PS4 processor, x86 vs. CELL - Did Sony make the right choice?

It is a power vs. ease topic that is interesting for the technological laymen. Some community members have mentioned that while there will be greater ease-of-use with the x86 architecture, but there are fears that this generation of systems will plateau sooner, as an improved CELL would be more powerful and have extra potential to unearth.

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kenmid1988d ago

Of course they made the right decision, it's SONY, and Sony does no wrong. Sony is all about the gamers.

Snookies121988d ago

Uhhh, no. Sony has done wrong in the past, just as Microsoft and Nintendo have as well. Unless you're being sarcastic or something which doesn't translate too well on the internet lol.

This particular decision though? Yeah, they made the right choice.

HammadTheBeast1988d ago

It's sarcasm. New troll technique the kids picked up.

humbleopinion1988d ago

I think the PSU article is sarcasm.
After all, after the CELL practically threw Sony from the leader position in the market and resulted in a delayed, much weaker (they had to strap in a video card in the last minute) and more complex to develop platform - it would be madness to consider this architecture again.

mewhy321988d ago

Well I don't about doing no wrong but I will say that they made the right choices with gddr5 and the uber gpu, I mean they could have just gone with ddr3 and a puney 12 compute unit gpu.

turgore1988d ago

Except when PSN was down. And hacked.

mandf1988d ago

Wasn't hacked the key was stolen and given out on the internet. Hackers still can't hack past a certain update. That in its self is a big fail for all the hackers.

thereapersson1988d ago

I don't know why people are disagreeing with your recap which was exactly what happened to Sony.

HammadTheBeast1988d ago

I dunno, I've got a stack of burnt Xbox 360 discs I could play online or sell for $5 but PS3 won't let me hack it.

Tales RPG addict1988d ago

Yeah and you are ignorant to the fact that any console can be hacked. Hackers wil find a way to get into anything.

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ApolloTheBoss1988d ago (Edited 1988d ago )

Come on, man don't be a deluded fanboy. I love Sony, too but they're not perfect. Everyone makes mistakes.

pixelsword1988d ago (Edited 1988d ago )

@ ken:

That's either trolling or blind devotion; either one makes you look not too cool.


The story makes a good point, but it really doesn't go into any technical details like they should for a topic of this magnitude.

I thought instead of making the CPU different they should radically improve their devkits (doing most of the powerful stuff for the devs); which only shows that they really didn't know what to do with the cell themselves.

I was going to predict that the Next gen won't be as long as the last gen. The Cell really extended the power, and the PS4 is powerful but I see a huge leap in graphics; then, like the title suggests, it will plateau within a shorter amount of time.

But on further thought, they actually did structure their new chip like the cell, and instead of having the call on just the processor, it's on both (in a way) so I'm thinking the work could be split, and even old Cell programming tricks could be used.

lukeb4dunk1988d ago

I agree and would have liked to see what a Cell 2 could do, but they had to change just to keep 3rd party support.

spartanlemur1988d ago

Sarcasm or just plain stupid?

Sony, like all corporations are about profit, but at present, they seem to believe that treating their customers like intelligent individuals might be a route to that, unlike Microsoft, who seem to arrogantly believe that we will follow whatever plans they have to directly shape the future games industry.

We reward and praise Sony because we respect intelligent decisions which allow for mutual benefit and punish Microsoft for trying to profit at our expense by believing it has some sort of monopoly power.

mediate-this1988d ago

I know right, loll, a lot of wiki facts being thrown around here

assdan1988d ago

They've definitely made bad choices, one of them was putting the CELL in the ps3. That was a stupid decision. It might have killed the 360 theoretically, but it took a long time for it to outperform it at all.

RevXM1988d ago

Long time?
I guess time is relative... Uncharted DF says hello.

The Cell was good, but it did just make it worse because Sony didnt have the tools and stuff ready out to the devs in time otherwise the Cell might would have done better initially, granted there is the time to triangle as Cerny speaks of that is a negative as well.

They could have stuck with the cell arcitecture and in my opinion they should have opted for power pc again, but this time they chose X86-64 although for all the good reasons.
Familiar environment, features, cost friendly.

The ps4 isnt what I imagined, but it still provides a reasonable jump at a reasonable cost, a broad set of features and possibilities and a strong software lineup.

I just wonder how their API will be and if they let devs code to the metal, they always have so I dunno why they wouldnt.

Ju1987d ago

Well, it wasn't so clear to pick the x86. According to Cherny there was a chance they would have opted for another CELL variant.

Just out of curiosity it would have been quite interesting to see a "super cell" with say, quad core PPU and 16-32 SPUs. Maybe this would have been feasible to build with modern manufacturing technologies, and it would give a current GPU quite some run for the money - but still it would have required an additional GPU for the rendering. Something like this with another 1000 shader cores would blow everything out of the water. Not at $400 I suppose. It would have been the much faster CPU and those SPUs could have been used for all kind of intermixed compute/scalar work (physics, animations, maybe even AI, skinning, etc). All depends how this would integrate into the memory subsystem. Could be quite complex to work with or simpler than the current PS3 - tools should haven been easier to migrate from the PS3.

But, well, this integrated "APU" in the PS4 is much simpler to use, much cheaper to build and in some way lessons learned during CELL development will make this new architecture fly - HSA for that matter. Sony usually uses it's own shader language which is quite close to CG and probably much more compute oriented this time around.

But a pure C/C++ benefit of the SPUs it ain't. This is maybe the only trade off. It was quite easy to "just throw" existing code at the SPUs while shaders need some extra treatment. But, well, you have 3 compute units in such a config versus only two (CPU and GPGPU). Time to move on, I guess.

kenmid1988d ago

Of course I'm being sarcastic, some of you gamers take this stuff way too serious, calling me stupid is really on called for weather I'm right or wrong.

Destrania1988d ago (Edited 1988d ago )

*whether ;-)

MysticStrummer1988d ago

They made the right decision because it's what the developers wanted. PS4 was designed with lots of developer input and it will pay off.

JsonHenry1988d ago

The CELL was a gamble that didn't pay off. Yes first party developers made great games and proved it could work. But the majority of multi-plat games were gimped on the PS3 because developers did not want to take the time/money to pour into extra R&D to squeeze out the extra power.

Let us not forget that the CELL was supposed to be an all in one. When it came time to launch they were so behind that they had to last minute slap in a PC video card to make it even viable.

So all in all the CELL was a complete failure. It hampered 3rd party support, it failed as a CPUGPU which it was originally intended, and they couldn't even sell the chip as a CPU for other consumer devices and was all but abandoned by the electronic market as a whole.

Sony ABSOLUTELY made a better decision this time around. Without a question. And because of them listening to devs and learning from their mistakes they will most likely destroy the competition in the upcoming generation of gaming.

Ju1987d ago (Edited 1987d ago )

Cell was a risky proposition. But not such a bad idea at the time. GpGPUs were at their in-fancies, unified shaders a word of the future (in 2005). And in some respect the SPUs are still ahead of current shader cores - they still perform much better on the "GP" part of GPGPU. SPUs could/can do texture filtering at the same speed as the RSX using pixel shaders (6 vs 24 none the less). This is quite a testament how fast these little cores are. What is missing is some dedicated pixel pipeline (e.g. texture units) and 6 of those is probably not good enough for today's standards. Also, the SPUs were never meant to be rasterizers. This is the part which was/is essentially missing - but the architecture is based on PS2 EE/GS (MIPS = PPU, VPU0/1 = SPU0:7, RSX = GS - which makes this pretty obvious that the RSX wasn't planed to be there originally).

All current GPUs - or "gaming architectures" - are basically a derivative of some sort of a "rasterizer" and a "vector" unit (pixel and geometry). The render pipeline has hardly changed since we started poking into memory and turning those bytes into shiny pixels; some stages are added here and there (e.g. geometry stage, tessellators, etc). 3D is just bunch of math doing some fancy "projection" onto a flat surface nothing more (using vectors and matrices). The rest is filling those spots with some pixels.

I think the CELL was crucial for the transition into a "multi core" gaming environment - what a lot of developers learned, was, just spawning threads and throwing things at a finite number if cores won't work. What we got instead are sophisticated job systems which had it's beginning because the SPUs required to cut pieces into byte size chunks. And believe it or not, this works just great with multi cores and GPGPUs. You wouldn't eat a steak without a knife, would you? Without the CELL we would still believe growing a bigger mouth would be the way to go instead of chopping things into pieces. (some people still believe that).

JsonHenry1987d ago

^^ No, the SPUs were NOT an integral part of switching to multi-core processing. The x86/ARM/PPC chips are what pushed it to the fore. The CELL was such a disaster that it wasn't used in just about anything but the PS3 severely limiting any form of mass adoption or usage. However the aforementioned CPUs were in, literally, billions of devices from medical equipment, to PCs, to Cellphones/Tablets, and even televisions.

Which again is why Sony went with a standard x86 platform- it was more developed, had a much larger existing userbase and dev tool sets, and most importantly- NONE OF THE PEOPLE IN THE BUSINESS WANTED TO WORK WITH THE CELL.

I love the new Sony, I probably won't even purchase a WiiU or a Xbox1, but Sony failed miserably with the CELL. (even if they didn't fail with the PS3)

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DivineAssault 1988d ago (Edited 1988d ago )

eff to the yaa it was the right decision.. It makes it easier for devs to deliver greatness to us.. I dont care if it makes BC an impossibility.. All future software will run & look great

faysal1988d ago

im a little upset that their will no cell which i thought kept ps3 so good even at late age... thing is devs know how to compute for cell by now... but i guess sony just wanted to give devs what they wanted, plus cell is still expensive so getting the price down will be slow like ps3 vs the ones they AMD they have now.

Tundra1988d ago

A much more common architecture means less development time, which means lower costs, which means more profit, which finally and ultimately amounts to...

More games.

So yes it was the right way to go.

JackOfAllBlades1988d ago

I think they made the right choice now all platforms will be equally easy to develop for PC, XBone, and PS4. Now there shouldn't be any bad ports like their was last gen. So yes, yes it was the right choice. AMD has the best bang for your buck and I love AMD, I currently have a HIS IceQx2 Radeon 7950 OC in my rig, although my processor is an Intel. But hopefully being that both consoles this gen are 8 core processors that game devs will begin to utilize more cores which will be great for people who have processors like the FX-8350 and so on. Cannot wait for the PS4, cannot get here soon enough, but till then I always got my rig.

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