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False Positives Adventures in Technology, SciFi and Culture from Toronto

Friday, January 21, 2005

MultiCore: Cell Architecture Explained

Via Slashdot and OS News, we have Nicholas Blachford's Cell Architecture Explained.

Based on new information gleaned from the 2005 Oct Patent No. 6,809,734 submited by Sony, Toshiba, and IBM, and a older patent in 2001.

Nicholas has done a deep think on the Cell, the sort of problems/applications will the Cell be good for (I didn't know that OS X is arealdy using the GPUs (Graphics Processor Units) in core proceessing, and why Cell may topple the PC (and is this why Transmeta is thinking of getting out of chip manufacturing?).

His (summarized) Conclusions:

The first Cell based desktop computer will be the fastest desktop computer in the industry by a very large margin. Even high end multi-core x86s will not get close. Companies who produce microprocessors or DSPs are going to have a very hard time fighting the power a Cell will deliver. ...

The sheer power and low cost of the Cell means it will present a challenge to the venerable PC. ...

Cell is going to turn the industry upside down, nobody has ever produced such a leap in performance in one go and certainly not at a low price. The CPU producers will be forced to fight back and irrespective of how well the Cell actually does in the market you can be sure that in a few short years all CPUs will be providing vastly more processing resources than they do today...

Not all companies will react correctly or in time, this will provide opportunities for newer, smaller and smarter companies. Big changes are coming, they may take years but the Cell means a decade from now the technology world is going to look very different.

Other referances are :PlayStation 3 chip goes easy on developers, IBM discloses details of chip,
Sony, IBM, and Toshiba reveal more plans for Cell chip, and New Patent Reveals Cell Secrets

More details of the Cell will be presented at the International Solid State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) in San Francisco in February (6th to 10th).

For More background see : Virtual Machine enabled large-scale parallelism, TANSTAAFL : The Concurrency Revolution and other info on MultiCore


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