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New Powermacs to use Cell Processor? - Page 2

post #41 of 221
Core is a important clue. Routing this stuff through the GPU is a revolutionary change in the computer/software model. Apple is doing it now. Most importantly, they are doing it without breaking all the existing apps. Wouldn't that model work well for Cell? Hand off Quicktime, OpenGL, Core and other intensive stuff. Using the power where you really need it, my friends, is the future.
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post #42 of 221
Quote:
Originally posted by mugwump
Super Cell article




First of all, down the road Apple could be in a fine position to take advantage of such tech advances. Doubtful if Intel, MS, and Dell could be so nimble.

As an aside, I wonder if it would be the approach for TV's to render raw digital data on the fly. That would circumvent half of the current workflow of content creation, computer rendering, compression, and delivery.

I hate the wild claims and speculation that these articles do. More computing power than I can imagine? Give me a break, I can imagine a heck of a lot and it would make 16 teraflops quiver and run away with its tail between its legs. "Broadband on a chip"? What the heck is that supposed to mean and how is it going to bring everyone together in something that sounds like Utopia? C'mon, keep the old feet on the ground. Who are they quoting here, a maintenance engineer in one of Sony's offices?
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post #43 of 221
"C'mon, keep the old feet on the ground. Who are they quoting here, a maintenance engineer in one of Sony's offices?"

Yeah, how'd they get hold of Kormac over at Samsung for a Sony article?


But Big P, what's your take on the specificity in the article, namely:

A single Cell chip is expected to surpass 250 billion floating point operations, or 250 gigaflops, per second, six times as fast as Nvidia's new graphics chip.

And that each chip will have 8 cores.

Goes into production by midyear at East Fishkill.

Already "on its way" to 65nm production.


Hmmmmmm??
post #44 of 221
Quote:
Originally posted by mugwump
A single Cell chip is expected to surpass 250 billion floating point operations, or 250 gigaflops, per second, six times as fast as Nvidia's new graphics chip.

And that each chip will have 8 cores.

Well my take on it is that it will be very hard to keep such a chip fed with information, that it will be difficult to write useful algorithms that excercise peak computational abilities of the chip and that that number is just a marketing spec for peak performance and reality is a bit more believable.

Of course I am a dull realist but I have heard all this before from FPGA's and how many machines have those built in? Yes they can be incredibly powerful and useful, but nobody uses them outside of specialized applications (e.g. cruise missiles).

Cell will undoubtedly be nice, but I tend to think that it will not live up to all its hype. Of course, I'd like to be surprised

Cell will likely make a wonderful addition to PowerMacs.
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post #45 of 221
Quote:
Originally posted by Yevgeny
Well my take on it is that it will be very hard to keep such a chip fed with information, that it will be difficult to write useful algorithms that excercise peak computational abilities of the chip and that that number is just a marketing spec for peak performance and reality is a bit more believable.

Of course I am a dull realist but I have heard all this before from FPGA's and how many machines have those built in? Yes they can be incredibly powerful and useful, but nobody uses them outside of specialized applications (e.g. cruise missiles).

Cell will undoubtedly be nice, but I tend to think that it will not live up to all its hype. Of course, I'd like to be surprised

Cell will likely make a wonderful addition to PowerMacs.


Apple's dual 2.5 GHz G5 has a theoretical peak performance of:

2.5 GHz * 2 processors * 4-way SIMD * 2 ops/multiply-add = 40 GFLOPS

How much is really usable? Well if the VA Big Mac is any indication only about 9 GFLOPS, or a little under 25% the peak number... and that is only on a benchmark used for the purpose. Nonetheless, having a single chip that can apparently fit in a game console turn in more than 8 times the peak rate of the fastest current PowerMac is pretty impressive.

Ignore the hype, but keep an eye on this thing.
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post #46 of 221
Quote:
Originally posted by Yevgeny
Of course I am a dull realist but I have heard all this before from FPGA's and how many machines have those built in? Yes they can be incredibly powerful and useful, but nobody uses them outside of specialized applications (e.g. cruise missiles).

Quantel makes high end HD edit systems that use FPGAs to handle the video processing. Their eQ system can mix and match HD and SD video in one sequence without any proxies or other silliness. Very fast at any resolution.

I guess they are the cruise missile of editing equipment.

http://www.quantel.com/domisphere/in...sf/html/eQmain
post #47 of 221
Quote:
Originally posted by onlooker
Anybody have any ideas why Apple is still absent from those on board on IBM's power list?

Power.org is centered around Linux, not OS X which might explain the lack of Apple being a member.
post #48 of 221
Quote:
Originally posted by Programmer
Apple's dual 2.5 GHz G5 has a theoretical peak performance of:

2.5 GHz * 2 processors * 4-way SIMD * 2 ops/multiply-add = 40 GFLOPS

How much is really usable? Well if the VA Big Mac is any indication only about 9 GFLOPS, or a little under 25% the peak number... and that is only on a benchmark used for the purpose. Nonetheless, having a single chip that can apparently fit in a game console turn in more than 8 times the peak rate of the fastest current PowerMac is pretty impressive.

Ignore the hype, but keep an eye on this thing.


Aint Heat Transfer a bitch?
post #49 of 221
Quote:
Originally posted by mdriftmeyer
Aint Heat Transfer a bitch?

Actually heat transfer is great, the real enemy is current leakage and power consumption in general. Without heat transfer you wouldn't be able to run your 3.8 GHz P4 more than a millisecond without it cooking itself.
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post #50 of 221
Thread Starter 
As several have said, we will know more on Monday:

IBM, Sony, Toshiba to announce "Supercomputer on a Chip."
post #51 of 221
When they said "Think Different", I ran with it.
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post #52 of 221
Quote:
Originally posted by murk
Neo's at it again...
http://www.macsimumnews.com/index.php/archive/2619/

What's with these authors and their crazy hyperbole?
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post #53 of 221
Quote:
Originally posted by Programmer
Apple's dual 2.5 GHz G5 has a theoretical peak performance of:

2.5 GHz * 2 processors * 4-way SIMD * 2 ops/multiply-add = 40 GFLOPS

How much is really usable? Well if the VA Big Mac is any indication only about 9 GFLOPS, or a little under 25% the peak number... and that is only on a benchmark used for the purpose. Nonetheless, having a single chip that can apparently fit in a game console turn in more than 8 times the peak rate of the fastest current PowerMac is pretty impressive.

Ignore the hype, but keep an eye on this thing.

I agree. The hype is definitely out of hand, but I think that a cell coprocessor would be a wonderful addition to an Apple Pro machine. I would like to see how Apple will feed a cell so that it wasn't just spinning cycles (of course, theoretical peak performance is also the performance of a somewhat useless task unless you are scaling all your data by some constant). I'd expect Cell to have the same memory hogging characteristics that Altivec has.

The reason why this all works out is that Apple is going to do much of the hard work of making APIs that will use the Cell CPU (i.e. Core Video/CoreAudio/Quartz). No software developer in his right mind would ignore such useful and hardware accelerated APIs.
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post #54 of 221
Quote:
Originally posted by WelshDog
Quantel makes high end HD edit systems that use FPGAs to handle the video processing. Their eQ system can mix and match HD and SD video in one sequence without any proxies or other silliness. Very fast at any resolution.

I guess they are the cruise missile of editing equipment.

http://www.quantel.com/domisphere/in...sf/html/eQmain

Don't get me wrong, FPGA's are great, but despite all their power, they just dont find their way into as many hardware systems as they could.

Half of what would make cell a nice optin is that Apple would be bundling it in their machines as a standard option (well at least for their pro machines).

Anyhow, I have to go back to work (four weeks until we're gold!)
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post #55 of 221
Quote:
Originally posted by Programmer
What's with these authors and their crazy hyperbole?

And I thought they were being conservative.

My prediction for the Cell presentation: A Japanese engineer is introduced and walks on stage. The audience is stunned by the presentation. Then, towards the end, he says, "One more thing..." , while ripping off a mask to reveal he is actually Steve Jobs. "All of the cool stuff you have seen today has been running on the new PowerMac Cell. He presses the clicker and a Keynote slide showing the machine appears with the words "Shipping worldwide starting today."
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post #56 of 221
Quote:
Originally posted by Programmer
"Broadband on a chip"? What the heck is that supposed to mean and how is it going to bring everyone together in something that sounds like Utopia?

I got a kick out of that too. What now? Are they going to get OC3 lines to everybody's house in a chip? "Broadband on a chip" What a clown. This guy makes no sense.
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post #57 of 221
Quote:
Originally posted by onlooker
"Broadband on a chip" What a clown. This guy makes no sense.

Broadband on a the chip is the VISION for the Cell shared by IBM, Sony and Toshiba.

Yep those guys are real clowns about the broadband capabilities of the Cell.
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post #58 of 221
From the New York Times...

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/02/07/te...gy/07chip.html

Quote:
One area of wide speculation is whether Apple might become a partner in the Cell alliance in the future. Apple is already the largest customer for the PowerPC chip, and it would be simple for the company to take advantage of the Cell design. Several people familiar with Apples strategy, however, said that the computer maker had yet to be convinced that the Cell technology could provide a significant performance advantage.
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post #59 of 221
Quote:
Of course I am a dull realist but I have heard all this before from FPGA's and how many machines have those built in? Yes they can be incredibly powerful and useful, but nobody uses them outside of specialized applications (e.g. cruise missiles).

Thats funny - I thought that FPGAs were very common - my company uses boatloads of them in our products, and we are not primarily a defense company.
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post #60 of 221
Quote:
Originally posted by Aphelion
Broadband on a the chip is the VISION for the Cell shared by IBM, Sony and Toshiba.

Yep those guys are real clowns about the broadband capabilities of the Cell.

I still think it's bad language, and more of a buzz term than anything. How are you supposed to get broadband on a chip if you have dial up? What good is the chip then? That I'd like to know.
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post #61 of 221
Quote:
Originally posted by onlooker
I still think it's bad language, and more of a buzz term than anything. How are you supposed to get broadband on a chip if you have dial up? What good is the chip then? That I'd like to know.

I'm no networking expert but a little Googling around will show that IBM has been building on-chip hardware acceleration for the protocols that send data out the NIC's thus speeding up the broadband connection.

If you are on dial-up you don't get to play, it's just out of your league.
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post #62 of 221
Quote:
Originally posted by Aphelion
I'm no networking expert but a little Googling around will show that IBM has been building on-chip hardware acceleration for the protocols that send data out the NIC's thus speeding up the broadband connection.

If you are on dial-up you don't get to play, it's just out of your league.

That's the point. You can't just hand someone broadband on a chip.
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post #63 of 221
Quote:
Originally posted by onlooker
That's the point. You can't just hand someone broadband on a chip.

No, the point is you can speed up broadband on the chip.
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post #64 of 221
This is actually a series of questions for Programmer or someone of his ilk, largely because I'm a doofus who doesn't really "get" some of this stuff

Am I right in thinking that, having read a small amount of the Cell material from today, I can't help but hear coffin nails being banged into SGI?

Could Cell be deployed as an "outboard" technology tied to either an Xserve or Power Macintosh "controller" handing out simulation/visualisation tasks? If so. what kind of Cell unit to Macintosh controller ratio could one expect? 8 to 1, 16 to 1, more? (!!!)

If the answer to these questions are largely affirmative, would it be reasonable to see Macintosh/Cell implementations being used in areas like
  • geophysical modelling
  • signal processing
  • scientific simulation
  • HD image render farm

Could we reasonably expect to see a 64 dual-processor Xserve's feeding large data sets to (for example) 1024 Cells using Xsan as a SAN filesystem? And if we did, what sort of performance could we expect?
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post #65 of 221
Looks like Cell will have to wait for 65 nanometers.

From MacCentral...
Quote:
The processor shown Monday was only a prototype, and it's likely that the high-volume shipments of the processor will come when the three companies are ready to make chips using a 65-nanometer processing technology, Glaskowsky said. That technology will allow the companies to shrink the chip and reduce their manufacturing costs, he said.
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post #66 of 221
Quote:
Originally posted by murk
Looks like Cell will have to wait for 65 nanometers.

From MacCentral...

Sounds a lot like guessing to me.



Mark -- the Cell has a Power core inboard, so why would it need to be used "outboard"?
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post #67 of 221
Not necessarily used outboard, but the Power Processor Element core is sans out-of-order circuitry making it hamstrung in non-carefully scheduled or sloppy code. Having a 970MP AND a Cell would make a hell of a team and obviate an independent GPU.
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post #68 of 221
Quote:
Originally posted by Aphelion
No, the point is you can speed up broadband on the chip.

Helllllooo? THe point of what I said is not about that at all. You can't just hand someone broadband on a chip. It makes no sense. That was my point.
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post #69 of 221
Quote:
Originally posted by Programmer
Sounds a lot like guessing to me.



Mark -- the Cell has a Power core inboard, so why would it need to be used "outboard"?


In my head, I see a shelf of Cell blades attached to an Xserve by some high-speed interconnect like Infiniband.

So I guess what I mean by outboard is that it's slightly removed from the host that controls it which means that you don't have to build in the capability to drag all of that heat away into what should remain mainstream computing products.

Does that philosophy not then given you an opportunity to attach a small Cell breakout box (for audio or video processing) to a PowerBook using a FireWire umbilical.The Cell unit does all the heavy lifting (encoding, effects, whatever) and then feeds the finished data stream down FireWire to be written to disk., whilst th main 9xx or 3xx "host" processor controls less demanding tasks.

Does that not make it feasible to run hitherto deskbound applications on a laptop? Could you - I/O connections notwithstanding - land up with a 96-track recording solution running on a next-gen PowerBook?

I don't know how this thing wants to get fed, which is I'm asking the question.
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post #70 of 221
Quote:
Originally posted by Existence
Cell = PPC980

I hope so, i relly really hope so
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post #71 of 221
I think this is closer.


PPC980 = Multi-core Power5 + PowerPC
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post #72 of 221
Quote:
Originally posted by Programmer
Cell has a Power core inboard

Sorry, Power5 or PowerPC one?

I got utterly confused after reading a dozen of articles and a hundred of posts on various forums.
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post #73 of 221
Quote:
Posted by Ideaphile on Slashdot
I was at the Cell event today, and quoted in some of the news stories. I also have the ISSCC technical papers.

The PowerPC core in the Cell prototype chip is NOT a Power5, as speculated here. According to IBM, this core was designed from scratch for this application. One critical difference is that the new pipeline executes instructions in strict program order rather than reordering instructions to improve throughput as is done with Power5.

Also, IBM has not described the core as "simultaneous multithreaded", just "multithreaded." I presume from this that the multithreading is coarse-grained-- only one thread is active at a time, unlike Power5 which can execute instructions from two different threads in the same cycle.

The logic design for the Cell CPU was optimized for higher clock speeds in a given process than Power5 can achieve. This is a good tradeoff for more linear multimedia algorithms, but reduces effective throughput on other types of code.

I think it's reasonable to suppose that if Apple were interested in using the Cell architecture, it would prefer to use a version of the design that includes a Power5 core in place of the one in the Cell prototype.

This answers my own question pretty well. And the guy seems to be right.
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post #74 of 221
Quote:
Originally posted by costique
Sorry, Power5 or PowerPC one?

I got utterly confused after reading a dozen of articles and a hundred of posts on various forums.

It is not a POWER5. It is a dual-issue, in-order core running at 4+ GHz. At that clock rate you can make up for a lot of the limitations of the core... its probably in the same performance ballpark as a 1.8-2.0 GHz 970 on non-optimized code. On optimized code it'll fly.


The other thing that they are saying about the Cell is that it is highly modular. Basically it is centered around this EIB on-chip bus and everything is a peer on this bus. If you have a different Power core then why not stick on this bus interface and make it a peer on the EIB. Or put two of them there. The main obstacle is probably that this chip is running at 4 GHz!
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post #75 of 221
I don't know whether this has any implications for Apple (in using a Power5 derived processor), but I thought the following was quite interesting...

Quote:
IBM is also talking up its p5 575 box that is designed to be part of a server cluster. The system takes up just 2U of rack space but can hold 8 single-core Power5 chips each running at 1.9GHz.

From The Register.

It seems that IBM may well be tweaking things to allow for cooler running of all it's Power family?

[Edited for spelling]
post #76 of 221
Quote:
Originally posted by DaveLee
It seems that IBM may well be tweaking things to allow for cooler running of all it's Power family?

One of the Power5's big features was reduced power consumption. At a very low-level in the basic circuit design of the chip they did some things which optimize power consumption. The features are part of what this new core has inherited, which is why there is any hope of this Cell chip fitting in a game console package at anything close to 4 GHz.
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post #77 of 221
I posted this over in the other Cell thread and thought it might spark some fond memories here too.

Another nagging thought keeps entering my brain. A few months ago some one on these boards was touting Apple's next generation lap top chip to be some agglomeration of 440 style chips using low low power. In looking at information on Cell, the SPE's(I think this is the right term) are actually somewhat independent specialized cpu's??? Is it even remotely possible that this person's posts about multiple 440's on die for a low power lap top chip had any validity whatsoever, or at least were spawned from the Cell??

With a lot of people including me dismissing his posts as anything from dubious to out and out BS, wouldn't it be a real kick in the pants if it was Cell he was describing and it does end up in an Apple laptop in some form.

Please forgive me if I'm totally wrong as I really have no clue about this technology.

Anyone remember the poster's name?
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post #78 of 221
Quote:
Originally posted by rickag

Anyone remember the poster's name?

It was Nr9 I think. And this one the original discussion.
post #79 of 221
Yep, and Nr9 was full of shit.
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post #80 of 221
IF they will use the Cell processor we won't see it before 2006. but i could imagine that IBM and apple were working on the G5-successor (which - of course - could be based on a implementation-variant of the new Cell-design-ideas). i expect IBM to be very tight-lipped on new CPUs made for apple and bet we will all be surprised when the G5s successor will be presented...
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