Sunday, November 28, 2004

IBM, Sony and Toshiba Unveil Cell Processor

IBM, Sony and Toshiba unveiled some of the key concepts of their jointly developed advanced microprocessor, code-named Cell, which is aimed at next-generation computing applications and digital consumer electronics.

Cell is a multicore chip comprising a 64-bit Power processor core and multiple synergistic processor cores capable of massive floating point processing. The device is optimized for compute-intensive workloads and broadband rich media applications, including computer entertainment, movies and other forms of digital content. It will feature supports for multiple operating systems, and offer substantial bus bandwidth to/from main memory, as well as companion chips. The Cell processor will be implemented in 90 nanometer (nm) silicon-on-insulator (SOI) technology.

IBM plans to offer a Cell processor-based workstation it is developing with SCEI. Sony expects to launch home servers for broadband content as well as high-definition television (HDTV) systems powered by Cell in 2006. Sony Computer Entertainment also expects to launch its next generation computer entertainment system powered by Cell. Toshiba Corporation envisions diverse applications for Cell and expects to launch its first Cell-based product, a high-definition television (HDTV), in 2006.

Design work is taking place at a joint development lab the three companies established in Austin, Texas, after the project was announced in 2001. IBM plans to begin pilot production of Cell microprocessors at its 300mm wafer fabrication facility in East Fishkill, NY during the first half of 2005.

"Massive and rich content, like multi-channel high-definition broadcast programs, as well as megapixel digital still and movie images captured by high-resolution CCD/CMOS imagers, require a huge amount of media processing in real-time. In the future, this digital content will fuse and converge on the broadband network, and start to explode," said Ken Kutaragi, executive deputy president and COO, Sony Corporation, and president and Group CEO, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.


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