View Full Version : Sony Discloses Details on Computer processor Chip

11 November 2004, 01:40 PM
"Sony Corp plans to begin selling home servers for broadband and high-definition TV systems powered by a revolutionary new computer chip in 2006, the Japanese electronics and entertainment giant said Monday.

Sony also said a next-generation video-game console powered by the chip, known as Cell, was also in the works, although it didn't give a date for its release.

IBM Corp., Sony and Toshiba Corp., a Japanese electronics maker, have been working together on Cell since 2001, but the partners have been reluctant to disclose details. They said Monday that Cell will allow computers and consumer electronics products to quickly process huge amounts of video and other digital content. "

>>Link<< (

11 November 2004, 02:16 PM
could this be the fabled Playstation 3 processor becoming a reality? I seem to remember some stuff in the news a year or two back about Ken Kutaragi trying to outdo the Emotion engine in PS2 by a factor of X times in the future. Lets hope its not just marketing hype.

11 November 2004, 02:51 PM
16 teraflops a second ... the links i have are from (german site) ... but the articles are in english (adobe acrobat).

11 November 2004, 02:59 PM
Here is one of the articles ....

Sony Corporation
Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.
Toshiba Corporation

IBM, Sony, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. and Toshiba Unveil Cell Processor
Companies Released First Details of Multicore Chip Comprising Power Architecture and
Synergistic Processor

ARMONK, NY and TOKYO, November 29, 2004 – IBM, Sony Corporation, Sony Computer
Entertainment Inc. (Sony Corporation and Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. collectively referred to as Sony Group) and Toshiba Corporation today unveiled for the first time some of the key concepts of the highly-anticipated advanced microprocessor, code-named Cell, they are jointly developing for next-generation computing applications, as well as digital consumer electronics.

The four companies also announced that they would reveal technical details of Cell at the
International Solid State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) to be held from February 6th to 10th, 2005, in San Francisco. Specifically, the companies confirmed that Cell is a multicore chip comprising a 64-bit Power processor core and multiple synergistic processor cores capable of massive floating point - more – 2-2-2-2 IBM, Sony, SCEI and Toshiba Unveil Cell Processor
processing. Cell is optimized for compute-intensive workloads and broadband rich media
applications, including computer entertainment, movies and other forms of digital content.
Other highlights of the Cell processor design include:

• Multi-thread, multicore architecture.
• Supports multiple operating systems at the same time.
• Substantial bus bandwidth to/from main memory, as well as companion chips.
• Flexible on-chip I/O (input/output) interface.
• Real-time resource management system for real-time applications.
• On-chip hardware in support of security system for intellectual property protection.
• Implemented in 90 nanometer (nm) silicon-on-insulator (SOI) technology.

Additionally, Cell uses custom circuit design to increase overall performance, while
supporting precise processor clock control to enable power savings. IBM, Sony Group and Toshiba will disclose more details about Cell in four technical papers scheduled for presentation at the International Solid State Circuits Conference.

“Less than four years ago, we embarked on an ambitious collaborative effort with Sony
Group and Toshiba to create a highly-integrated microprocessor designed to overcome imminent transistor scaling, power and performance limitations in conventional technologies," said Dr. John E. Kelly III, senior vice president, IBM. “Today, we're revealing just a sampling of what we believe makes the innovative Cell processor a premiere open platform for next-generation computing and entertainment products.”

“Massive and rich content, like multi-channel HD broadcasting programs as well as
mega-pixel digital still/movie images captured by high-resolution CCD/CMOS imagers, require
huge amount of media processing in real-time. In the future, all forms of digital content will be converged and fused onto the broadband network, and will start to explode,” said Ken Kutaragi, executive deputy president and COO, Sony Corporation, and president and Group CEO, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. “To access and/or browse sea of content freely in real-time, more - more - 3-3-3-3 IBM, Sony, SCEI and Toshiba Unveil Cell Processor
sophisticated GUI within the 3D world will become the ‘key’ in the future. Current PC
architecture is nearing its limits, in both processing power and bus bandwidth, for handling such rich applications.”

“The progressive breakdown of barriers between personal computers and digital consumer
electronics requires dramatic enhancements in the capabilities and performance of consumer
electronics. The Cell processor meets these requirements with a multi-processor architecture/design and a structure able to support high-level media processing. Development of this unsurpassed, high-performance processor is well under way, carried forward by dedicated teamwork and state-of-the-art expertise from Toshiba, Sony Group and IBM,” said Mr. Masashi Muromachi, Corporate Vice President of Toshiba Corporation and President & CEO of Toshiba's Semiconductor Company. “Today’s announcement shows the substantial progress that has been made in this joint program. Cell will substantially enhance the performance of broadband-empowered consumer applications, raise the user-friendliness of services realized through these applications, and facilitate the use of information-rich media and communications.”

Cell provides a breakthrough solution by adopting flexible parallel and distributed
computing architecture consisting of independent, multi-core floating point processors for rich media processing. With the capability to support multiple operating systems, Cell can perform both PC/WS operating systems as well as real-time CE/Game operating systems at the same time. Scalability offered by Cell can be utilized for broader applications, from small digital CE systems within the home to other entertainment applications for rendering movies, and to the big science applications as supercomputers.

A team of engineers from IBM, Sony Group and Toshiba are collaborating on the design
and implementation of Cell which is expected to deliver vast floating point capabilities, massive data bandwidth and scalable, supercomputer-like performance. The design work is taking place at a joint development lab the three companies established in Austin, Texas, after the project was announced in 2001.

- more -

4-4-4-4 IBM, Sony, SCEI and Toshiba Unveil Cell Processor
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. The first computing application IBM
plans for Cell is the Cell processor-based workstation it is developing with SCEI.
Sony Corporation expects to launch home servers for broadband content as well as
high-definition television (HDTV) systems powered by Cell in 2006.
Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. also expects to launch its next generation computer
entertainment system powered by Cell to revolutionize the experience of computer entertainment.

Toshiba Corporation envisions diverse applications for Cell and expects to launch its first
Cell-based product, a high-definition television (HDTV), in 2006.
About IBM IBM is the world’s largest information technology company, with 80 years of leadership in helping businesses innovate. IBM is also a recognized innovator in the semiconductor industry, having been first with advances like more power-efficient copper wiring in place of aluminum and faster SOI and silicon germanium transistors. These and other innovations have contributed to IBM’s standing as the number one U.S. patent holder for 11 consecutive years. More information about IBM semiconductors can be found at: (
About Sony Corporation
Sony Corporation is a leading manufacturer of audio, video, game, communications, key device and information technology products for the consumer and professional markets. With its music, pictures, computer entertainment and on-line businesses, Sony is uniquely positioned to be the leading personal broadband entertainment company in the world. Sony recorded consolidated annual sales of approximately $72 billion for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2004. Sony Global Web Site: (
- more -
5-5-5-5 IBM, Sony, SCEI and Toshiba Unveil Cell Processor
About Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.
Recognized as the global leader and company responsible for the progression of consumer-based computer entertainment, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCEI) manufacturers, distributes and markets the PlayStation® game console and PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system. PlayStation has revolutionized home entertainment by introducing advanced 3D graphic processing, and PlayStation 2 further enhances the PlayStation legacy as the core of home networked entertainment. SCEI, along with its subsidiary divisions Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc., Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Ltd., and Sony Computer Entertainment Korea Inc. develops, publishes, markets and distributes software, and manages the third party licensing programs for these two platforms in the respective markets worldwide. Headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. is an independent business unit of the Sony Group. About Toshiba Toshiba Corporation is a leader in the development and manufacture of electronic devices and components, information and communication systems, digital consumer products and power systems. The company’s ability to integrate wide-ranging capabilities, from hardware to software and services, assure its position as an innovator in diverse fields and many businesses. In semiconductors, Toshiba continues to promote its leadership in the fast growing system-on-chip market and to build on its world-class position in NAND flash memories, analog devices and discrete devices. Visit Toshiba’s website at (
# # #

11 November 2004, 03:17 PM
Cell cpus 4 workstations, servers... Sony sony!
Sgi and Apple won't like it for sure, maybe wintel too. :twisted:

11 November 2004, 04:43 PM
Cell cpus 4 workstations, servers... Sony sony!
Sgi and Apple won't like it for sure, maybe wintel too. :twisted: I agree, but i wonder how much its gonna cost. In anycase i'll probably save up now and buy a cell workstation. I sure, Alias,Softimage, Discreet will be interested in porting software for this workstation, they did with GS Cube in the past.

Cell technology was design to be scable and cheap i dont think its going to cost a arm and a leg.

another link.

and yes, Microsoft,Intel, Apple and SGI should all be worried, but than again competation is a good thing for consumers ;)

11 November 2004, 05:52 PM
SONY = proprietary = $$$
Anything SONY has to use unconventional hardware adaptors. Not a cost effective idea if they introduce that mindset to the server or workstation markets.

11 November 2004, 06:11 PM
SONY = proprietary = $$$
Anything SONY has to use unconventional hardware adaptors. Not a cost effective idea if they introduce that mindset to the server or workstation markets.
When Sony worked on the Cell Technology, for the workstation. They didnt want to become another SGI. Cell workstation are meant to be open to the general public and cheap, ala Wintel.

more details to come in Feb 6.

CG artist should be happy, why wait for a render? increase your productivity.

11 November 2004, 07:49 PM
Sony made up equal amounts of hype on how powerful the playstation 1 and 2 would be and they turned out to be underpowered machines with loads of crap games and pixelated graphics.

It's all hype and marketing and it will probably work for them aswell. Damn you sony.

11 November 2004, 08:15 PM
The SONY Cell chip will be produced en masse some time in 2006 but there was a report last week that game developers aren't getting the technical cooperation they need to develop games for the PS3. So much is being disclosed about the Cell technology in other devices but little is being forwarded or disclosed about the PS3.

@ Renderman_XSI
Yeah, going down the road of SGI would be a huge mistake, but SONY has a way of doing things their way. It would be interesting to see how open they actually are.

11 November 2004, 03:41 AM
Sony made up equal amounts of hype on how powerful the playstation 1 and 2 would be and they turned out to be underpowered machines with loads of crap games and pixelated graphics.

It's all hype and marketing and it will probably work for them aswell. Damn you sony. the problem with that logic is, this is a Cell workstation not a PS3. So they cant afford to hype it, beside if this is hype than IBM and Toshiba is hyping it also. I dont think IBM has ever hype any of their hardware in the pass(regarding SoC technology that is)?

Theres still alot of un-answered question about how many cell cpus on a single rack mounted workstation are we talking about here!

@ Renderman_XSI
Yeah, going down the road of SGI would be a huge mistake, but SONY has a way of doing things their way. It would be interesting to see how open they actually are.

I dont know if you remember the GS Cube, that was shown at Siggraph 2000. It has some realtime demos from various DCC developers; Alias,Softimage,SideEffects, and many other. GS Cube was supposed to be a very open platform for DCC users both big and small. GS Cube was a prototype base on, PS2 EE and GS technology, but it was clearly to expensive to mass produce as a workstation solution. Clealy GS Cube workstation never seen the light of day. Cell on the other hand, is a scable , cheap cpus that power workstations at a affordable price(assumption 2-5K) even the average joe can afford this. I doubt the major DCC developers like SI, SideFX,Alias would even write demos for the GS Cube if it wasnt intented as a open solution for the film industry and general public(freelancers).

some links to GS Cube:

GS Cube can do about 1 Teraflop(97.5GFLOPS )? , compare that to Cell workstation at 16 teraflop.

The question is well it be open to purchased by the average joe? All signs(actually articles) point to YES. In past articles, Cell workstation were mention to be competing against the likes of Dell, Intel, and AMD. I assume it would be open ala Apple or as like the common Wintel solution(where you can buy ur own parts and build your own workstation) im leaning more toward the former than latter.

But heres a question for you and all DCC users(which is the intented target of the workstation) given if it cost 2-5 k USD @ 16 teraflop(enough to give you real time MR renderings at 60 frames/sec @ 1080 p resolution??) would you even consider buying one? thats assume SI, SideFX,Alias would port your favorite software to this workstation, thats a big IF.

I just hope they dont follow SGI or Apple in terms of marketing and sales, Wintel style openiest would ideal for everyone :).

The question above need to be address by Sony, regarding their workstation. Mainly how open and the cost. Hopefully they'll do this come Feb. 6 @ ISSCC 2005.

11 November 2004, 06:25 AM
If they really want to gain a broader apeal, they'll probably have a Linux (or Linux-type) OS run on top of Cell. If that's the case, then portability is not that big a deal since we'll proably see a lot more DCC software port over to Linux anyway.

11 November 2004, 11:22 AM
I was never impressed by any IBM OS. So lets hope these boxes run Linux.

12 December 2004, 08:45 AM
Finally, it's really time for some serious competition again :thumbsup:

12 December 2004, 09:09 AM
This looks terribly promising. I can only hope that Sony and all the other companies involved will not be too greedy on it's licensing. Perhaps the fact that this technology was cross-developed may help. :)

I was under the impression that the Cell processors were going to be done on 65 nano process. I'm going to guess that this might not be feasible @ this point and they'll start with 90 nano, and respin @ 65? :shrug:

CGTalk Moderation
01 January 2006, 01:00 AM
This thread has been automatically closed as it remained inactive for 12 months. If you wish to continue the discussion, please create a new thread in the appropriate forum.