An Update to My Cell PC Efforts|
October 28, 2006
By: Jim Trounson - CEO Cell Industries
I am more convinced than ever that Cell Processor can replace X86. The
reasons have changed somewhat...
My initial reaction to the Cell was that the SPE's provided a method to
avoid problems from cache stalling and thrashing. The SPE's local store
memory allows and forces programmers to make sure the code and data required
are in the local store before execution.
This is still true.
In the last couple years there have been efforts to apply GPU's as general
purpose processors http://www.gpgpu.org/
In addition Ageia has released a physics accelerators card
Havok has released tools for this hardware
Peakstream has similar tools
That would imply the production of boards providing 200 GFLOPS, targeting
customers with the greatest HPC needs -- national labs, financial
institutions and seismic exploration users. This group is willing to pay
premium prices for the fastest acceleration they can obtain.
So there appear to be many technical alternatives to the Cell to accelerate
In addition AMD has acquired ATI and announced plans to combine CPU and GPU
functions with a single chip
AMD-ATI close books on merger, announce Fusion GPU/CPU program
10/25/2006 10:24:11 AM, by Eric Bangeman
Intel has announced extensions to the X86
Both Intel and AMD have announced plans to "open their busses"
AMD's Torrenza Intel's Geneseo
Nvidia has announced plans to add X86 function to its GPU's
Microsoft has announced work on its own CPU probably for next Xbox.
Microsoft is already working with PPC in its Xbox 360
here is a pretty good summary of the state of the X86 "standard"
The fact of the mater is X86 and the PC platform is forking and it is doing
so in several directions. This confusion and fragmentation will undermine
the X86 standard.
The Cell Processor addresses the issues which the above are trying to
address. These X86 forks might be available in 2008 time frame, The Cell
processor is here now, is low cost, and is backed by IBM. It is now my
opinion that Cell is required to create and maintain a standard during the
transition to multicore.
IBM created the PC standard. The IBM PC standard was created in 1981. It
is too much to expect that standard to be extended 25 years later. IBM is
now required to create its replacement.
IBM, Sony, Toshiba all agreed on Cell standard
Intel, AMD, Nvidia are all trying to do their own thing
Microsoft playing all sides.
Looks like the PS3 will support low cost open source OS, applications, and
software development tools
PS3 is a great start for Cell. I think there would be demand for a Cell PC
with slots, more memory, and formal support for non gaming applications.
Honestly there is no way to know how all this will play out.