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PS3 Specs and the new "cell" technology

Johnny Punani2

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I've been trying to find out what the specs for the PS3 might be. This article has some good info on it...

Deal puts Rambus in future PlayStation

Last modified: January 6, 2003, 3:33 PM PST

By Michael Kanellos

Staff Writer, CNET News.com


Sony and Toshiba have licensed technology from Rambus that likely will be incorporated into a future version of the PlayStation game console.

The two Japanese giants have licensed "Yellowstone," a high-speed interface for connecting memory to microprocessors, and "Redwood," a chip-to-chip connection, from the processor designer, the companies said.

Both Yellowstone and Redwood would be used to enhance the broadband capabilities of "Cell," a complex microprocessor that will likely power an upcoming version of Sony's PlayStation.

Cell, which is expected to come out in late 2004 or early 2005, substantially differs from current chips on the market. Developed by IBM, Sony and Toshiba, the processor will contain multiple chips inside a single piece of silicon and will be geared toward delivering video, entertainment, interactive gaming and other content. It will have the ability to do north of 1 trillion mathematical calculations per second, roughly 100 times more than a single Pentium 4 chip running at 2.5GHz.

Chips churning at that speed, though, need to be surrounded by high-speed links and similarly speedy chips to function properly, which is where Yellowstone and Redwood come in. Yellowstone can transfer data up to 100 gigabits per second, or three times faster than current high-speed memory, said Laura Stark, vice president of the memory interface group at Rambus. In the end, the two technologies will allow chips to exchange audio or graphics data extremely rapidly, the companies said.

Last November, Toshiba took out a license to manufacture Yellowstone-style memory, necessary for the Cell processor to take advantage of the technology. IBM will not require an independent license to participate in incorporating Rambus technology into Cell, Rambus executives said.

"Rambus is and will be the key player in the ultra high-speed interface technology," Ken Kutaragi, chief executive officer of Sony Computer Entertainment, said in a statement. "This enables us to create a wide range of applications and platforms, from high-end systems to digital consumer-electronics products within Sony Group."

The deal, which is expected to bring Rambus $28 million in revenue over the next 18 months, also in some ways marks the beginning of a new, or third, life for the controversial chip designer.

Rambus specializes in chip interfaces, the electronic ports that allow chips to communicate with one another. In the mid-'90s, several chip executives and analysts said that memory based around a Rambus interface, called RDRAM, would become standard in PCs because of how it improved performance. Nintendo and Sony both incorporated RDRAM into gaming consoles.

But, while the technology did in fact boost performance on many PCs, RDRAM proved difficult to manufacture and cost far more than standard memory, SDRAM, or DDR DRAM, a high-speed version of standard memory. PC makers and eventually Intel, once a huge supporter of Rambus, drastically curtailed the use of RDRAM.

With product sales and licensing fees in jeopardy, Rambus launched into its second life, as a litigant. Starting in 2000, the company began to seek patent royalties and pursue lawsuits against Micron, Infineon and other memory companies. The company said that patents it filed in 1990 entitled it to royalty payments on all of the SDRAM and DDR DRAM ever sold.

Potentially, the lawsuits could have entitled the company to billions in royalties. Infineon and others, however, alleged that Rambus committed fraud in securing those patents and, so far, the memory companies have won in court.

Since then, the company has tried to position itself as the kindler, gentler Rambus, with executives stating that the company will work more on chip connections and spend less time in court.

If those specs are true the PS3 is going to scream! One trillion calculations per second for a console is incredible....

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here are the stats from playstation 3 insider.

· What are the PS3 specifications?

Currently there has been no official statement as to what the PS3 specifications are. However Sony Computer Entertainment International filed a patent with the US patent office detailing the Cell Architecture to be used in the next generation playstation (Playstation 3). This patent has detailed the specifications of what was entitled the "preferred embodiment" which throughout the patent had heavy references to the PlayStation 3.

The specs out lined in the "preferred embodiment"- read PS3 - called for 1 trillion floating point calculations per second.

Outlined herein are the specifications for the "preferred embodiment" as detailed in the Cell Patent. Remember that these specifications have yet to be confirmed by Sony nor are they likely to be final. However the specs of the PS3 will un-doubtly be very close, if not more advanced, than the following.

Playstation 3 System Specifications:

PE (Processing Element) Features and General Specifications

8 Identical Attached Processing Unit (APU): ??? bits, Single Instruction, Multiple Data (SIMD)

Clock Frequency: 4GHz

Integer Unit: 4 X Integer Units: 32 billion operations per second (32 GOPS).

4 X Floating Point Units: 32 billion floating point operations per second (32 GFLOPS)

Multimedia extended instructions: unKnown

Register Capacity: 128 times 128 bits

TLB: unknown

Instruction Cache: unknown

Data Cache: unknown

Scratch Pad RAM: unknown

Local Memory / Storage or (LS) per APU: 128 kilobytes SRAM

Main Memory: Main Memory: 64-bit XDR-RAM at 6.4GHz.

Memory Bandwidth: (dual-channel = 102.4 GB/s)

DMA: 1 channel per APU

Direct Memory to APU Access: 1,024 bits wide per channel. (8 Channels)

LS to Register: 256bits

Registers to Floating Point or Integer Units: 384 bits per channel

Floating Point or Integer Units to Register: 128 bits per channel


Perspective Transformation: unknown

Lighting: unknown

Fog: unknown

Curved Surface Generation (Bezier): unknown

Image Processing Unit: unknown

Image Processing Performance: unknown

Gate Width: 0.10 micron

VDD Voltage: unknown

Power Consumption: unknown

Metal Layers: unknown

Total Transistors: unknown

Silicon Process Technology: Silicon on Insulator (SOI)

Die Size: unknown

Package: unknown

Graphics Subsystem - Features and General Specifications:

Core: unknown

Clock Frequency: unknown

No. of Pixel Engines: unknown

Embedded DRAM: unknown

Total Memory Bandwidth: unknown

Combined Internal Data Bus Bandwidth: unKnown

Read: unknown

Write: unknown

Texture: unknown

Display Color Depth: unknown

Z Buffering: unknown

Rendering Functions: unknown

Rendering Performance

Pixel Fill Rate: 16 G/Sec

Particle Drawing Rate: unknown

Polygon Drawing Rate: unknown

Sprite Drawing Rate: unknown

Display Output


Digital TV (DTV)

VESA (maximum 1280 x 1024 pixels)

High Defenition TV (HDTV)

Max Resolution: ~2560 x 1920

Silicon Process Technology: unknown

Total Number of Transistors: unknown

Die Size: unknown

Package Type: unknown

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