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The original 90nm Cell/B.E. package as found in the PlayStation 3  (Source: DailyTech)
PlayStation 3 CPU soon smaller, cooler, cheaper

In the continuing effort to advance production of the Cell Broadband Engine, IBM revealed yesterday at the International Solid State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) in San Francisco plans to migrate the processor to the 45nm high-k process.

The Cell Broadband Engine chip currently found in the latest PlayStation 3 hardware is manufactured on IBM’s 65nm SOI process, which was quietly introduced into the market with the 40GB PS3. The power consumption drop from the original launch model, which used a 90nm Cell/B.E., to the 40GB model made users take notice of the shift in manufacturing process.

The further shrink of the Cell/B.E. to 45nm will reduce power consumption by another 40 percent and die size by 34 percent, helping to cut costs. Current analyst estimates put the cost of manufacture per PlayStation 3 console at around $400, close to the MSRP of the entry-level 40GB console.

Even with the shift to 45nm, Sony may not immediately pass the cost savings onto the consumer. The PlayStation division finally turned a profit for the first time since the PS3 debut, a trend the company likely wishes to continue. In the long run, however, cheaper components pave the way for eventual price drops.

The upcoming 45nm Cell/B.E. benefits not only the PlayStation 3, as the chip in also used IBM Blade servers for industrial applications, such as medical imaging. Toshiba has also adapted the Cell/B.E. technology, which it calls the SpursEngine, for mobile graphical applications.

According to Ars Technica, IBM’s effort in shrinking the Cell/B.E. is done solely with Sony in mind. As the PlayStation 3 is the largest application of Cell/B.E. technology, IBM apparently tailored the smaller chip for cooler and cheaper consoles, rather than for increased performance and functionality. Such is hinted at an IBM document, stating, “To guarantee the proper operation of existing gaming software, the exact cycle-by-cycle machine behavior, including operating frequency, must be preserved.”

Such considerations for Sony by its partners are important for the console maker, as the company itself is getting out of the chip business. On April 1, Sony will be officially handing over control of Cell/B.E. manufacturing facilities to Toshiba. Sony also stated that it will cease R&D efforts on future 32nm chip processes, though it will remain active with Toshiba and IBM on future iterations of the Cell/B.E.

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RE: great news
By hlper on 2/7/2008 7:58:43 PM , Rating: 4
Actually, I have wondered the same thing. Does the owner of the PS3 derive any benefit or pleasure from folding at home? Clearly a lot of people do it, but what exactly is the draw?

RE: great news
By someguy123 on 2/7/2008 8:16:23 PM , Rating: 5
it's to help a Standford group simulate protein folding in order to better understand it and use that knowledge to hopefully cure certain diseases. it's not really for personal gain unless of course you have a disease that could be cured with such knowledge.

RE: great news
By geddarkstorm on 2/7/2008 9:17:40 PM , Rating: 5
People can be altruistic, can't they? You don't have to do everything for personal gain and immediate pleasure; at least that's the theoretical gift that "reason" and "sentience" gives us, not that people have to act any different than what primal instincts compel, it seems.

It's basically donation of CPU cycles to science to further our understanding of the world, and thus our species as a whole.

RE: great news
By AlphaVirus on 2/7/2008 10:55:40 PM , Rating: 3
I have found that asside from helping Stanford, it is a great music player. I can tell you from first hand the wife loves it.
With the PS3 you can rip all of your music from cds or directly from your PC. I only have about 10 cds on it so far but I still have about 50GB remaining on the 80GB. With Folding@Home you can play music while it folds and you can choose what kind of music you want to play. I always leave it on Recommended because it plays music based on the time of day.

Trust me when I say this, around 9pm turn on Folding and just lay with your spouse, all the RIGHT songs will come on. If not for intercourse, she/he will appreciate you setting everything up to spend time with them.

Remember, when a gaming console brings a family closer together its a win-win situation.

RE: great news
By BruceLeet on 2/8/2008 1:40:10 AM , Rating: 1

RE: great news
By feraltoad on 2/8/2008 4:45:44 AM , Rating: 2
When the Night Fever has begun, we don't have to fold it

That is by far one of the more bizarre posts I've read on DT. Now for some Binary Haiku.

RE: great news
By tastyratz on 2/8/2008 9:17:00 AM , Rating: 2
I think you are a mythical creature. Your like the toothfairy. Getting laid because you leave your playstation on is probably every high school students wet dream.
Knowing my luck my fiance probably be next to me at that moment and deathmetal starts up.
f@h is a great cause and I think its great they have it on the ps3. Maybe most people wont use it but having it right there in the menu makes it possible.

RE: great news
By AlphaVirus on 2/8/2008 9:36:09 AM , Rating: 2
I think you are a mythical creature. Your like the toothfairy. Getting laid because you leave your playstation on is probably every high school students wet dream.

Uhm, what?

I was simply stating that not only can you do the Folding but instead of having to create a playlist or put on a cd and skip through tracks or hoping the radio has good love songs on, you can just let F@H do the work for you.

Do you understand now?

Knowing my luck my fiance probably be next to me at that moment and deathmetal starts up.

Fool, read and perhaps you would not have to make nonsense comments. Depending on the time of day it plays certain songs. The reason I said 9pm is because it knows that is night time and it will start to play the slow/love/r&b type of songs. Now if you have ONLY deathmetal on your PS3 then of course thats what will play, but if you have music that soothes then you have yourself a winner.

And trust me, once you actually let her know how smart the PS3 is she will want to know more about it. Of course that only applies if you dont have a gamer chick like me. I try to find several ways to get her interested in video games.

RE: great news
By psychobriggsy on 2/8/2008 11:00:10 AM , Rating: 2
The reason I said 9pm is because it knows that is night time and it will start to play the slow/love/r&b type of songs.

I hope this is configurable, because whilst I have gentle music, at that time I really need to listen to harsh industrial noise.

Soft music is for saturday afternoons. Does it have that option?

Maybe the playlist method is best after all.

RE: great news
By PAPutzback on 2/8/2008 11:54:58 AM , Rating: 2
M TIVO Thinks I am gay.

Seriously. What if you and your buddies are playing Texas Hold'em at 9 o'clock and the PS3 thinks it is time to play sheet music. Creepy. I prefer Ratt over Barry White when I am looking for a flush.

"Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine." -- Bill Gates

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