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The Cell Broadband Engine in the PS3  (Source: DailyTech)
Sony ditches efforts on 32nm chip manufacturing

According to a Reuters report, Sony is pulling out of research efforts with Toshiba in developing manufacturing technology for 32nm chip production. Toshiba has not yet expressed its intentions going forward, but it’s expected that Toshiba will continue R&D without Sony.

The news follows last month’s breaking story that Sony will be selling the majority stake of its chip-making facilities to Toshiba. The agreement between the two Japanese electronics companies will establish a joint venture that will produce high-performance semiconductors, which not only includes the Cell Broadband Engine but also the RSX graphics engine.

Although Sony is ditching its R&D on chips, it did say that is currently working with Toshiba and IBM on producing a 32nm version of the Cell Broadband Engine. Sony likely realizes that it must keep some form of involvement in the advancement of the chips that power its PlayStation 3 console.

Every PlayStation 3 currently uses chips built on 90nm technology, and Sony plans to migrate its console over to 65nm chips sometime in early 2008.

Sony’s decision to abandon further investment in chip technologies is not surprising, given the company’s much publicized intentions of moving back its core business of selling televisions, cameras and other consumer electronics.

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Imagine 32 nm Cell...
By daftrok on 11/7/2007 3:54:49 PM , Rating: 2
On a PSP 2. That would be awesome!

RE: Imagine 32 nm Cell...
By sweetsauce on 11/7/2007 7:34:54 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah it would be awesome to have a handheld thats just as hard to develop for as a ps3... Should really help out all the small companies that create games for handhelds.

RE: Imagine 32 nm Cell...
By Timeless on 11/7/2007 8:21:48 PM , Rating: 2
Yes we can go ask Infinity Ward why Call of Duty 4 was so hard to develop on the PS3. Then how bout we stop by Insomniac and ask them how in the world they got Ratchet and Clank to look so good on the PS3 cause we all know what EA saids about the PS3...Please stop using the same old tired excuse.

RE: Imagine 32 nm Cell...
By Flunk on 11/7/2007 10:23:35 PM , Rating: 4
The truth is not an excuse and will never become tired. Are a you computer programmer? Do you specialize in creating console games? Does your opinion matter?

All three of the answers to these questions are the same I wager.

RE: Imagine 32 nm Cell...
By daftrok on 11/7/2007 11:04:08 PM , Rating: 2

RE: Imagine 32 nm Cell...
By Hase0 on 11/8/2007 1:34:45 PM , Rating: 3
Im a Computer Programmer, and using the excuse its to hard to program with is a poor excuse. I personally have to deal with stuff I have never been taught/shown before, but I still manage to get the job done. It is the responsibility of those companies to encourage their employees to constantly further develop their programming skill sets.

RE: Imagine 32 nm Cell...
By Timeless on 11/8/2007 6:16:28 PM , Rating: 2
The truth? How is blaming other people the truth? If something is hard, people usually work hard to get the job done. If we all stopped when something was hard, then we wouldn't have the technology we have today. A computer was hard to program for when it was first invent, but did that stop people from trying? To answer your other questions, I'm trying to become a computer programmer. So far I only manage to make small stuff , like a simple game of Pong. No I don't specialize in consoles. If my opinion doesn't matter, why the hell did you answer it?

RE: Imagine 32 nm Cell...
By laztmemory on 11/8/2007 6:20:43 PM , Rating: 2
Don't you just love the Anti Sony bias on this page when trash like Flunk get rated up...

RE: Imagine 32 nm Cell...
By Timeless on 11/8/2007 7:10:12 PM , Rating: 2
This is a waste of posting space...

RE: Imagine 32 nm Cell...
By MGSsancho on 11/8/2007 7:08:53 PM , Rating: 2
ratchet and clank didn't look that good. its really pixelated and has no AA. it was a fun game but in the zoom in shots, reminded me of stranglehold. what made the game look nice was its cartoony l0ook. like the Simpson's game

I thibnk this may be best for all involved...
By Hawkido on 11/7/2007 3:12:29 PM , Rating: 4
I believe that if Sony can keep itself out of semiconductor design and fab, then they will be more competitive. Semiconductor design is a huge money pit for all the half time players... the only ones that can truely profit in that pool are the dedicated 100% semiconductor design and fab companies. Very few hybrid companies can afford the research to remain competitive. Intel Spends how much annually to remain competitive? What was Sony's income for the last 12 months? How much of that was profit? Comeon Sony, just lease the technoology and make affordable (even if just barely) High Quality Consumer electronics again.

RE: I thibnk this may be best for all involved...
By afkrotch on 11/7/2007 4:23:54 PM , Rating: 2
Look at IBM. They do a hell of a lot more than just make processors and they make a lot of money.

Sony could profit on having it's own semiconductor design and fab, but they need a whole lot of ppl wanting to use what's coming out of the fab.

As of right now, very few products use the Cell. Once the cell starts being used in more CE products and servers, that would be a good point to jump back into fabbing.

By weskurtz0081 on 11/7/2007 11:40:45 PM , Rating: 2
As of right now, very few products use the Cell. Once the cell starts being used in more CE products and servers, that would be a good point to jump back into fabbing.

Umm... what consumer electronics are they going to be using that in other than the PS3? The demand for the product is way to small for Sony to justify trying to run a fab.

They won't need something like that in the TV's, DVD players, Camcorders, Digi Cams... etc.

Other than the PS3 and a few super computers... where will they get any justifiable demand for it?

By Calin on 11/8/2007 3:05:33 AM , Rating: 2
The R&D costs are huge for the newest manufacturing processes, and in the end, with more money you get there faster.
Sony could have its 32nm production researched, developed and installed, but it would need to build lots and lots of chips to recoup those costs. Like Intel is, and like AMD isn't (as of yet)

By eilersr on 11/8/2007 12:08:05 AM , Rating: 2
Excellent points.

To take it a step further: many of the full-time semi players can barely afford to do 45nm internal development, much less 32nm. Just look at all the companies going fab-lite or fab-less and/or entering cooperative research agreements to try to stay profitable.

Sorry Chips...
By kileil on 11/7/2007 3:03:28 PM , Rating: 4
... but I don't think we're right for each other. Its not you, its me. lets be friends. I'll call.

RE: Sorry Chips...
By Gnoad on 11/7/2007 3:49:43 PM , Rating: 2

With AMD failing...
By GreenyMP on 11/7/07, Rating: 0
RE: With AMD failing...
By afkrotch on 11/7/2007 4:25:41 PM , Rating: 2
Bad idea, as you know Sony will work with Toshiba to keep the best for themselves.

RE: With AMD failing...
By Polynikes on 11/7/2007 5:03:27 PM , Rating: 2
Toshiba stabbing Sony in the back like that? I doubt it. There's probably terms in the contract regarding this joint venture of theirs that explicitly prohibits them from doing such a thing.

RE: With AMD failing...
By theapparition on 11/8/2007 8:13:01 AM , Rating: 2
Toshiba stabbing Sony in the back like that? I doubt it. There's probably terms in the contract regarding this joint venture of theirs that explicitly prohibits them from doing such a thing.

What??? Nothing would make Sony/Toshiba happier. They would love to open up the market, which would also drive manufacturing costs lower, plus it would enable a similar platform for developement, something that is hampering Sony now. Plus it would increase revenue. The thought that it would kill PS3 sales if the Xbox had a cell in it is completely laughable.

The computer/electronics industry is so complicated, I love how everyone here thinks companies are mortal enemies, ready to fight to the death. That's not how it works, there is a level of professionalism and cooperation in the industry. If companies don't do this, they won't survive.

Sony uses plenty of Microsoft products, and resells them as well. Yes they compete on consoles and mp3 players, but not much else. They are partners on many ventures.

Sony and Toshiba co-developed Cell and are equal partners in the venture. Yet, they are fierce competitors on the next gen HD-DVD/BR battle.

Apple talked for years how the Motorola/IBM chip was superior to Intel's x86. Guess what happend?

GM and Toyota (hyped by the press as #1 & #2 competitors) actually have plenty of joint developement projects, and GM resells Toyota designs in certain markets and Toyota sells GM designs in Japan/Asia.

As much as all you fanboy's think companies hate one another, and are there solely to stick up for you, that's not how it works. Companies are in business to make money...period. If it makes financial sense to do business with a competitor, than that's what's going to happen.

Can't blame them for bailing
By Fnoob on 11/7/07, Rating: -1
RE: Can't blame them for bailing
By nerdye on 11/8/2007 2:16:39 AM , Rating: 4
I will be nice, as some other person will not be. You are correct in the fact that the ps3 has not surpassed the 360 in gaming performance despite apples to oranges comparisons of 7 cores to 3 cores repsectively. It also must be noted that all ps3's come equipped with 1 general purpose core and 6 spe cores to total 7, while xbox 360 is a triple general purpose core cpu.

Going downwards in "nm" in fabrication process is a good thing in all ways, size is not key in technology. 20 inch spinners may be cooler than 15 inch alloy wheals, but a 65nm/45nm/32nm cpu is physically "cooler" and better than a larger 90nm cpu, lol.

=) nerdye

RE: Can't blame them for bailing
By Fnoob on 11/13/2007 9:33:42 AM , Rating: 2
What I was referring to was the fact that Sony experienced massive production issues with the cell, including limited yields and units shipping with defective SPE's. I understand how shrinking a process allows for better cooling, reduced power, higher yields, etc. BUT, it is that last point I am a bit skeptical of - higher yields from a more intricate product? Critical tolerances even smaller? They will acheive better cooling and power consumption, but yields.... don't think so. Not until the process matures.

RE: Can't blame them for bailing
By MrPickins on 11/8/2007 1:36:33 PM , Rating: 1
Why is it the ignorant who always open their mouths the widest?

"If you can find a PS3 anywhere in North America that's been on shelves for more than five minutes, I'll give you 1,200 bucks for it." -- SCEA President Jack Tretton
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