Linked by Eugenia Loli on Tue 31st Oct 2006 02:32 UTC, submitted by nstanosheck
Linux "With our operating system, the Playstation could very easily be your home CD player, DVD player, MP3 player and home computer, as well as a great game box," said Terra Soft CEO Kai Staats of the PS3, "This is not an application-limited appliance, this is a full-blown computer. There is no issue of ‘can it do this or that?' It can do everything." More here.
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To say that the cell is "based" on POWER4/PPC 970 is a bit misleading. While the design impliments the Power4/PPC 970 instruction set (which is to say 64bit PPC) the implimentation shares little if anything with the PPC970 or existing POWER4 implimentations.

The design that the PPE *does* impliment, is very similar, if not identical, to the PPC cores used in the Xbox 360's 3-core 'Xenon' CPU, and stems from earlier research IBM had done regarding the implimentation of the PPC architecture in comparatively little silicon. A distinguishing feature that all 3 of these designs share is the unique dual-thread implimentation, where-by one thread executes until it is stalled or pre-empted, at which point the other thread is executed until it is stalled or pre-empted. There is no Out-Of-Order execution either, which is a predominant feature of the super-scaler Power4 and PPC 970 designs.

Developers, speaking on the performance of the Xenon CPU, have been quoted comparing a single Xenon core (AKA PPE in the Cell) as being roughly twice as powerful as the original Xbox's 733Mhz PIII-based Celeron. So, as far as general purpose computing goes, if a task is unable to leverage the SPEs, performance will be comparable to a 1.5-1.8 ghz PIII, albeit 64bit.

Whether or not this is enough general-purpose computing power remains to be seen, but most tasks I can think of that fall purely into the "general purpose" computing catagory (Word Processing, Web Browsing, Email, compilation, etc) should have enough juice to get by. I'm a little more concerned with whether or not it's enough juice to keep the SPE's fed, while maintaining game logic in PS3 games. Much like how pairing a very fast GPU with a slow CPU in a computer fails to wield the GPU to its fullest potential, I wonder if the same may be true of the SPUs in the future.

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