IBM on Cell: For "standard applications, it probably will not help you a lot."


macrumors G3
Original poster
Aug 30, 2003
In an IBM developerWorks article, Arnd Bergmann discusses Linux on Cell and has a bit to say about the idea of Cell on the desktop.

This has been hashed and rehashed a million times here, but maybe the situation will become easier to accept if it comes from the horse's mouth.


macrumors 603
Jun 25, 2002
LaLaLand, CA
I've heard the same. Apple even looked into the Cell, but it's not a good desktop chip apparently. Too bad, maybe with some work it could have been. I guess we'll never know.


macrumors 68000
Mar 6, 2005
I think this is totally true cell processors would be more geared towards specialist machines like games consoles or that like...

The future for Home PC's are Dual Core 64-bit processor's....

ShadOW :D


macrumors 604
Mar 17, 2004
Actually IMHO Cell isn't good for a game console. It's great for a rendering machine though.

Arstechnica says:
"At any rate, Playstation 3 fanboys shouldn't get all flush over the idea that the Xenon will struggle on non-graphics code. However bad off Xenon will be in that department, the PS3's Cell will probably be worse. The Cell has only one PPE to the Xenon's three, which means that developers will have to cram all their game control, AI, and physics code into at most two threads that are sharing a very narrow execution core with no instruction window. (Don't bother suggesting that the PS3 can use its SPEs for branch-intensive code, because the SPEs lack branch prediction entirely.) Furthermore, the PS3's L2 is only 512K, which is half the size of the Xenon's L2. So the PS3 doesn't get much help with branches in the cache department. In short, the PS3 may fare a bit worse than the Xenon on non-graphics code, but on the upside it will probably fare a bit better on graphics code because of the seven SPEs."

It's great for graphics and rendering, but it sucks for game code (read: non-graphics code) like AI and physics and game control.

However, Linux will still run on the Cell; Sony said Linux will come preinstalled on the hard drive for the PS3.


macrumors 6502a
Jul 20, 2004
The cell would probably make a good co-processor for offloading some bits of work from the main CPU. I don't think it would make a good CPU in itself. It's built on the concept of bundling up 2, 4, 8, 16 or more Cells together to perform multi-threading, not to be used stand-alone the way the PowerPC is.