The PS3 hardware scaler: it exists, but Sony may not want it used

The talk about Sony's lack of scaling in their PS3 games has been going since the system was released. While it's arguable how many people the 720p-native games lock out from high definition resolutions, the fact that PS3 games can't support 1080i and Blu-ray movies don't support a 720p resolution is a big knock for the system described as being "true HD."

With the release of the new PS3 SDK to developers, horizontal scaling is now available; we have proof that there is in fact a hardware scaler in the system. This article is slightly technical, and the usefulness of horizontal scaling may be minimal, but this at least gives some hope for the future.....

Read Full Story >>
The story is too old to be commented.
UrbanJabroni4910d ago (Edited 4910d ago )

First of all, ArsTecnhica is a _very_ respected site.

Read the thread, but basically utilizing the scaler and the memory buffer is 50% more expensive than 720p. Scaling is _not_ free and developers need to implement it on a per-game basis. It also implements horizontal scaling but not vertical.

From Beyond3D:
"I wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't really a scaler per-se, although I *think* that's how it is being described to developers. We ran the story with what we knew - not with what we didn't. So hopefully we'll get to know more about this in the (near) future..."
Back to Ars:
In short, the speculation so far is that the scaling is done through a Toshiba Super Companion chip. However, the chip needs its own memory allocation to scale up to 1080 (or was it 720?).

At any rate, there is certainly no real prohibition on using the scaler at this time, which is why I'm a little bit disappointed at Ben for his subtle FUD. Right now, the only limiting factors are that the scaler takes up memory and additional rendering modes -- which are legitimate concerns in the development community.

There is a small problem though: near the end of the thread before interest dropped off, people remarked how the traces out of the speculated chip are routed in a strange fashion. If anyone can make sense out that, please post about it."

Read the thread, but basically utilizing the scaler and the memory buffer is 50% more expensive than 720p. Scaling is _not_ free and developers need to implement it on a per-game basis.

UrbanJabroni4910d ago

The issue of a hardware scaler is _absolutely_ not solved at this point. It isn't as simple as pointing to a piece of silicon and saying "Look! There it is!"

Mikey_Gee4910d ago (Edited 4910d ago )

.. but I hate the fact some don't see 720p as HD.

Yes, 1080p is nice ... but 720p is no slouch by any stretch !!

Scrumptious4910d ago

Sony was so busy trying to copy the guide button and XBOX Live from Microsoft, and motion controllers from Nintendo that they forgot to put decent chips in their machine.

Let's see, our Cell chip is crap...

Hey, we can get a good price on those 7800GT's, let's buy em and slap em in!

DJ4910d ago

The guide button was already on the Playstation 3 boomerang controller, and in fact PS3 controller was revealed a few hours before the 360 controller.

Nothing was copied. Unless of course you want to bag on Microsoft for having a controller with a d-pad and two analog sticks. Sounds mighty similar to the Dual Shock, doesn't it? =P

You say they copied Xbox Live, but the service is completely different.

Cell is proven to be significantly more powerful than any CPU on the market, including your precious Xenon. Hell, even ATI admits that RSX is more powerful than the 360's GPU.

Harry4908d ago

You might even go as far to say that the Dualshock analog controller was stolen from the N64's analog + rumble pak controller.

MicroGamer4910d ago (Edited 4910d ago )

Show me where ATI ever said that. The GPU in the 360 is developed from the not yet released r600, which pisses on Nvidias 8800 GTX. The RSX is slightly slower than a 7800GT so where is it better?? Also, Cell is a general purpose processor. It is not designed to handle games as well as the Xenon. The assymetrical design holds it back in many ways. All the execution units in the Xenon are identical so a programmer can send instructions to any of the three units for execution. In the Cell, the SPE's aren't capable of acting on all instructions . Only the PPE is capable of that. Many instructions can be offloaded to the SPE's for execution, but they still have to pass through the PPE first, which becomes a bottleneck as it has to handle new instructions coming in as well as information coming back from the SPE's. Keep spreading the disinformation, DJ, someone may believe you one day. Oh and considering that Microsoft started development of the 360 before Sony, they DID steal the guide button from them.

DJ4910d ago

So what's your point?

"Also, Cell is a general purpose processor. It is not designed to handle games as well as the Xenon." No, the Xenon is general purpose. It's a triple-core Apple CPU. Cell was built for SIMD code, something that games spend 85% of their time executing.

7800GTXs are clocked at 430Mhz, while the RSX is clocked at 550Mhz. We already know that the beta PS3 kits had 7800GTX cards linked up to give devs a taste of what the RSX could do. RSX wasn't finalized until around April 2006, so it's understandable that they had to wait that long.

And why is everyone asking for links? I get most of my information off of published articles and research data, not websites. Should I write MLA and APA citations for you or something? Come on.

That ATI link that Paul Cerula posted? The reason ATI was talking about the 7800 is because that's what was in the PS3 beta kits at the time; the RSX was nowhere in sight, and thus that's all ATI could base their words off of.

The 7800GTX was also the most powerful nVidia GPU at that time (over a year ago), so it makes sense that they wouldn't be talking about the 8800GTX. It simply didn't exist yet.

Spreading falsified information that the SPEs aren't independent processors is just disappointing. Anyone who's seen how many lines of code it takes to activate an SPE (3 lines, very short) knows that the PPE is NOT a central processor.

If you don't understand how CPUs work, don't post random BS because people like me will tear it down in no time. There's multiple ways to program Cell, and the "PPE as a central hub" is just one of many methods. It can be programmed like the Xenon CPU (something that 360 fans must cringe at hearing), and even ignore the PPE since the SPEs have superior performance. The PPE was put in for compatibility issues more than anything so that developers could ease into the platform faster.

Cell: more on-chip memory than Xenon. More hardware threads than Xenon. More cores than Xenon. 218 Gflops vs. 115 Gflops

Well Xenon reaches 75% efficiency max, while Cell reaches 98% max, but that's a different story.

I think the people calling me a liar simply haven't been educated enough to understand how these complicated pieces of silicon work, so I want you guys (yes, the ones that claim I'm lying) to explain why Xenon supposedly has no central core and why the Cell supposedly does have one. Also explain the truth about multi-threading (big hint:it doesn't exist) and how that affects coding on both platforms. You claim that I'm not knowledgeable, so I challenge the anti-DJ club to provide information, not links, on how these processors actually work. =]

achira4910d ago

how dumb can someone be to believe that the xbox360 cpu "pisses" at the 8800gtx. lol, you are a joke! the xbox360 cpu is crap! look at oblivion, pc has far better graphics when it has a 7800gt, look at other games, they look all better than the xbox360 games. the 7800gtx is far stronger than the crap in the xbox360. ms sells old junk and the idiots come here and say it is so superior, and dont notice that they talk such crap.

DrRage774910d ago (Edited 4910d ago )

this is a direct response to mr technical that posted response number 4.1 (dj), he went on a rant about the specs of the processors and how the cell is better and has more teraflops than the 360's processor, so i am calling his bluff since he seemed to be writing as if he knew what he was talking about....i challenge EVERYONE to read the following article, which is an UNBIASED TECHNICAL analysis of both consoles, along with what they are actually capable of...after reading this, i want all those ps3 fanboys to shut up about how much more "powerful" their precious ps3 turns out that our less-powerful xbox360 is better capable of handling 1080p games than the ps3, something it is supposed to be "superior" for...this article basis things on technical FACTS, not opinions like some people are posting....
notice that this article was written in November 1006, AFTER both consoles were in the market and available for comparisons.

BIadestarX4910d ago

DJ is always insulting the people on this site. He's always fishing to see if others don't know what he is talking about so he can try to convince others to run to the store and get a PS3. He knows he is talking crap. But he tries anyways. Ohh yeah, and 99% of the things he says he never provide links to support his argument.

Show all comments (27)
The story is too old to be commented.