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PS3.5: Sony Patent Shows Plans To Increase PS3′s Power With External Processor

The PlayStation 3 was a massive investment for many gamers, especially for those that bought the console at launch. For Sony, the costs were even higher, with billions spent on development, and more spent on selling the console at a loss. So its no wonder the company wants to extend the PS3′s life-cycle, and thus make profit on the platform. Now, a Sony patent has hinted that they will release external processors to make the console even more powerful – without the need for a PS4.

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NeoBasch2931d ago (Edited 2931d ago )

Is this because of Uncharted 3? ... so good, not even the PS3 can contain it. Maybe this external processor will display up to 3x the resolution of 1080p. : ) A man can dream. I've already set their first screen as my wallpaper. Mmm mmm good.

By the way, I doubt Sony would do this, unless they package the new processor with all models henceforth after release.

darthv722931d ago

say it isnt so. Sony.....research Sega and their ever expanding program to keep the genesis relevant.

Or better yet...ATARI.

Mystogan2931d ago

Sounds cool, I think they will try a kinect-style approach.

They would sell the Processor as an Accessory and the games would have a special case to indicate that you need the processor to play it.

This could work.

i always thought about something like this but i never really thought it was possible.

Red_Orange_Juice2931d ago

this wont happen, dont panic, lmao

Zeevious2931d ago (Edited 2931d ago )

What?

None of you saw the official press-review on this from Sony's Spokesman,
Alan Compton himself?
http://www.theonion.com/vid...

If you didn't get the joke...not sure why this is attributed to the PS3?

It's impossible for this to apply to the PS3 but more likely as a PS3 compatible PS4 model that can then be upgraded with an expansion port.

It can't connect to the PS3 because there is no internal expansion port on any or all motherboard models of the PS3.

No suitable hardware exist for this expansion concept:
USB isn't suitable for the speed or bandwidth needed.
The memory and all components are surface mounted.
There are no expansion ports internally or externally.

Where would this even connect to access memory, resources or other functions?

I'm sure this is a plan for the future PS4 model or an upgradable PS3 to PS4 hybrid, but could not apply to current models because there is simply nothing built in at the hardware level to receive these expansions.

Note these PS3 motherboard...No expansion ports:
http://www.google.com/image...

BattleAxe2931d ago

Cool, I look forward to seeing what Sony comes up with.

DERKADER2931d ago

Horrible idea, isn't the point of a console is that it has set standards for developers. This would divide the community and make things harder for developers.

InfectedDK2931d ago

Looking at it on a positive way it means that you wont have to buy a new console.

You just add one "PS4" hardware piece and the games will have a "PS4 upgrade" on them if it's needed for that game.

But still this might just be added to the PS4 and not the PS3. And still the PS3 will be able to run all games a long time without the upgrade if it's true.

It's like buying a new console but keeping everything you have! All your games, PSN games, PSOne games, accounts, trohies etc. etc.

Bigpappy2931d ago

I don't see it happening. Everyone would have to buy this add-on for it to be supported.

ShinMaster2931d ago

Well there are millions of Xbox 360s sold without hard-drive.
You could say that divided the community a bit.

But I don't see this happening really.

HolyOrangeCows2931d ago

"Everyone would have to buy this add-on for it to be supported"

List of games that support the N64 Expansion Pak
* Aidyn Chronicles: The First Mage
* All-Star Baseball 2001
* Armorines: Project S.W.A.R.M.
* Army Men: Sarge's Heroes
* Battlezone: Rise of the Black Dogs
* Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness
* Command & Conquer
* Cruis'n World
* Daikatana
* Donkey Kong 64
* Duke Nukem: Zero Hour
* Extreme-G 2
* Excitebike 64
* F-1 World Grand Prix II
* Gauntlet Legends
* Hot Wheels
* Hybrid Heaven
* Hydro Thunder
* Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine
* International Track and Field 2000
* Jeremy McGrath's Supercross 2000
* Ken Griffey Jr.'s Slugfest
* The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
* Madden NFL '99
* Madden NFL 2000
* NBA Courtside 2
* NBA Jam 2000
* NFL Quarterback Club '99
* NFL Quarterback Club 2000
* Nuclear Strike 64
* Perfect Dark
* Pokémon Stadium 2
* Quake 2
* Rayman 2: The Great Escape
* Re-volt
* Resident Evil 2
* Road Rash 64
* Roadsters
* San Francisco Rush 2049
* Shadow Man
* Spider-Man
* South Park
* South Park Rally
* StarCraft 64
* Star Wars: Episode I: Battle for Naboo
* Star Wars: Episode 1: Racer
* Star Wars: Rogue Squadron
* The World Is Not Enough
* Tony Hawk's Pro Skater
* Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2
* Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3
* Top Gear Hyper-Bike
* Top Gear Overdrive
* Top Gear Rally 2
* Turok 2: Seeds of Evil
* Turok 3: Shadow of Oblivion
* Turok: Rage Wars
* Vigilante 8
* Vigilante 8: 2nd Offense
* World Driver Championship
* Xena: Warrior Princess: The Talisman of Fate

Yeah....."Everyone" would have to buy it.

lastdual2931d ago (Edited 2931d ago )

A patent does not = it's going to happen.

Companies like Sony, Nintendo, MS and Apple file a ton of patents every year. Just because they think something up doesn't mean they're actually going to bring it to market.

In this case, I highly doubt it will happen. It splits your base, even more so than the latest motion control devices, and the track record for similar devices (like the Sega 32X) is pretty abysmal.

HolyOrangeCows2931d ago (Edited 2931d ago )

I like how people like darth (With 5 bubbles!) and droid smasha troll in every ps3 article, but I lose bubbles for mentioning, in an article about Greenberg bragging about NPD numbers, that Microsoft is inconsistent with their sales numbers, and using a thrid party when you ARE a first party source, seems silly. Mods are ramping up their bias moderation. Beware. http://n4g.com/news/661871/...

Patents don't always end up being used.
Google some of Nintendo's patents. Crazy stuff.

Ju2931d ago

Zeevious seems to be the only one with a brain here. How does this relate to an "external expansion processor for the PS3"? If at all this is a cell based cluster of some sort. Note the one PU (PPU?) element and the interconnect to 4 (not 7 or 8!) spus. Add shared memory and the mention of a number of those elements and what you get is a loose cluster based machine. Sure not the PS3 - something very similar; but much more scalable.

tacosRcool2931d ago

Well ATI, err I mean AMD already has external graphics via the Express slot, so I wonder if they could upgrade the GPU into something DX11 worthy?

uie4rhig2931d ago (Edited 2931d ago )

lol .. "if you say gullible slow enough, it will sound like playstation 3" ;)
what zeevious said, current ps3s are impossible to apply this to, even if they find some way of speeding up the current usbs (cos right now that is the only feasible connection, but it's almost impossible since the usb ports on there are 2.0), and allowing it to accept the external cpu, sony would have to compromise A LOT of security, which they are not prepared to risk.

for this to actually work, new hardware would have to created (or rather, invented).. so even if they are working on this, it won't be available till the next ps, or till they reinvent the ps3 (highly doubt it)

RedDragan2931d ago

THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH PS3.

It looks like a cut down version of the slot in processors for servers that built by IBM and Sun. In these servers you can keep on adding Cell Processors to increase your processing power. It was an ability that existed since the Cell Server's inception.

As the current Slot In processors are the full 8-SPE variants they are very expensive, especially as each Slot In plate has TWO Cell Processors each. Thus, by designing a 4-SPE variant would cut costs dramatically and those savings can be passed on to corporations wanting powerful hardware without having to buy an entirely new server rack.

As the dreadful speculation in this and the other article says, yes it is literally a case of slotting in the board that contains the processor into a port. But this port does not exist on the PS3 and the idea of using this sort of functionality cannot used because the CF Port on the Phat PS3 does not support speeds of around 25GB/s that is required to begin to fully utilise such an expansion device.

This is poor reporting for a poor area of journalism... the gaming industry. Every day the quality of news that comes out of the cesspit of gaming wesbites gets worse and worse.

By the time there is such a console that allows you to add yet another prcoessor, our internet will be quick enough to allow Blu-Ray quality 1080p streamed games across the internet like an OnLive system in steroids!

Get the idea of this being the PS3 or PS4 or PS5 out of your heads because this is a corporate device, not a gaming device.

lightningsax2931d ago (Edited 2931d ago )

OrangeCows has the right idea here - patents don't always get used. Remember the wonderful time we were having reading the patent for the accurate software PS2 emulator that we thought was going to be in a firmware update? How's that working out for us?

Basically, this is another product out of Sony's R&D department, R&D projects don't always find their way into actual implementation, and money has a lot to do with it. Also, if a competitor announces a new system instead of putting on this "ten-year cycle" charade with the whole motion control thing, this will definitely not see the light of day. Sony knows better. Everyone working there must know what happened with the 32X.

Super-Brad2931d ago

The only reasoning currently I see with this patent, is for dev kits, which need more RAM or Processing power for the debugging of a game and not for the mass market.

N311V2931d ago

@ zeevious

I don't know a lot about computer hardware but I was thinking the same thing, surely you can't plug this in via USB, but then again how do they connect multiple ps3s to make a super computer.

captain-obvious2931d ago

i love Sony an all but i dont think this is what they should do since its going to fail
fail hard that is

anyway its a Patent
so we know that its most likely wont happen

Ju2931d ago (Edited 2931d ago )

RedDragon - I agree with you; however, I do not think this is planned to be used in servers (primarily).

What's more important by reducing the number of SPUs from 8 to 4 is smaller size this will result in. Especially considering these things would run at a lower (!) clock frequency.

The SPUs were designed for low power. Reducing them to 4 and shrink them even further makes this a perfect candidate for an (scalable) embedded processor.

I would rather think what we see here is a version of a scalable cell - from mobile to workstations (incl. consoles).

Well PSP2 comes to mind - and the rumors of 4 cores... in that case the PU can be any core from MIPS to ARM to PPC (most unlikely). Sony owns a MIPS license and the SPUs...ARM is morepopular

poopface12931d ago

I would not be happy if I needed to buy this to play the newer games.

Id think alot of people wouldnt even know you need thsi thing and would be pissed when thy need to buy something to play the newer ps3 games.

Who knows nintendo did a similar thing with the expansion pack, and I didnt mind that, but I doubt this would cost the same amount.

Are they sure this isnt just the USB PS2 emulator that they showed a while back?

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Serjikal_Strike2931d ago

The ps3 news are only getting better and better each day....
this would be awesome if true!!!

InfectedDK2931d ago (Edited 2931d ago )

YES!

@snipermk0 well if you want new games on your PC you upgrade too. Maybe too often sometimes. One upgrade for the PS3 wouldn't hurt. The question is though if it's smart to do. I hope it is!!

snipermk02931d ago

No.. this isn't a good thing. It will divide the PS3 community.. Not everyone will buy this external processor. And hence, the games would also need to be designed differently, hence taking more time and resources.

Mr Tretton2931d ago

snipermk, with that logic, they shouldn't make a PS4.

This is essentially the 'PS4', at lesser cost with already a big install base to build upon.

TruthBTold2931d ago

Um, for those saying this would divide the community,haven't we already had add-ons required to play certain games, the camera and motion controllers. Why would it be hard to believe that they can make all these other accessories for more casual gamers but they cant make one for the more hard core gamers who would love to see more advanced games and dont feel like buying the PS4 so quickly. I have two PS3's and want to get as much juice out of them as possible. I am not looking forward to having to buy brand new systems If I have the option to upgrade the ones I have for a less money and get even more juice out of them. We already see PC gamers foing this to their computers. Why cant consoles do the same? Times have changed and this is not the Sega or Atari era. Gamers put out way more money now on gaming than they did years ago.If Sony is planning on doing this I hope they really do it. it will benefit a lot of us gamers who want to hold on to our current investment longer.

jony_dols2931d ago (Edited 2931d ago )

Sony should bundle a usb ram expansion with a high profile exclusive such as killzone 4,uncharted 4 or the last guardian,( you can buy 512 ram for a PC for around 20 dollars, an extra 256 ram mass produced expansion pack for PS3 would be nothing) especially when bundled with a new game such as Uncharted 4 for $65.

The N64 ram pack was a Success, why not this?
I'd 100% pay $5~20 extra for it

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Jamegohanssj52931d ago

Wtf? That's just crazy. I wonder how the PC gamers will respond.

BAW GAWD!

TGSI

-Alpha2931d ago (Edited 2931d ago )

Why would they care? PC gaming is constantly evolving and I doubt a new accessory will change anything for PC gamers.

I doubt this story. Patents don't really mean anything. The PS3 is no where near tapped out for console standards and I don't see Sony overwhelming us with things like this when they have Move+so many games down the pipeline.

By the time an external processor is necessary I'm sure Sony can move on to PS4.

Ducky2931d ago (Edited 2931d ago )

... Tee Gee Ess Eye?

I'd figure it would be the people who pick consoles over PC for simplicity sake that would care.
This addition is just going down a slipper slope.

Although according to the article, the idea is in its early stages (hence the patent). I'd expect it for a future console that has this support built-in.
Either that, or they'd have to make a new PS3 model to support it.

VINNIEPAZ2931d ago

I'm a sucker for upgrade addons like this. Still have my Sega CD and 32X

athlon7702931d ago (Edited 2931d ago )

ditto! gosh, I havn't started that system up in a long ass time. Star Wars 32x...that game was soooo terrible.

morkendo232931d ago

Sony patent has hinted that they will release external processors to make the console even more powerful – without the need for a PS4.

WHAT'D NO PS4?? YIKES!

Da_Truth2931d ago (Edited 2931d ago )

that won't happen unless Sony starts making games that NEED to have this processor to run the game, but think about it, if the processor is just to run the same game that runs on the stand alone PS3 but in @1080p with better frame rates then it doesn't affect the people that doesn't own the peripheral.

IMO if they can pull this off it would be amazing...and people with more fancy TVs get to play their game in all the former glory

PS.By the way this may very well be the exclusive announcement planned for the 12th

kwicksandz2931d ago

its the ram and the gpu that are the weak links of the ps3. if they had a ram pack like the n64 i would get it

2931d ago
AKS2931d ago

I don't think this will ever happen, but if there was a way to easily upgrade RAM and the GPU, I'd definitely do it. However, such an expansion would need to be included in the original PS3 design.

Development costs of software might jump slightly, but it would really just be one extra set of higher spec settings to worry about. It's not like you couldn't play a game without the upgrade; standard PS3s would use the lower spec setting. It won't happen, though. Maybe the PS4 will include plans for a mid-generation upgrade?

DeadIIIRed2931d ago

True, I don't recall seeing any mystery slots on the PS3 and there are so many different SKU's now that I doubt there would be a "one-size-fits-all" expansion if it were true. Takes me back to buying Majora's Mask with that red N64 expansion though.

fr0sty2931d ago

Well, if the new box had it's own CPU, GPU, and RAM in it, the usb would only be needed to transfer data from the HDD and BD drive into the new box, so a USB compatible upgrade could in theory work. It would need it's own HDMI output on it though, so it didn't have to send the signal back to the RSX. In fact, it could plug into both USB ports and use each's bandwidth, then have it's own USB ports mounted on the front so you could still plug in your accessories.

Doing this would have it's advantages and disadvantages.

1. Full backwards compatibility

2. much more power for cheaper (sell them a new console without having to charge them for a PSU, HDD, bluetooth, wifi, controllers, etc)

however, you'd have to contend with

1. consumer confusion, you'd have to figure out a way to get around that. one way would be to make all PS3.5 games backwards compatible with PS3, with extra enhancements coded into the game (native 1080p 3D at 60fps, for instance).

2. the sega stigma... nobody has got it right yet, so everyone is going to instantly slam them for trying.

patterson2931d ago

This is probably for a new line of Bravia TV's. Toshiba has a similar setup using the Cell broadband engine with 4 SPU's in their high end models.

Bull5hifT2931d ago

That was exzactly my plan except i said they should make 2 packages, a big slot with the ram cpu gpu and all that good stuff .. Put it in a box' make a cheapy $50 box and a beefy powerful $150 box and you slide out the original and slide in the new..... Then the games give you the option to play in original, better , best, and also when games are dorced to go to a new limit sony shouldgive you a trade in deal , after 1 year of the package being out the cheap one can be a free upgrade from sony and the $150 drops to $50 and a newer package is introduced

NOOBKILLA2931d ago

I think this could actually work. All developers would have to do is develop PS3 games as if they were PC games. The games that they develop could have "min" specs and "recommended" specs. The games with the min specs would perform just like the PS3 games do now. The games with the recommended specs could have the enhancement such as a higher resolution (all games in true 1080p) or higher framerate.

It would be like buying a new console for like $100 bucks. Hell M$ is selling a camera (Kinect) for $150, so Sony doing an external processor could work.

Theonik2931d ago (Edited 2931d ago )

Presenting the Sony PS3X2. *Requires a PS3 system and a separate power adaptor.
Only $199

DeadlyFire2931d ago

This is not an external processor. I hate to dampen your ideals, but this is not a route Sony would go. 1 PPE with 4 SPUs. Sounds more like what was rumored to go in the PSP2. A 4 core Cell processor. There was talk of the Cell processor and sub-processors working together when the PS3 was launched as well. I believe this is just more of a shift towards PSP2. Nothing to do with PS3.

N4g_null2931d ago

I think u win the cookie.

Psp2 with the idea of connecting it to a home console not announced yet just back room talk. Pci express would be the spec target yet this is the first step at next gen. If done right this could one up nintendos ds.

Christopher2931d ago

Unlikely. Games will still be designed with the assumption that you don't have the accessory. Only thing I see it doing is improving memory capacity which might help with rendering 3D at a higher FPS.

fr0sty2931d ago

or better anti aliasing, sharper textures, no jaggy shadows, higher res shader effects, 60fps per eye 3D... i'd pay good $ to have all my ps3 games do that.

Christopher2931d ago

Perhaps, but not likely.

First of all, this will more than likely require throughput through a USB port, not the speediest of methods for offloading memory processing that needs to be almost instantaneous.

Furthermore, even if there was a more direct method, the increase would be minimal at best. Games are programmed to utilize and manage memory in specific amounts. So, when designed for use with the core console, they set maximum memory amounts and program the games to not go over that amount.

Furthermore, in regards to FPS and jaggies, this is in relationship to off-GPU management of graphic processing, which is going to be tightly managed on an SPU. Programming for this to be dynamic in the number of SPUs it utilizes rather than maintaining a programmed infrastructure will only lead to more problems for those who don't have the new attachment as it's no longer being as tightly managed and will result in a much greater chance of experiencing more issues.

Look at it this way: You have a computer. If you attach another computer to it, is that going to improve how a game plays on it? No, your game is still going to run on the one processor as it is designed to do. Only thing different now is you can run more alongside your game using the other processor and memory. If this was a viable solution, people would be buying multiple cheap computers rather than spending money on high end gaming rigs.

fr0sty2931d ago

you're looking at it from the wrong angle. Let's assume this little device sits under the ps3 and plugs into it's usb ports (both of them, and it would have it's own you'd plug your stuff into). the only thing it uses the ps3 for us input for the bd drive, hdd, wifi, and bluetooth. the unit itself comes bundled with it's own GPU, CPU, and RAM. it has it's own HDMI output on the back. the only data going through the usb ports is that which is going to or from the bd drive or HDD. HDD would see a loss in throughput (which means they might have to put a HDD in the new box also), but the rest is feasible.

So, disc loads data, sends it off to the box. box does all processing from there, then dual USB ports keep the controllers and internet going back and forth to the new box while also streaming data from the BD drive.

Why bother putting almost a full system in the other box? you can sell it a lot cheaper. no need for wifi, disc drive, bluetooth, backwards compatibility, etc... you could sell a $100-150 upgrade box that gave it capabilities far beyond what it could do now.

Christopher2931d ago (Edited 2931d ago )

Frosty, that's a ridiculous premise, honestly. It would have to be fairly large in size, have its own cooling system, rely on USB for data transfer to and from the GPU (or have its own GPU, which means even larger and more cooling), and it still wouldn't cover for the fact that developers will program their games based on memory limitations of the core system and not a subsystem. It doesn't change any of what I mentioned above and adds on some increased cost combined with additional shelf space for the item (it would also needs its own power source).

Your idea would cost a pretty penny, expand the space that the system would take up by a very good amount, and would still require that developers program for the lowest common denominator (something that _already_ happens between the 360 and the PS3). Just doesn't make any sense at all.

It's much cheaper to just develop a whole new system rather than a subsystem since the audience for the new system would be much wider than that of a subsystem and would set a standard of improvement for all games going forward to help promote the new system while maintaining BC of PS3 games/devices.

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Vherostar2931d ago

I think people are reading too much into this patent they would never release an external processor for the same reason MS would never release an external Hi Def player like Blu-Ray or HD-DVD for 360 for games. That reason?? It freezes out your older customers. Or at least thye say it is anyways.. We all know HD-DVD is dead and Blu-Ray is a no go thanks to the fact they would have to pay Sony cash for each player sold.

Marquis_de_Sade2931d ago (Edited 2931d ago )

I would rather they add extra RAM than increase the processing power

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PirateThom2931d ago (Edited 2931d ago )

Madness. Remember the N64 expansion pak?

IMChampion2931d ago

Very true, that did not turn out well at all.
Besides, like the article said, this could severely fragment the market.

The regular Joe Noname won't know the difference, only us gamers.

LightofDarkness2931d ago

Sadly reminiscent, yes. I doubt they'll take this on-board really, especially when you look at the Nav-contoller for Move. Because it doesn't come bundled in every Starter Pack, developers are reluctant to add support for it in their Move enabled titles, for the obvious reason that only a select bunch in their market will have had the savvy and interest enough in Move to buy one.

Multiple SKUs and abundant choice sounds fantastic to the hardcore among us, but to the average gamer it just sounds confusing.

wolfehound222931d ago

This would be interesting if they did do this. If so let's hope it isn't over priced.

doctorstrange2931d ago

A majority of the install base would have to buy this for it be viable, so it'd have to be cheap

doctorstrange2931d ago

This could make the PS3 even more awesome, but could also potentially be really harmful
Uncharted 3.5 baby