IBM, Sony Corp., the Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. and Toshiba Corp. on Monday released more details on the jointly developed Cell microprocessor, which the companies claim is a "supercomputer on a chip" that's made to handle demanding digital media and computer graphics. Details on the new processor, which is scheduled for production this year, were released at the International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco. The Cell features supercomputer-like floating-point performance with clock speeds greater than 4 GHz, according to the four companies.
The creators are billing the chip as the engine for multimedia and other applications that proponents hope will become the heart of what vendors call the "digital home," a network of computers and devices that can share music, pictures, video and data. Development of the Cell started in March 2001at a joint design center in Austin, Texas. The prototype chip is 221 mm, integrates 234 million transistors and is fabricated with 90-nanometer silicon-on-insulator technology.