO processor bus able to run up to 6.40GHz.
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