I watched an E3 video on the PS3. It has been a long time since I have been so impressed. The Cell processor looks awesome. I wonder how long it will take desktop CPUs to catch up to it.

Have any of you seen the video or any of the preview movies of the games?

11 Years
Discussion Span
Last Post by vangraan

I haven't heard much about the cell processors that really impresses me. Most of what I have heard is media hype which, to me, means that there really isn't anything to be that concerned about. Usually, the really spectacular innovations go unnoticed because it no can truely understand how great it truely is. Maybe I've just been reading the wrong press though. What have you read that makes you excited about it?


First of all the specs on the CPU much more advanced that any desktop CPU that is currently on the market or that will hit the market in the next year or so.

The Cell has a total floating point performance of 218 GFLOPS.

Where I saw it was on the E3 conference video. It is about 1.5 hours in running time and they show off all its capabilities. If you watch that video and you are not sold I don’t think anything will.


What you just said is basically all that I've been reading. You really didn't say anything. Essentially, you said, "It's new, it has big numbers, and they have cool videos!" While that's all nice and cool, it really doesn't say how it will make a difference on real-time gaming.

First off, every time new chips are released, they are extremely more advanced than the previous generation of chips. This happens so often, that most people yawn at the newest processor releases (just think about the public's reaction to space shuttle launches; it's amazing that it's even possible, but not many care anymore). Sometimes this means substantial improvements in performance, but most of the time, it means an incremental step forward.

Do you know what a gigaflops is? While it may be true that the PS3 can attain 218 GFLOPS, that really doesn't mean anything in terms of performance. A good analogy for this fact is the difference between current Intel and AMD CPUs. AMD's processor designs allow for more performance per CPU cycle in comparison to Intel chips. So, you wouldn't judge a chip's performance based upon it's GFLOPS rating just as you wouldn't judge a chip's performance based upon it's clock speed. If I saw tangible performance measures, that would be meaningful. If I saw a measurement of how many texturing, rendering, or bitmapping instructions per second the PS3 system is capable of, that would be closer to being meaningful but would still not qualify as a benchmark. So, don't fall for the marketing hype. Saying "218 GFLOPS!" is the equivalent of saying "200% better!". It very well may be 200% better, but unless they tell you what it's 200% better than, you can't verify this information.

You should never see a video and expect the final product to look just like it. While it's very possible that the system actually did generate the video in real-time, most of these videos are produced using perfect conditions that allow for highly-detailed, quickly-rendered scenes. Remember what videos were shown for the XBox 360? While I would say that the final product produces some very impressive graphics, the images that I see on the XBox 360 are nothing compared to the teaser images and videos that I had seen.

Oh... Just a little tidbit of information that not many people realize or talk about. The Cell processor is just a fancy maketing name for the chip designed by Sony, Toshiba, and IBM. The basic concepts used in the Cell processor are not new, in fact, they are nearly fifty years old. The Cell processor will use a technique called Vector Processing, which has been used in building supercomputer processors for decades. Don't read the word "supercomputer" and say, "Aha! I will have a game-playing supercomputer!". Supercomputers are built to do one thing and one thing only, crunch numbers. Supercomputers are used to do everything from simulate fision and fusion to forcast weather patterns to predict economic trends to model chemical reactions, but there is something that supercomputers don't do, play video games. What's my point here? My point is that Vector Processing has been shown to be very good at allowing supercomputers to do massive mathematical calculations, but they have not been proven to give any performance advantages to gaming or standard desktop applications.


Well posted!

Sometimes this means substantial improvements in performance, but most of the time, it means an incremental step forward.

I fully agree with this, and I also agree that the Floating Point alone means very little. But if you take a substantial improvement in performance of a current CPU and give it a floating point of 2.18 Gigaflops you will get a mean CPU.

Do you know what a gigaflops is?

Yes thanks for asking.

Like you said still all hype and very little solid proof is available. But the videos are enough proof for me that the Cell is much more advanced than anything currently available and enough reason for me to get very excited.

This topic has been dead for over six months. Start a new discussion instead.
Have something to contribute to this discussion? Please be thoughtful, detailed and courteous, and be sure to adhere to our posting rules.