Cell and RSX work together for best results
- Posted September 15th, 2007 at 10:27 EDT by
- 14 Comments
A research paper published by Sony this week shows some interesting numbers produced by a technique called deferred rendering, as utilised by the PlayStation 3.
Be warned that the report is very technical and requires a good degree of understanding of how lighting and shaders work to fully grasp. It may not be for the uninitiated but if you have an interest in algorithms and unusual computing platforms then it makes for quite a good read.
The idea is that Synergistic Processing Elements (SPEs) of the Cell/BE can use the chip's DMA list feature to gather "irregular fine-grained fragments of texture data" generated by the RSX graphics chip, returning shading textures in the same way.
This means that the many small SPEs can apply shading on top of the work that the GPU does to texture the game world, shunting some of the workload to the (potentially underused) Cell/BE. The end result is that more work can be done while maintaining a high framerate.
The example code used for the research achieved an 85 Hz frame rate at 720p resolution. The report states that although numbers like that are unlikely to show up in actual games, progress has been made to at least utilise this method to improve graphics and frame rates in game.
Feel free to download the report for yourself and see what you make of it. It looks to us like the choice of such an unusual processor and memory architecture are beginning to pay off for Sony. We expect to see great things from developers as they continue to learn how to take full advantage of the hardware.
- 5:35am EDT - September 15th, 2007
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- 5:58am EDT - September 15th, 2007
OK, dude, just go to google maps and look up a US address. It's that simple
- 6:01am EDT - September 15th, 2007
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- 6:12am EDT - September 15th, 2007
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- 6:13am EDT - September 15th, 2007
this isn't so technical
- 8:21am EDT - September 15th, 2007
Give it a year and developers will really get a grasp on how to program for the sexy black machine. Then they're gonna put out some awesome software. It'll just get better from there.
- 8:45am EDT - September 15th, 2007
@Mecha_Daddy: Isn't that what we were saying a year ago?
- 9:43am EDT - September 15th, 2007
psn id: gingo.... in 3 or 4 years developers will be making the best games possible but until then we will have to live with great games but not outstanding games
- 9:50am EDT - September 15th, 2007
@Jared: notice how far games have come in one year?
- 11:12am EDT - September 15th, 2007
interesting i think what the ps3 true power is that it can really work for itself and not have developers nitpicking at every single thing because the ps3 isnt anything short of a computer based gaming console.
- 11:33am EDT - September 15th, 2007
Cell and Rsx i think its showing so far with heavenly sword and other first party games. But games such as multiplatformed games its not showing as much because the devs would get lazy and just mock up a watered down version of a game and making it look nicer on the other platform, If they wanted equal shares they would use each consoles power to its advantage and ud notice a big difference for both games. Because of each of the hardwares differences.
Like assasins creed would look the same as on the 360, and the framerates for both versions should be equal if the devs take their time and put all their power,and soul behind the project to make the identical.
- 7:12pm EDT - September 15th, 2007
It will take time for programers to make the most of Cell and understand how to drive performance by using some of the SPE's. - but two issues stand in the way:
(1) First & foremost: It has to be worthwhile for developers to push the PS3 architecture. It can only be worthwhile if the developers think they can make some money from the effort otherwise they will continue to simply port games from Xbox 360. So what we need now is the price of PS3 to drop and Sony to really push out some games to grow the PS3 user base & atleast catch up to the others.
(2) The other challenge is the easy programing, large pool of talent and enormous power of the PC platform. The recent arms race between Intel & AMD and IBM has increased the PC architecture dramaticly over the past 12 months. We are about to see cheap quad cores and massive eight way cores with 16 x core CPU's being demonstrated now. This means all the graphic heavy games might by pass PS3 and go to PC. If Crysis is succesful it could see a swag of new games pushed to the top end PC market over the next three years.
As it stands now, the Intel 5160 Quads are eating the Cell and IBM has been forced to move past its own co-developed PowerPC based Cell with more recent PowerPC designs. Even the older G5's are more than capable of killing Cell and the price of these are suddenly starting to fall, so Id be surprised if some clever Linux based gaming appliances / media centers didnt spring up.
Anyway here are some benchmarks I downloaded from Geek Patrol: http://www.geekpatrol.ca/2006/11/playstation-3-performance/
bzip2 Compress (multi-threaded scalar)
PlayStation 3 - 124.1
Power Mac G5 - 168.4
Xeon 5160 - 1194.4
bzip2 Decompress (multi-threaded scalar)
PlayStation 3 - 99.5
Power Mac G5 - 133.1
Xeon 5160 - 1353.3
JPEG Compress (multi-threaded scalar)
PlayStation 3 - 94.8
Power Mac G5 - 103.0
Xeon 5160 - 877.6
JPEG Decompress (multi-threaded scalar)
PlayStation 3 - 72.9
Power Mac G5 - 119.2
Xeon 5160 - 788.9
So basically in performance the PS3 processor is going to be similar to the older 1.6GHz G5 versions but much harder for programers to push than the higher end G5's (2GHz and above). The 1 year old Xeon 5160's are absolutely trashing the Cell and the much newer 65nm QX6850 Quad Cores will put such a big distance between Consoles & PC and that power might prove to be far easier to harness than messing about with Cells SPE's and limited memory. Basicly developers can use Cell to make great games but its going to be a lot more effort than alternatives. Again it all comes down to the size of the user base. If its big enough the developers will be incented to work harder to make PS3 titles shine.
Bottom line: we need to quickly get 20 -30 million PS3's out there. Sony needs to step up and now do what has to be done. The clock is ticking.
- 2:54am EDT - September 16th, 2007
@The Cleaner - Very well put, but you have to bear in mind that these benchmarks will not have been designed for the unusual architecture of the PS3. I suspect they mostly just run on the PPE, which as you say is just a slightly cut down POWER 5 CPU. When people figure out how best to use the SPEs we will see a few changes, although I don't expect it to overtake the very mature x86 or even the "pure" POWER 5 architectures anytime soon.
- 4:31am EDT - September 16th, 2007
@kaith Be VERY careful, creating fake foreign account is against the terms and conditions you have agreed to. We have already seen Microsoft banning lots of people this week. Do you want to risk your PSN user ID and console ID being banned? I certainly don't. @TheCleaner Those benchmarks don't use the PS3's 7 other CPU cores, so it pretty worthless as a benchmark.
This will permanently ban this user and delete all associated comments. This action is irreversible, are you SURE you want to do this?!