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Some details about the new console Sony PlayStation3
As you know, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCE) recently unveiled its next generation PlayStation 3 game console. The press release distributed by the company contained detailed technical data, a close analysis of which could raise several questions from the meticulous reader.
First, the CPU frequency is 3.2 GHz. At the same time, it is known that the Cell processor used in the console can operate at a higher frequency. We already wrote in February this year about how at the ISSCC 2021 conference, representatives of Sony and Toshiba indicated that the frequency of mass-produced processors will be 4 GHz or more. It can be assumed that the lower frequency of 3.2 GHz was chosen based on considerations of reducing the cost of the set-top box and power consumption (and, therefore, mitigating the problem of heat dissipation from the compact body of the console).
The second technical point that attracts attention is the reduction of the number of processing elements (SPE), of which the chip is built, from eight to seven. Recall that the Cell architecture includes processing elements focused on multimedia data processing. This is what provides the new product with impressive performance when solving the corresponding range of tasks. For example, in a recent demo, the processor was able to decode 48 SDTV streams in MPEG-2 format. Interestingly, the developers initially wanted to equip the Cell with six SPEs, but the number was increased to eight when Ken Kutaragi, SCE President and CEO of Sony Group, insisted on using the number 8, justifying his desire for “aesthetic considerations.”. You see a prototype variant with eight SPEs in the illustration.
As a Sony spokesman explained, the decrease in the number of SPEs is due to the desire to reduce production costs. In addition, optimally loading eight processor elements is a non-trivial task in itself, so reducing the number of SPEs by one will not be noticeable on the overall performance of the console.