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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 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.

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