Sony Unveils PlayStation 3 Processor

For some time now, Sony has touted its upcoming Cell Processor, which will power the next PlayStation, but details about the chip have been sparse. At a microprocessor industry conference last week, the company, along with its chip development partners IBM and Toshiba, disclosed some key details of the next-generation chip. The Cell features supercomputer-like floating-point performance and supports 4GHz and faster clock speeds. The chip, which the companies created with entertainment and rich media in mind, has been in development since March 2001. According to IBM, Sony, and Toshiba, the chip can perform up to 10 times as many instructions as most recent PC processors can, although upcoming multicore CPUs from AMD and Intel should quickly close that gap. The chip's architectural design includes eight synergistic processors. The Cell is OS neutral and supports multiple OSs simultaneously, which will make it fairly easy for the chip to show up in a variety of devices. The companies plan to use the chip in devices ranging from the next PlayStation to graphic workstations to high-end TVs. We don't expect to see the Cell show up on desktop PCs any time soon, but it will certainly help make next-generation video games and entertainment devices a lot more interesting

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