All About Cell

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by keysersoze, Jan 21, 2005.

  1. keysersoze macrumors 68000

    keysersoze

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    #1
    This is a highly-informative site on Cell technology and architecture.

    http://www.blachford.info/computer/Cells/Cell0.html

    For those not interested in the details, here is a quote:

    "If over clocked sufficiently (over 3.0GHz) and using some very optimised code (SSE assembly), 5 dual core Opterons directly connected via HyperTransport should be able to achieve a similar level of performance in stream processing - as a single Cell.

    The PlayStation 3 is expected to have 4 Cells."

    :eek: :)
     
  2. mrgreen4242 macrumors 601

    mrgreen4242

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    #2
    My understanding of the cell is that the architecture would be extremely scalable. So while it is easy feasible that a single Cell could have as much power as 5 3ghz Opterons, it is also possible to make very low cost, and low power (in terms of electricity AND computing power) chips. Something that you could put in a TV to handle OSDs and whatnot.

    Maybe I misunderstood this, tho?

    Rob
     
  3. keysersoze thread starter macrumors 68000

    keysersoze

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    #3
    I think you are right on. Scalability and low cost will potentially have this technology make an unbelievable impact on most people's lives.
     
  4. Cfly macrumors regular

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    #4
    tomshardware.com says it is going to run at 4.6 ghz.

    on the front page news
     
  5. deputy_doofy macrumors 65816

    deputy_doofy

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    #5
    After browsing through that article, I can't help but wonder if Sony/Toshiba will cause a problem for Apple getting their hands on that chip. There's nothing in the article that suggests that, mind you, but they are 2 PC manufacturers that may want Apple out of the picture (finally).
    Paranoia aside, of course, this chip may very well help Apple if they decide to lose the "Altivec is the best ever" mentality. A Powerbook with a cell processor? Yup. I'd buy!!
     
  6. wdlove macrumors P6

    wdlove

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    #6
    The most important would be for Apple to adopt this technology via IBM. More importantly the Apple will use this technology in the Mac. What kind of time frame so we expect?
     
  7. edesignuk Moderator emeritus

    edesignuk

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    #7
    That just blows my mind :cool:
     
  8. maya macrumors 68040

    maya

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    #8
    Whoa, with this we can see a new iPod Video Cell, Mac mini Cell, iBook, PowerBook, iMac, PowerMac Cell. :eek:


    SuperComputer to Go anyone. ;) :)
     
  9. DarkNovaMatter macrumors member

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    Aug 3, 2001
    #9
    Funny article on some of his opinions ( cell will dominate this that and everything), hopefully sony does a good sdk with abilities to vectorize/parallelize as much code as possible. One thing I am wondering though is why are they using a nVidia gpu to do graphics if the cell is this powerful? So in simple terms all they did was a multi-core ppc chip with parallelity and vectorization to a new level. Considering the power and the ppc subset (both run ppc code as their native code set) - I wonder who did the vector core- if its IBM it might just be Altivec/VMX or even mostly compatible with Altivec/VMX. Thinking this would be what would of happened in a few years. The future is paralell and vector code, but its not exactly the easiest thing to do- this is why I hinted at the PS3 SDK having to be really good.

    "Paranoia aside, of course, this chip may very well help Apple if they decide to lose the "Altivec is the best ever" mentality" - Um, sort of hate to burst this idea- but the Cell takes vector and parallel processing (vector atleast for altivec/vmx, not sure about parallelity) to the next level. Basicly thats what the processor sounds like- one huge ppc/vmx cell with a hypertransport/parallel fabric between those cores. ;-)
     
  10. Mord macrumors G4

    Mord

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    #10
    i have a funny feeling that the cell and the powerpc 980 are one and the same, think about it, power5 based and super hyper charged kick ass altivec insane speed which is what was predicted for the next 970 as it's altivec unit was a little weak compared to the g4.

    apple will use it i'd bet good money on it.
     
  11. mrgreen4242 macrumors 601

    mrgreen4242

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    #11
    What I think will be interesting is to see what the PC world does when the Cell is released and available in quantity... Without a build of Windows for it, will there be enough market to make PCs with them? If MS does build Windows for the Cell architecture, that will seriously change the long standign WinTel arrangement, and also offer a whole host of issues for software developers.

    OR, will MS come up with some brilliant emulation layer, allowing x86 (or whatever AMDs 64bit native instruction code is called, I can't remember) to execute on a Cell machine, but do so as fast as on an actual P4 5ghz or whatever they are pushing then?

    OR, will the WinTel world ignore it, and leave them to be used in video game consoles and (hopefully) Macs?

    If Apple does adopt the Cell, and MS chooses either of the first two options, where would that take us? If they build a Cell version of Windows, it's concievable that you could hack up a PC to run OSX, or the other way around (a Mac to run Windows).

    Alternatively, if they come up with an emulation layer to let people run x86 code on the Cell (and sell people copies of Windows to run on their shiny new computers), and Apple starts using the Cell for it's systems, we could see VPC running at comparable speeds to native x86 machines.

    If MS ignores the whole thing, and the Intel/AMD teams can't some up with something comparible in power, cost, and scalability, that could seriously damage the Windows market dominance.

    I'm wondering how backward compatible the new Cell systems will be with PPC instruction sets. If PPC executables are directly usable, even via a little hardware built in emulation/opcode translation, then I don't see any reason for Apple not to make the move, assuming they are as inexpensive, fast, and scalable as they are being hyped as.

    Rob
     
  12. Yvan256 macrumors 601

    Yvan256

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    #12
    Maybe Apple built OS X on the idea that they could swap CPU architecture easily if needed?

    Maybe the Mac mini was the last PowerPC Mac they'll ever build? Maybe the PowerBook will never go G5? How about swapping all their computers to the cell CPUs?

    A lot faster, a lot cheaper, longer battery life...

    I want a Mac mini, 3Ghz Cell edition! :D
     
  13. sjpetry macrumors 65816

    sjpetry

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  14. snkTab macrumors 6502a

    snkTab

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  15. topicolo macrumors 68000

    topicolo

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    #15
    I, for one, welcome our new cell powerbook overlords
     
  16. ReanimationLP macrumors 68030

    ReanimationLP

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    #16
    I personally think that the Cell is THAT powerful. Just like they said the Emotion Engine was so capable of this that and every other thing in the book, and a 485 MHz G3 can beat it (Gamecube) Sony has always exaggarated their chips real power. If it WAS capable of that power, it'd come at a horrible price point. Just like the Xbox 2 is supposed to use 3 Dual-core 3+GHz G5s, this would put the units price in the thousands. Last game console to be in the thousands? The Neo-Geo, which games were hundreds and hundreds for to boot! And you saw how well THAT did. :) Apple will stick to the PowerPC, as this Cell processor has probably no PowerPC instructions, and the Cell would require probably a whole new rewrite of the entire OS X code. I'll lay you odds, 2 Dual-Core G5s at 3 GHz will have the Cell so beaten. Besides, if it is THAT powerful, just imagine the size of the PS3, to be able to cram 4 of those in there, with all that heat ;) Probably be the wanna-be G5.

    Speaking of the G5, if the Xbox 2 uses the G5s, I seriously HOPE that someone hacks it and gets it to run Mac OS X. Nothin' beats a few hundred dollar supercomputer. :)
     
  17. Mord macrumors G4

    Mord

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    #17
    the cell is based on POWER architecture which is 100% powerpc compatible (powerpc is just a power cpu which a few instructions missing and scaled down)

    the emotion engine is a graphics card and a cpu the gamecube has a separate GPU so all the power combined is greater than the PS2

    apple will use this as it's compatible with all the software it will be like the g4 all over again but all those performance claims will be true


    i bet when it is released it will be badged the ppc 980 cell only being the code name
     
  18. vollspacken macrumors 65816

    vollspacken

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    #18
    wow, imagine how fast people can browse porn on the internet with that thing :rolleyes:

    vSpacken
     
  19. snkTab macrumors 6502a

    snkTab

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    #19
    i know what you mean
     
  20. nuclearwinter macrumors regular

    nuclearwinter

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    #20
    nice...

    That is a nice "change of pace" statement. I about laughed my pants off! :p
     
  21. jadam macrumors 6502a

    jadam

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    #21

    That is because they still need a rasterizer to get all that data on screen, and nvidia makes good rasterizers :-D

    And it is not just a PPC with multiple vector coprocessors, because they aren't coprocessors, the APU units ARE the main processors in the system. And the way they did away with processor cache is quite amazing too. These things are going to be intense for Video/Graphics design work.

    Ohh and

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=106551
     
  22. DarkNovaMatter macrumors member

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    #22
    http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20050124-4551.html

    Ok, so it seems that other then the more elaborate stuff the guy was spouting, it more then likely has a cache still. Cell might still be powerful, but until we get some hard info all we will have is speculation. The only thing that hasn't made me draw away from cell is the possibility of a 128 Altivec. Although from the article I'm not sure if he is reffering to the registers, bits, or otherwise- but the idea of an improved Altivec (aka- Altivec 2) would make a G6 that much more nice to fathoum.
     

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