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Cell details - Page 2

post #41 of 135
The one thing that I'm not completely sure on with cell is also the one thing that I think is getting totally blown out of proportion by news writers, and that is the use of: "Multiple simultaneous operating systems including Linux." I do not believe they are referring to full scale Operating systems, as in Windows, or the Mac OS type. I think this is in reference to a scaled function centric OS. At least for the time being. I don't think you'll be seeing a processor like this running Mac OS, and windows at the same time any time soon. Even though I believe these are more function focused OS's being (very lightly) described (and I think it's being done intentionally to help sell company stock) they are still being what I am perceiving as emulated. I may be wrong on this point too, but the SPE "cores can support multiple operating systems and programming models through the use of virtualization technologies." Isn't the term "virtualization technologies" just a glorified use of the term emulation?
Even if this were hardware emulation only running these operating systems and programming models, I think they are very scaled function focused routines.
Anyone else's thought's are, requested, and encouraged.
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post #42 of 135
It is yet too early to tell, but Cell does not seem a suitable general-purpose-CPU to me. The Power5 core (or cores?) seem to be running at 1Ghz, whereas the APUs reach 4Ghz. The quoted Gflops can only be reached under very special circumstances - when code is suitable and optimized for it.

Basically, a lot of code would have to be rewritten from the ground as software cells - nothing developers like.

Furthermore, there is the price issue: Cell as presented occupies 221mm^2 - compared to the 65mm^2 a 970fx takes, this is quite a large and expensive chip. Sony and or IBM will have to swallow huge losses if they use it for a gaming console.

If Apple is going to use it, then in a different form: dual-core Power/PPC core with higher frequency and less APUs as a CoreImage/CoreVideo accellerated CPU.
post #43 of 135
Quote:
Originally posted by onlooker
The one thing that I'm not completely sure on with cell is also the one thing that I think is getting totally blown out of proportion by news writers, and that is the use of: "Multiple simultaneous operating systems including Linux." I do not believe they are referring to full scale Operating systems, as in Windows, or the Mac OS type. I think this is in reference to a scaled function centric OS. At least for the time being. I don't think you'll be seeing a processor like this running Mac OS, and windows at the same time any time soon. Even though I believe these are more function focused OS's being (very lightly) described (and I think it's being done intentionally to help sell company stock) they are still being what I am perceiving as emulated. I may be wrong on this point too, but the SPE cores can support multiple operating systems and programming models through the use of virtualization technologies. Isn't the term virtualization technologies just a glorified use of the term emulation?
Even if this were hardware emulation only running these operating systems and programming models, I think they are very scaled function focused routines.
Anyone else's thought's are, requested, and encouraged.

The PS2 already runs multiple operating systems, just not simultaneously...

1) the PlayStation2 OS (obviously a "scaled function centric" OS...)

2) whatever distro of Linux that Sony sells with it's Linux kit... (there is even a Linux cluster of PS2s out there somewhere, the URL eludes me at this time...)
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post #44 of 135
Quote:
Originally posted by THT
. . . Also, 221 sq mm die running in excess of 2 GHz. It must be a concidence than no power numbers are bandied about for the entire chip.


When the Cell is made with a 65nm process, that die should be about 115 square mm.
post #45 of 135
Quote:
Originally posted by Smircle
It is yet too early to tell, but Cell does not seem a suitable general-purpose-CPU to me. The Power5 core (or cores?) seem to be running at 1Ghz, whereas the APUs reach 4Ghz. The quoted Gflops can only be reached under very special circumstances - when code is suitable and optimized for it.

Basically, a lot of code would have to be rewritten from the ground as software cells - nothing developers like.

Furthermore, there is the price issue: Cell as presented occupies 221mm^2 - compared to the 65mm^2 a 970fx takes, this is quite a large and expensive chip. Sony and or IBM will have to swallow huge losses if they use it for a gaming console.

If Apple is going to use it, then in a different form: dual-core Power/PPC core with higher frequency and less APUs as a CoreImage/CoreVideo accellerated CPU.

Sony is planning on fabbing these themselves. If they amortize the R&D directly as a PS3 expense for the chips they plan to put into the PS3 then it is an overall widget lifecycle cost comparison, not a per chip gain/loss, and over 5-7 years they come out with an overall big win.
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post #46 of 135
Quote:
Originally posted by Smircle
It is yet too early to tell, but Cell does not seem a suitable general-purpose-CPU to me. The Power5 core (or cores?) seem to be running at 1Ghz, whereas the APUs reach 4Ghz. The quoted Gflops can only be reached under very special circumstances - when code is suitable and optimized for it.

It is not a Power5 core -- there might be some design elements in common, but it is a considerably different processor. And it is running at the same speed as the SPEs (i.e. 4+ GHz).

The quoted GFLOPS of any processor can only be reached under certain circumstances. It also happens that these circumstances are quite like the circumstances that allow the G4/G5 VMX units to get their peak performance. And Pentium4/Opteron peaks as well, for that matter. This is an important qualifier, but it is not unique to the Cell. The important point is that the payoff for arranging code this way on the Cell is tremendous.
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post #47 of 135
Quote:
Originally posted by Programmer
. The important point is that the payoff for arranging code this way on the Cell is tremendous.

That's why I believe that the Cell powermac is not for 2005. Taking advantage of the cell architecture is not a cakewalk.
I think that we will a dual ppc 970 first, and then the G6 will be a cell chip, but a different one thant the PS chip.
post #48 of 135
Quote:
Originally posted by THT
Looks like IBM is finally going to use a low-k dielectric for the 90 nm fab. Combined with dual-liner strained silicon, a svelt Powerbook G5 will be very possible.

For Cell, it's not exactly a panacea. Depending on what the PPE architecture is like, it could be a worse performer at scalar ops than the G4 is. Also, 221 sq mm die running in excess of 2 GHz. It must be a concidence than no power numbers are bandied about for the entire chip.

100+ Watts for a 3 GHz chip? Can't wait to see the box that Sony will ship the thing in.

Apparently not quite that bad...

Quote:
Cell will probably consume around 30 watts of power, similar to the Emotion Engine processor in the PlayStation 2 console, said Peter Glaskowsky, a technical analyst with The Envisioneering Group. This is also similar to the power consumption of Intel's Pentium M processor.

(From MacWorld UK.)
post #49 of 135
Introducing the IBM/Sony/Toshiba Cell Processor

It would seem that Cell technology could be used in the future, but not any time soon. The conclusion in part 2 of this Cell introduction has this to say about Cell and Apple:
Quote:
Finally, before signing off, I should clarify my earlier remarks to the effect that I don't think that Apple will use this CPU. I originally based this assessment on the fact that I knew that the SPUs would not use VMX/Altivec. However, the PPC core does have a VMX unit. Nonetheless, I expect this VMX to be very simple, and roughly comparable to the Altivec unit of the first G4. Everything on this processor is stripped down to the bare minimum, so don't expect a ton of VMX performance out of it, and definitely not anything comparable to the G5. Furthermore, any Altivec code written for the new G4 or G5 would have to be completely reoptimized due to inorder nature of the PPC core's issue.

So the short answer is, Apple's use of this chip is within the realm of concievability, but it's extremely unlikely in the short- and medium-term. Apple is just too heavily invested in Altivec, and this processor is going to be a relative weakling in that department. Sure, it'll pack a major SIMD punch, but that will not be a double-precision Alitvec-type punch.

It is exciting technology, but for now probably aimed at consumer electronics and I suspect one of the first areas will be to boost mobile phone/pda abilities... But that like most other discussion about Cell is pure chit-chat!
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post #50 of 135
Quote:
Originally posted by rickag
I seem to remember reading an online article showing IBM's recent patents and one of those related to a compiler that could optimize code for, I think it mentioned, multiple processes or threads or something. I'll look again, but this could be interesting times ahead.

This has nothing to do with Apple. There are several compelling reasons why Apple uses GCC. Most people don't know that the modified version of GCC Apple uses has various optimizations for ObjC and ObjC++, not to mention Apple will contribute ObjC++ to GCC once Tiger is out.
post #51 of 135
Quote:
Originally posted by DaveLee
Apparently not quite that bad...

Color me impressed if it is indeed some 30 Watts at the clock rates (4+ GHz) talked about and for a 90 nm chip. But overall it doesn't make sense for a 234 million transistor chip clocked at 4+ GHz to consume 30 Watts in "typical" usage. I pretty much refuse to believe it unless it can be shown why it is so low.

This is the 90 nm Cell we're talking about or the 65 nm?
post #52 of 135
Quote:
Originally posted by THT
Color me impressed if it is indeed some 30 Watts at the clock rates (4+ GHz) talked about and for a 90 nm chip. But overall it doesn't make sense for a 234 million transistor chip clocked at 4+ GHz to consume 30 Watts in "typical" usage. I pretty much refuse to believe it unless it can be shown why it is so low.

This is the 90 nm Cell we're talking about or the 65 nm?

I presumed the final 65nm version.

Don't forget that this chip WILL have to ship in a box that can probably only be (at its biggest) about the same size as the original PS2. Console buyers do make judgements based on size (The Japanese Xbox controllers spring to mind).

[Edit: And if they are putting them in HDTVs anytime soon, they cannot run that hot]
post #53 of 135
Quote:
Originally posted by Smircle
It is yet too early to tell, but Cell does not seem a suitable general-purpose-CPU to me.

It's general purpose enough for IBM to plan a release of a Cell-based workstation later this year, however.

http://www.macsimumnews.com/index.php/archive/2690/
post #54 of 135
Quote:
Originally posted by mdriftmeyer
This has nothing to do with Apple. There are several compelling reasons why Apple uses GCC. Most people don't know that the modified version of GCC Apple uses has various optimizations for ObjC and ObjC++, not to mention Apple will contribute ObjC++ to GCC once Tiger is out.

Thank you for the response, I still can't find the links to the article I read.

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.
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post #55 of 135
Quote:
Originally posted by Dave J
It's general purpose enough for IBM to plan a release of a Cell-based workstation later this year, however.

http://www.macsimumnews.com/index.php/archive/2690/

Yes but what kind of workstation are we talking about? It seems to me that you should be able to kill on scientific computing, and calculations on one of these like no other, but that could still make it a very limited machine in short term. I don't think a full strength GUI OS like Mac OS, or Windows would run under it. Not to mention all the apps that go with them.
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post #56 of 135
http://arstechnica.com/articles/paedia/cpu/cell-1.ars

Arstechnica has a first look

More in next days...
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post #57 of 135
Read in an article on CNET that Cell is about twice the physical size of a Pentium 4, and runs hotter. (according to IBM)
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post #58 of 135
Quote:
Originally posted by Smircle
It is yet too early to tell, but Cell does not seem a suitable general-purpose-CPU to me.

It's general purpose enough for IBM to plan a release of a Cell-based workstation later this year, however.

http://www.macsimumnews.com/index.php/archive/2690/
post #59 of 135
I found the thread, it was spawned by Nr9, called "PowerBook G5".

I found a response by Amorph interesting.

Quote:
Originally posted by Amorph 11-16-2003 11:00 PM _ _ _ _ _ _
_
OK, let's step back and look at this. If it helps, don't think of it as a PowerBook, just an engineering exercize.

By itself, the 440 series is nothing to write home about. 4 of them, however, with four AltiVec units and FPUs, offer some real potential. They're very low power. The purpose of the MCM design is to get really high throughput between the chips in the module, so bandwidth and latency within the MCMs should be very high and very low, respectively. This is critical for clustering / massive SMP.

Now, consider the independent source that offered that IBM and Apple were developing a portable CPU from the 300 series, not the 900 series. What's the 300 series? That's a good question, but if IBM's naming conventions hold, the chips in its family resemble the 400 series more than they resemble the 900 series.

Consider also that IBM is currently building a supercomputer out of PowerPC 440s that will utterly crush the current #1.

Consider Cell, the IBM project to build a platform on massively parallel solutions for the first time (massive parallelism is nothing new, but each implementation has been a custom job with custom code, not really a platform). The above-mentioned supercomputer will be made of 128 nodes, each with 1,024 CPUs.

Now, we're talking about 4 cores, 4 AltiVec units, previously unheard-of bandwidth and latency between CPUs (on MCMs) - all requiring maybe 8 watts? They can easily grow into a 64-bit variant, since the PowerPC spec is natively 64 bit.

This is a highly unconventional platform for a personal computer, but I feel compelled to point something out that I haven't in a while: The only remaining champion of the traditional personal computer architecture is Intel. Everyone else is taking advantage of technologies like HyperTransport that allow for workstation-like motherboard designs at PC prices. These architectures are built around lots of bandwidth, which deƫmphasizes the need for one single powerful CPU. OS X can already do MP. Apple is already working on software for clustering. You can run this setup as a small cluster with wonderful gobs of bandwidth and negligible latency, and it will run very well indeed.

This, to me, is a far more interesting rumor than the 970 was - the 970 was exciting, and more than welcome, but it's fundamentally conventional: Big, fast, hot. This sort of 440-based board is one of the mammals scurrying around under the feet of the mighty dinosaurs.

As to whether the PowerBook is ready for this, that's an interesting question. Multiple low-power processors are better at doing multiple tasks at once than they are at doing one big task (unless of course that big task is split up into lots of little ones behind the scenes) - c.f. the dual-processor iPod. So, if you can imagine something that will need to run some fairly compute-intensive services regularly while maintaining a responsive interface and doing light-to-medium work, that would do nicely. (OS X is already moving this way, using the GPU to run QE, and that's only the beginning of what they could do.) The main obstacle here is the programming paradigm implied by this architecture, which most current software (and most current languages) are ill-suited to. This might have the raw theoretical power to replace a single fast CPU, but it might be a while before software that can exploit it is widespread.

reading through some of the thread, there are differences between what Nr9 was saying, but there are striking similarities.

another quote
Quote:
Originally posted by Nr9 11-17-2003 12:23 AM _ _ _ _ _
_

this computer doesnt need redesign of core

the 440 is modular

it has an auxiliary core port

this auxiliary core is bigger than the current 440 FPU and it has altivec

the whole motherboard is based on SOC

it is similar in design to Blue Gene Compute Card except it has reduced L3 cache and SO-DIMM slot for up to 2GB DDR

"the 440 is modular" confused with the SPE??
"this core is bigger than the current 440 FPU and it has altivec" the PPE?
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post #60 of 135
Quote:
Originally posted by Dave J
It's general purpose enough for IBM to plan a release of a Cell-based workstation later this year, however.

http://www.macsimumnews.com/index.php/archive/2690/

Yes but what kind of workstation are we talking about? It seems to me that you should be able to kill on scientific computing, and calculations on one of these like no other, but that could still make it a very limited machine in short term. I don't think a full strength GUI OS like Mac OS, or Windows would run under it. Not to mention all the apps that go with them.
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post #61 of 135
This PPC440 speculation is just nonsense. IBM has sold off those assets and this new core is an unrelated design which, if based on anything, is based on POWER5 technology. Superficial dispatch details aside, the execution units, lower power design, SMT, cache heirarchy, and long pipelines are all very similar to POWER5 not 440. And the SPEs in the Cell are completely new and not at all Power or PowerPC... yet they are far closer to the new Power core in nature than to the 440.


Quote:
Originally posted by onlooker
Yes but what kind of workstation are we talking about? It seems to me that you should be able to kill on scientific computing, and calculations on one of these like no other, but that could still make it a very limited machine in short term. I don't think a full strength GUI OS like Mac OS, or Windows would run under it. Not to mention all the apps that go with them.

Considering that its Power core is plenty fast enough for most non-media oriented tasks (at 4 GHz and >10x the memory bandwidth, it'll beat any existing G4 and probably many existing G5s), and on any scientific/media problems the Cell will kill anything out there, it ought to make a fine workstation. Any complaints about Quartz2D being slow ought to be completely gone if they ship a Cell-based Mac.


How this fits in with the clock rate "wall" that Nr9 was putting forward is interesting. I've held that Nr9 was too literal in stating that there is a hard limit -- what makes more sense is that we've hit a point where a given design can't be easily scaled but new designs can win by specializing. This Cell chip is an example of that: by going with heavily pipelined, modular but simple core designs they've managed to jack up the clock rate. IBM's 970 and Intel's Pentium4 are most likely limited by their complex decode and OoOE circuits, not to mention Intel's double rate ALUs. The Cell design throws away everything that is complex and stretches out the pipelines to the max. The result is a chip hugely optimized for bandwidth and throughput, but which doesn't significantly (if at all) improve on the performance of general code. Even at 4 GHz I doubt the Cell's Power core will best a 2 - 2.5 GHz 970FX on "normal" code. Look at what it and its SPEs do with properly optimized vector code, however, and it'll beat pretty much anything around today (or on the x86 / PPC roadmaps)... by a significant margin.
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post #62 of 135
Bah, Nr9 was a knucklehead then and still is. 440 designs were, as Programmer has stated, sold off. Yep, quad 440 cores just ain't gonna see the light of day. That was then (and a load of crap back then) this is now.
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post #63 of 135
Quote:
Originally posted by Programmer
This PPC440 speculation is just nonsense...

I agree. However, some points, especially brought out by Amorph seem close to what the Cell is described as.

Quote:
Nr9
"it is a 32 bit processor it will ship next year"

Cell is 64 bit, big miss here. Nr9 also missed on the speed, cache and numerous other points.
Quote:
Nr9
"There are 4 cores so it not slow"

Not 4 cores but one PPE and 8 SPE's.
Quote:
Nr9
"it has a 440 core, a 440 FPU core, and an altivec core as one processor"
"it has an auxiliary core port
this auxiliary core is bigger than the current 440 FPU and it has altivec"

Nr9 backtracked here, but ended up saying a bigger core. Cell doesn't have what he calls an auxillary core, but the PPE is bigger than the current 440 and does have altivec.
Quote:
Nr9
"that is only 1 core though, no FPU and altivec.
however it is 1 Watt at 0.15 micron
but its also slow at 400Mhz"

SPE's have no FPU,??, but are SIMD(although not Altivec). Speed is way off though.
Quote:
Amorph
"Now, we're talking about 4 cores, 4 AltiVec units, previously unheard-of bandwidth and latency between CPUs (on MCMs) - all requiring maybe 8 watts? They can easily grow into a 64-bit variant, since the PowerPC spec is natively 64 bit."

Unheard of bandwidth fits the Cell.

I'm not saying that Nr9 knew what was going to appear "next year"(re: 2004), because obviously it didn't. But he may have heard some 2nd/3rd/4th hand information about prototypes of Cell-like cpu's under evaluation. And quite a bit of the information was garbled.

Anyway, it is interesting that the same software issues that many were debating, the suitability of this architecture in general purpose or desktop use, back then is resurfacing now. However, now we have both Sony and IBM claiming workstations based on Cell will be built.
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post #64 of 135
Quote:
Originally posted by rickag
I'm not saying that Nr9 knew what was going to appear "next year"(re: 2004), because obviously it didn't. But he may have heard some 2nd/3rd/4th hand information about prototypes of Cell-like cpu's under evaluation. And quite a bit of the information was garbled.

I wouldn't bother putting credence in anything he said. The only thing remotely interesting was the clock rate discussion, and in that he was far to extreme.

Quote:
Anyway, it is interesting that the same software issues that many were debating, the suitability of this architecture in general purpose or desktop use, back then is resurfacing now. However, now we have both Sony and IBM claiming workstations based on Cell will be built. [/B]

The reason these things "resurface" is because they are naturally recurring themes. The direction all microprocessors are going is multi-core (even the ultimate uber-core: IA-64), and you can only benefit so much from a purely symmetrical arrangement on one chip, ergo you build a chip design with specialized cores. The next questions are immediately what does the software look like and where can I use it?


If you want to talk about interesting things written in the past, go read IBM research papers published over the last 10 years on this general subject. There were plenty of clues that lead directly here, and some things which point to the future.
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post #65 of 135
Quote:
Originally posted by onlooker
Yes but what kind of workstation are we talking about? It seems to me that you should be able to kill on scientific computing, and calculations on one of these like no other, but that could still make it a very limited machine in short term. I don't think a full strength GUI OS like Mac OS, or Windows would run under it. Not to mention all the apps that go with them.

You are probably correct with the first gen Cell. But how hard can it be for IBM to modify the PPE to adapt it to the platform desired? Won't there eventually be several flavors?
post #66 of 135
Quote:
Originally posted by Programmer

. . . Look at what it and its SPEs do with properly optimized vector code, however, and it'll beat pretty much anything around today (or on the x86 / PPC roadmaps)... by a significant margin.


Thank you for clearing up many issues about the cell, in this and your other posts too. It sounds like simplification of the main PPC core was a good trade-off, based on realities of the smaller 90 and 65 nm processes. The one issue not covered, or I may have missed it, is what about the FPU? From what I have read so far, my best guess is that a Cell chip does not have one, as we know it from the G5. Floating point operations are done by the SPE cores. Is this true?

This raises the software issue. How much is involved in going with a Cell based Mac? It sounds like floating point operations in existing applications would be handles like they are on a G3. Floating point would be slow. Once applications are updated, however, floating point operations should fly.

If all these things are true, I see no reason whatsoever for not going with the cell as soon as possible in all Macs. No?
post #67 of 135
Quote:
Originally posted by Dave J
You are probably correct with the first gen Cell. But how hard can it be for IBM to modify the PPE to adapt it to the platform desired? Won't there eventually be several flavors?

I have no doubts that within the next few years cell processors will be what everyone is talking about. But this prototype has shown at the least proof of concept, which is exactly what I think its supposed to do. Although I don't think this particular design (the prototype) will be the exact design to go in the playstation3, or anything else. Unless they took it as far as the playstaton prototype processor already, but I did not read that, (or forgot it) and I would have thought they would have said it. (stressed it actually)
I think this design is a middle of the road design with a fork, designed to show two things (2 mass markets potentials), Actually 3 including the playstation, but that goes without saying. By that (middle of the road with a fork) I mean that it's showing this design can potentially be used for personal computing if taken further down that path, and it is also a stellar processor for future appliances. By that I'm not saying, or referring to your refrigerator freezer, washer, and dryer but it could. And will probably be the processor of choice for those appliances. One processor with multiple cores could control the majority of your future home interacting with an OS in your refrigerator, another in your washer, and dryer, as you have probably seen on tv, But without the need for all these appliances to be made by the same manufacturer to communicate with one another, or running under a ".net", or GE, or some other Microsoft "wanna rule the world, and everything you have" control system because it can "support multiple operating systems and programming models through the use of virtualization technologies"
No doubt this is in many ways part of the future, and a new digital lifestyle.
But it's not immediately going to be in any Mac's right away.
Although with these appliances, and the cell processor design as a centerpiece, any home PC network under any OS using any type of processor be it IBM, intel, AND Texas instruments, (anything) should be able to communicate with your home through your car, phone, computer, data pad, whatever without the need to have Microsoft, Bill Gates/Josef Stalin, or some other control freak who wants to be in charge of your entire life to use it.
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post #68 of 135
Quote:
Originally posted by onlooker
. . . this prototype has shown at the least proof of concept, which is exactly what I think its supposed to do.


Contraire. This chip will be manufactured in several months. A few minor tweaks to the design is the most that would happen now. The big step will be getting it working on the 65 nm process.
post #69 of 135
OK, finally made time to pull up the story I referred to from CNet..here is a key portion:

Quote:
Still, whether the chip will be able to enter different markets is another question that hinges on factors such as:

Size: Cell contains 234 million transistors and takes up 221 square millimeters in the 90-nanometer production process. That's about double the size of the 90-nanometer 3.6GHz Pentium 4, with 112 square millimeters and 125 million transistors.

Why invite your rival to your top-secret design meetings?


Big chips cost more to produce, can hide more bugs and can be tough to cram into portable devices. Cell will get cheaper when it goes to 65-nanometer production, but so will the alternatives.

Cost: Remember liquid crystal on silicon (LCOS)? The chip that would bring down the price of big-screen TVs? Intel and Brilliant Technologies failed at it. JVC and Sony succeeded. However, the latter two companies sell their LCOS chips to their own television units. The cost of the chip gets absorbed into the TV set.

Sony, Toshiba and IBM don't have to worry about the cost of Cell because they will sell it to themselves. It becomes part of a product that is tagged at a slightly higher price. An expensive Cell, however, will be a tough sell to any other manufacturers.

Alliances: Consumer electronics companies won't want to buy a processor from Sony and Toshiba. Similarly, not a lot of server manufacturers will line up to buy a Cell server chip from IBM. Why invite your rival to your top-secret design meetings?

Power: Cell will have to be air-cooled, IBM said. In other words, fans will probably be required. Ever talk on a cell phone with a fan?

While IBM didn't disclose the exact heat statistics, some at ISSCC said it could run as hot as 130 watts, more than most desktop and notebook chips. If Cell is in this range, kids will really be huddled around the PlayStation 3 at Christmas--for warmth.

On the cool engineering side, however, the chip will come with 10 digital heat sensors to warn of problems and another sensor to regulate temperature.

Memory: Cell comes with an integrated memory controller for high-performance XDR memory from Rambus--which means that the current design works exclusively with this pricey stuff. Sony used an earlier version of Rambus memory in the PlayStation, but it's been a tough sell outside of consumer electronics.

Cell is an outstanding achievement. But we have to wait and see whether it can get a job from someone other than its parents.
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post #70 of 135
Quote:
Originally posted by iPoster
OK, finally made time to pull up the story I referred to from CNet..here is a key portion:

Sour grapes?
post #71 of 135
Quote:
Originally posted by snoopy
Sour grapes?

\
Heh, not really, just that Cell is still in the wait and see, laboratory stage. The press said great things about Itanium and Emotion Engine when they were announced, and where are they?

IF it does work as hoped, yes, it could be a smash hit for Apple, or whatever company uses it...
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post #72 of 135
Quote:
Originally posted by snoopy
Contraire. This chip will be manufactured in several months. A few minor tweaks to the design is the most that would happen now. The big step will be getting it working on the 65 nm process.

Contraire What? The only thing contrary is what your your saying. This only further backs up what I said. do you read the whole post, or do you snip little pieces, and dismantle them as if there were no other statements furthering the view of the original statement?

"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."

"The prototype wafer and chip shown Monday were built on a 90-nanometer process technology at IBM's manufacturing facility in East Fishkill, New York. Sony will also make some of the chips at its Nagasaki, Japan, fab this year, the companies said."

Sony is going to make some of the prototype chips, but for what? They say themselves it's not going into High Volume production until it's at 65 Nanometer. Which leads me to believe it's mainly being made for further, and final R&D for reduction, and inclusion for use in the Playstation3.

You do know that an exact translation of Contraire is Opposite don't you.
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post #73 of 135
I have a feeling Cell isnt all that its gonna be.

It may be big stuff today, but by the time it could become useful or usable in a desktop, we should be having dual core 970 at 3-4GHz, etc.

Cell seems to be good at specific tasks, not at a general CPU like a Pentium, AMD, or PowerPC.

Maybe Apple can use them in a future MacMini or something... or maybe as a co-processor of somekind to take care of massive data crunching (rendering, dara processing, etc)
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post #74 of 135
Quote:
Originally posted by onlooker
Contraire What? The only thing contrary is what your your saying. This only further backs up what I said. do you read the whole post, or do you snip little pieces, and dismantle them as if there were no other statements furthering the view of the original statement? . . .



Excuse me if I offended you. That was not my intention. I was simply disagreeing with your apparent assumption that this chip is a "proof of concept." Maybe it's partly a matter of words. In design engineering, proof of concept occurs very early in the life of a project. I believe the Cell project is at the "opposite" end of the time line, near final cleanup. (I do know the translation.) IBM and Sony are using this big and expensive Cell chips simply because nobody has 65 nm up and running reliably yet. It lets them complete the design before they have the final key component, and gives them a fast path project. There is a gamble here, betting that 65 nm will work out the way they think it will. At least that is my take on the thing. I did read your entire post but only wanted to comment on the single point that I quoted.
post #75 of 135
Quote:
Originally posted by iPoster
\
Heh, not really, just that Cell is still in the wait and see, laboratory stage.


Let's agree that we will disagree about what stage the project is in.


Quote:

The press said great things about Itanium and Emotion Engine when they were announced, and where are they? . . .


Yep, we shouldn't take the press seriously.
post #76 of 135
Re: The above quotes, I was trying to pull an interesting discussion out of a troll thread, since the thread refused to die.

What was bandied about in that thread has nothing to do with what IBM just rolled out. The PowerPC core in Cell is too different to compare directly to the current CPUs in Macs, but from 30,000 feet its performance should be comparable. Throw in the APUs and of course the whole equation changes.

Cell is not a cool CPU, and it will not get cooler going to 65nm. Apparently, the lower voltage, <4GHz variant draws 4W per APU, ie., 32 watts before you even get to the CPU or bus or cache. The higher voltage, >4GHz variant draws 11W per APU.

The particular CPU that was released is not a particularly clean or intuitive fit with Macs, mostly because of the oddball PPC. On the one hand, it could replace a G4 convincingly except for the wattage&mdash;and not coincidentally, the G4 is winding up in models where that's important. On the other hand, there is one crucial area, double-precision floating point, where the 970 looks to have the Cell PPC for lunch. A step backward in this performance metric, which is particularly important to a lot of professional and scientific customers, would not do. Cell might be able to make make up the lack of 64-bit FP capability in its PPC core with a lot of cores (4-6 Cells per machine, or variants with two PPC cores and 4 APUs?), but that's not an even tradeoff. It would have to be designed carefully and measured carefully.

That leaves: Apple putting Cell in a new class of machine (which I would not put past them at this point), or Apple putting a different variation of the Cell chip into an existing machine, or (for completeness' sake) Apple putting a different variant of Cell into a new class of machine. I like what I see of Cell, very much, but I can't fit it neatly into any of Apple's existing hardware lines. The iMac and the PowerBook would be "leading" candidates, as would the mini if Apple decides to play up the HTPC angle.
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post #77 of 135
Quote:
Originally posted by Amorph

That leaves: Apple putting Cell in a new class of machine (which I would not put past them at this point), or Apple putting a different variation of the Cell chip into an existing machine, or (for completeness' sake) Apple putting a different variant of Cell into a new class of machine. I like what I see of Cell, very much, but I can't fit it neatly into any of Apple's existing hardware lines. The iMac and the PowerBook would be "leading" candidates, as would the mini if Apple decides to play up the HTPC angle.

I could see Apple using this chip to compliment the 9XX processors. I could see Apple using this chip in a video board. I could also see Apple using something like this for scientific or heavy math work. I could also see Apple being interested in this from a design concept in that Apple may want IBM to make a similar chip using VMX units. The problem would be feeding the beast. A similar chip with 4 VMX cores would a great help for code that relies heavily on vector calcs. I guess I see this chip or something like it as a great support chip, while staying with the 9XX series because the cost of moving the code base to Cell. I see Apple easing into that water not jumping in. Maybe a Cell processor will be in an Apple machine soon 2006, but in the role of video accelerator, or math/heavy calculation support if the market is there.
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post #78 of 135
Quote:
Originally posted by iPoster
\
Heh, not really, just that Cell is still in the wait and see, laboratory stage. The press said great things about Itanium and Emotion Engine when they were announced, and where are they?



Where is the Emotion Engine?

The Emotion Engine went on to power 80+ million PS2s and has since grown up and now goes by the name Cell...
post #79 of 135
Quote:
Originally posted by Tuttle


Where is the Emotion Engine?

The Emotion Engine went on to power 80+ million PS2s and has since grown up and now goes by the name Cell...

True, I have one of those 80 million sitting under my TV; I meant it never made it into any other applications, and cell is not likely to either, for reasons already mentioned in this thread. (see Amorph's post)
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post #80 of 135
Quote:
Originally posted by iPoster
True, I have one of those 80 million sitting under my TV; I meant it never made it into any other applications, and cell is not likely to either, for reasons already mentioned in this thread. (see Animorph's post)

Sony, IBM, and Toshiba have wide-ranging plans for Cell, from the smallest to largest scale of computing products.
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