Cell Chip Designer Felt 'Contaminated' by Xbox

A new book from the designer of the heart of Sony's PS3 - the Cell processor - reveals how Sony inadvertently worked with Microsoft on games consoles. The book, The Race for a New Game Machine, details how Sony, working with Toshiba and IBM to produce the powerful processor found itself in bed with arch-gaming rival Microsoft due to business alliances.

Two authors produced the book: Mickie Phipps who worked with David Shippy. The latter was chief architect for the power processing unit for the Cell processor at IBM in Austin, Texas. Prior to this he had worked on the G3 PowerPC.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Mr Shippy "felt 'contaminated' as he sat down with the Microsoft engineers, helping them to sketch out their architectural requirements with lessons learned from his earlier work on PlayStation".

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pp3483d ago

cell too powerful for xbox360

gamesmaster3483d ago (Edited 3483d ago )

what honorable business practices. this is the face of the industry behind gaming. lets hope it doesn't completely contaminate the gaming 'community' like its doing here on n4g.

sometimes i think people spend more time being a self proclaimed analyst on here than actually gaming.

Genesis53483d ago (Edited 3483d ago )

N4G has really been bad lately. You take away the negative Sony and BR news and their front page would be empty. I really don't see how whoever controls this site thinks that it is good for gaming. All it is doing is burning bridges, building walls and alienating people.

shadowghost7523483d ago (Edited 3483d ago )

I report most peices of rubbish news that come into the site and guess what happens i get restricted from reporting. It is rediculous that this happens, yes i admit it i report a lot of articles that is because they are a load of crap.

gamesmaster3483d ago

i dont think its so much a duplicate, its highlighting details in there that others may miss.

n4g however is just cluttered with opinions of bitter analysts on both sides of the fence, some more than others recently. the n4g formula is great but as of late its just being abused to fuel this fanboy war.

Kain813483d ago

that happen to me too, what up with this mods here.
Sorry but this is out of conroll this site runs by XBOTs, nothing agains xbox owners

Mr Microsoft3483d ago

In all honesty, you guys SHOULD get your reporting abilities restricted.

Do you people NOT know the guidelines for news submissions?

Per N4G:

"Posting Negative News
Even though negative news about a console can make the fans angry, it is still news and should be posted as any other story. Again as with all news stories the important thing is that what you report is newsworthy. That some no-name-blogger writes a story about how much he dislikes console X, that is not news. On the other hand, if a high profiled developer shares his negative opinion about a console on his personal blog it would be considered news and should therefore be posted."

It goes both ways and just because certain people don't "like" what the article says, that doesn't make the story reportable.

shadowghost7523483d ago

the thing is though i don't post flamebait articles i just report crap articles, approve good articles and comment here and in the forums that is it check my submission histroy.

I am not a fanboy even though some of my comments in the open zone may suggest that. I own a PS3 and PSP that is it that is why i stay away from 360 news for the most part. When i joined the site i may have seemed slightly fanboyish but i am not anymore

Mr Microsoft3483d ago

@ shadowghost752 - I can respect your feelings on this, but what you call "flamebait" articles might still be legitimate "newsworthy" stories.

It's all in the eye of the beholder.

My point is that the reporting of stories is WAY out of control. All it is, is a way to censor things that people don't like.

Heldrasil3483d ago

There is as much Sony and BR hate on this site than there is 360 and MS hate. If you want it to stop, then just drop it and don't mention it, works for everyone else.

Gue13483d ago

This happens all the time and still it gets posted here. Most of the bad news of Sony are rants from stupid bloggers...

IdleLeeSiuLung3483d ago

I'm sorry to all the fanboys here, but there is no conspiracy to bury the PS3. I think a lot of the negative "news" about PS3/Blu-Ray is just peoples sentiment about it right now.

If you are a fanboy and already bought the console, rest assured that there will be games that will come out on all 3 consoles. You made a choice, now go play games instead of ranting about the negative news. It happens on both sides of the coins, and Sony just happens to be in the target right now.

Now, I have yet to see a PC fanboy! Anyone?

Parappa The Rappa3483d ago

consoles suck. pc rules. there. im your pc fanboy. i said it.


Traveler3483d ago

I'm a fan of the PS3, but I don't think there is any kind of conspiracy against the PS3. That is ridiculous.

I see negative articles about all consoles, but right now there just seems to be a little bit more negative PS3 news. It goes in cycles though, I remember articles saying the 360 was going to be killed off by the PS3 and we all know there have been tons of articles about the RROD. Right now it just seems that the overall perception is that the PS3 could be doing better and that creates more negative news. Believe me though, it will all change over time. Every console goes through its bad periods.

GVON3483d ago (Edited 3483d ago )

the 3 cores of the 360 are slightly older versions of the cells PPU.i'm sure it was in here somewhere

or in version one,I'll have a look and edit in quotes if I can find any,either way it's a good read about the potential of the cell in the future.

well it's not as much as I though there was but he writes

"The PPE is an interesting processor and it looks likely that similar cores will turn up in systems other than the Cell. The CPU cores used in the XBox360 while different, appear to be derived from the same original design.

As mentioned above the PPE has been simplified compared to other desktop processors, I discuss the reasons behind this and their implications in part 4.

A 4GHz PowerPC sounds like a pretty potent processor until you realise that the PPEs are really just used as controllers in the Cell - the real action is in the SPEs:"

A little more

" The XBox360’s “Xenon” [Xbox360] processor cores also appear to be derived from the guTS processor although they are not quite the same as the PPE. In the Cell the PPE uses the PowerPC instruction set and acts as a controller for the more specialised SPEs. The Xenon cores uses a modified version of the PowerPC instruction set with additional instructions and a beefed up 128 register VMX unit."


"The ps4, which hopefully will be based on cell, should be a tremendous beast for HD multimedia and gaming."

Now for me this is were sony were smart with the cell.

I'm sure IBM have got cell down to 45nm,and the original launch ps3 was 90nm.
we've also just heard that the price price is down on the cell,so as of today Sony could include 2 of the 45nm cells in the space as one of the launch cells on ps3,and why this is genius is because cell does this,and was designed to do this from day one.

more from blatchford

"One of the main points of the entire Cell architecture is parallel processing. The original idea for Cells working across networks as mentioned in the patent appears to still be in development but probably won’t be in wide use for some time yet. The idea is that “software cells” can be sent pretty much anywhere and don't depend on a specific transport means.

Want more computing power? Plug in a few more Cells and there you have it. If you have a few cells sitting around talking to each other via WiFi connections the system can use it to distribute software cells for processing. The idea is similar to the the above mentioned job queues but rather than jobs being assigned locally they are assigned across a network to any Cell with spare processing capability."

"It appears the IBM workstation / blade will have 2 Cells but it can act as a SMP system (i.e. the Cells can share each others memory). The patent specified a way to connect 8 Cells but given the size and likely cost of the first generation of Cells I doubt anything like this will appear soon."

but it would be small enough and cheap enough in the next ps,I wrote

"could you not then be able to double the amount of spe, for let's say a ps4 and still have the same code you used on ps3 games and it wouldn't need much if any reworking, allowing for much quicker development time.

I suppose then that's why sony had said the more time you spend learning how to use cell now, the better it will be in the future."

Legion3483d ago

So does that mean that Sony gets partial blame for the RRoD? lol

GVON3483d ago

lol,no ps3 doesn't get that.must of been like having a kid but the bad sperm got through and caused,well,problems.

kwicksandz3483d ago

No sony is not to blame for RROD, because its mainly caused by the GPU overheating. Sony picked an underpowered GPU so they dont have this issue.

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METtAL-GAMER3483d ago

Hey there PP, how that bubble treating you?Maybe now you show grow up.

dle3483d ago

But what are people commenting about? When I heard IBM was designing all the CPUs for the then next gen machines, I was wondering how did Sony and Microsoft let that happened. Surely Sony or Microsoft must have thought about their secret blue print having had a very good chance of leaking to the other rival. In the end, one partner (MS) benefited more than the other (Sony). Can't wait to read the book.

Xelai3483d ago

Fascinating is how fanboys claim the infinite superiority of the Cell, a chip done by the same company, with the same engineers, similar budgets and in a similar timeframe. In fact, development on Xenos began later in time.

Seems so weird to me.

novcze3483d ago (Edited 3483d ago )

Xelai, performance of the processor is given by its architecture, not by name of co-designer.

dukadork3483d ago

CELL = 1 PPU + 7 SPUs

ignorant idiots say that SPUs are not real cores but that's the exact opposite. SPUs are truly parallel execution units with their own local memory and no cache bottleneck to stall them. SPUs are vector DSPs running at CPU clock rate! Their only weakness is that they're harder to code for than conventional CPUs.

PPUs are the weak part of the design especially with the large cache miss penalties that plague both consoles.

CELL is a groundbreaking CPU design that is challenging conservative developers but very rewarding for good programmers

XENOS is a conservative CPU design: it is much weaker but easier to code for.

some people say "look at the multiplat bla bla..."
early multiplat titles did not use SPUs at all (that's 90% of the horsepower!). now they're gradually using more and Ps3 is irresistibly pulling ahead

some people say "what's the point if it's too hard to code for?"
the point is: difficulty is good for longevity
the 360 was pretty much maxed out upon launch with gears1
the directX model requires frequent hardware upgrades to provide new functionality: it's a great model for dumb programmers and gamers with $600 / year for new graphics cards

the console model puts the burden on software: it's a great model for good programmers and gamers on a budget

gamers who favor the directX model are either rich, stupid or both
it is very unfair to criticize Sony over the CELL.
XENOS is a boring and weak CPU but the CELL is an amazing piece of gaming hardware: PERIOD

Xelai3483d ago

Yep, well I thought it depended on Moore´s Law.

But anyway I did not say name of co designer, I said same budget, same timeframe, same engineers and same company.

As for architecture, we know IBM wanted a chip for supercomputers, and Toshiba one for advanced DSP and video processing, that is why yu got a chip 87.5% dedicated to floating point computing, so both companies got what they wanted. Sony had a chip so well prepared for integer computing and games, yep.

Anyway, trying to discuss this here, is a moot point.

DaTruth3483d ago

If you haven't noticed, Moore's law is finished, that's why all processors run at less than 4Ghz. That's why parallel computing is so important and why they have quad-core computers.

Parappa The Rappa3483d ago

is the sh*t kid, you have no idea. :)

edhe3483d ago (Edited 3483d ago )

Moore's law is frequently mis-reported, but over time it's evolved.

It's basically about doubling the transistors on the silicon, not doubling the frequency, now anyway. Silicon [even strained] has peaked so they're finally going the way they should do - into parallelism with greater l1 memory bandwidth.

Does explain why the 360 would have performance edges if the designers had 'learned' from the ps3's chip, doesn't it?

GIJeff3483d ago

is integer computing the focus in modern games?

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xg-ei8ht3483d ago

M$ will finish 3rd again and i'm glad they will.

militant073483d ago

are you sure you in the right place ??
i guss this comment should have been posted on open zone

Bladestar3483d ago

Maybe... just Maybe worldwide... but unlike the PS1 and PS2 the PS3 will be the one on 3rd in regions where the Sony Playstation enjoyed dominance...

For example I doubt the PS3 can catchup to the xbox 360 in the US, UK and Canada. At least not before the xbox 720 comes out...

thebudgetgamer3483d ago (Edited 3483d ago )

im comfterable with sony comming in third this gen as long as they dont leave the business i am fine. i feel the same about microsoft i have some problems with the way they do things but when it comes down to it they have an awesome library of games and so does the ps3 not as big as the 360 but it is growing everyday.
the thing that bothers me the most is that some people think the gaming world would be better if microsoft or sony stoped making consoles. i honestly believe that if it warent for sony there would be no 200$ 360. at the same time if it warent for microsoft doing so well there would not be a 400$ ps3 and the psn wouldnt be half of what it is now.
i guess what i am trying to say is i love video games. since 1987 when i got my first console (atari 2600) till this day.


happy new years all

HateFanboys3483d ago (Edited 3483d ago )

Check out Bladestar not being so fanboyish, nice.

dantesparda3483d ago

Is the best thing thats happened to Sony and Sony the best thing thats happened to MS. Cuz Without MS, i bet you that the PS3 wouldnt be half as good as it is now or have half the sh!t it does now, (like all the firmware update improvements and PSN improvements and even the game improvements [1st & 2rd party and multi]). And the same for MS. Thanks to Sony, MS fans would not have the price the system is at right now (same is true for PS fans), or half the features (like NXE). They are both trying so hard to fight each other and outdo each other that its us the fans who win in this war.

Now i just need the 360 fanboys to start talking sh!t again about how PS3 doesnt have cross game chat and everything else that its missing that the 360 has. So the PS3 fanboys, will go up in arms over it, and hopefully speed Sony up on it. And MS fans stop acting like a web browser in your system wouldnt be nice!

I just hope neither one gives up, so i hope they both go on the sell at least 60+ millions. And PS3 fanboys, buy more games. And 360 fanboys stop being such A-holes and admit that the media is on your side

Wile3483d ago (Edited 3483d ago )

'And 360 fanboys stop being such A-holes and admit that the media is on your side.'

Yeah right! As it is with politics, when the media talks positively about one politician the other side screams biased and vice versa. The facts are that Sony, analysts and fanb*ys claimed 2008 was PS3's year. They screamed Home, LBP, and MGS4 were going sweep the market. Now that it's the end of December and PS3 didn't do AS WELL AS all PROJECTED. Articles are coming out about that. Earlier this year, it was article upon article about RROD, how the three year warranty wasn't enough, and 'can MS compete with Sony's line-up.' Two months from now it will be 'Can future 360 games compete with Killzone 2.' Doom and gloom for the Xbox360. It's all comes in cycles.

Asking anyone to admit that the media has an organized conspiracy to defeat a $500 toy, that's right a TOY, is crazy, and simply a testament that people need to spend more time outdoors.

SaberEdge3483d ago

I completely agree. There is no universal bias. I see tons of anti-Microsoft articles all the time. Articles about RROD, Zune failures, Internet Explorer sucks, Vista sucks, and on and on...

Seriously, if anybody believes there is a unified bias against Sony or the PS3 they have to be completely blind fanboys and need to get a reality check.

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