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    Mark Cerny Explains Why they didn't choose CELL for this gen

    Yesterday’s Gamelab had Mark Cerny as a special guest. Cerny is the lead architect on the PlayStation 4 and is one of the important figures behind the development of Sony’s next gen console.
    At one point during his presentation he talks about how he came to the conclusion that the PS4 did not needed a Cell processor but something more standard i.e. the x86 architecture.
    “After the PlayStation 3 shipped, the hardware team immediately started working on reducing the manufacturing costs of the console. And in 2007 they also began a post modern analysis of PlayStation 3. What had worked and what had’nt, with the goal of beginning of the basic direction to take with the next console,” he said during the presentation.

    He talks about how he had two ways in approaching the CPU for the PS4. Either make the Cell more powerful or go for the x86 architecture.
    “In other words this was the initial step in creation of PlayStation 4. And for the first time in Sony Computer Entertainment’s history, this process was inclusive and collaborative, the ICE team, the other tools, the other technology teams were invited to participate. Now the most obvious path though was to continue using CELL. Though the learning curve was steep, it was clear that mastery of SPUs was leading to some amazing titles like Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, so it was an definitely was an option to continue using CELL. Perhaps even enhancing it to make it more powerful or easier to use. But there were other options too, we can move to a more conventional architecture with just a CPU and a GPU. If we went with that approach, choosing a CPU will be a very big deal because that will determine which vendor we work with and thereby determine pretty much every aspect of our project. Timeline, business structure, development cost in a way. So there were two main possibilities for the CPU, the power PC architecture that we used in the PS3 and the CELL, and the x86 architecture used in pretty much every modern PC.”

    “The conventional wisdom as expressed by the number of first party game programmers was that the x86 architecture was unusable in a games console. Now I took this very seriously and thought that a console needs to be competitive with a much more powerful PC and if game programmers need straight forward power PC architecture to make that happen. I understand. I just wondered whether this is true, cause the potential design space for the PlayStation 4 was going to pretty limited for using the x86 CPU.”

    He then talks about how he spent his holidays researching 30 years of x86′s history and finally concluded that this is something that programmers can embrace.
    “So I spent my 2007 holiday in researching the 30 some year history of the x86, all the way from its creation in the 1970′s to the recent enhancements. My conclusion was that the conventional wisdom had been correct but progressive enhancements by Intel and AMD have finally resulted into something console programmers can embrace. And then I started thinking. I just sacrificed my holiday to investigate some philosophical points of a console that I am not really assigned to be working on and won’t be releasing for another 5 years. That’s passion, that’s enthusiasm and may be I should consider working on this project more deeply.”
    http://gamingbolt.com/mark-cerny-exp...ell-in-the-ps4
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    ...and developers rejoiced. I'm glad they went with a familiar architecture this time... and apparently all the devs feel the same way. Although, had they done the CELL again... devs will already have had many years of experience with it, so it wouldn't have been such a rocky start for PS4 that the PS3 had.
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    I <3 Mark Cerny

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    first off u just have to plainly admire mark cerny. the research he put into the x86, the architectural ingenious he did with the ps4, and the overall effort into the project. Sony made a lot of people happy when they didnt go with cell technology, and I think that's a big drawing card for hardcore gamers and developers. will the ps4 still be doing as well if they weren't doing x86, we can only speculate. but I don't think so


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    I have gained alot of respect for Mark Cerny over the past couple months, the effort and persistence he has put in to design the PS4 has shown and i believe PS4 is going to do very well this generation due to his efforts and wise decisions.
    Your life is the result of the decisions you make throughout it, if you dont like your life then it is time to start making better decisions.

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    I think cerny should get a doggone statue in his honor outside sony's hq lol


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    Quote Originally Posted by BrosephFTW View Post
    I have gained alot of respect for Mark Cerny over the past couple months, the effort and persistence he has put in to design the PS4 has shown and i believe PS4 is going to do very well this generation due to his efforts and wise decisions.

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    Using the cell would have not been good,it's good they are using a chip every dev knows

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    Quote Originally Posted by coolguy View Post
    Using the cell would have not been good,it's good they are using a chip every dev knows
    well I agree but u have to acknowledge what pbmonkey said about if they had went with cell again the devs would've already had years of experience with it so it wouldn't have been such a bad start(no plagiarism intended pb)


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    Cell's power is not needed and not worth the effort to extract it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sufi View Post
    Cell's power is not needed and not worth the effort to extract it.
    u think consoles will eventually go to that though? since most people say pc is superior to consoles and high powered pcs use cell technology 1+1=2 or no?


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    You have to wonder if we're going to hit a ceiling much faster without a more complex architecture though.


    Dreamcast was very easy to develop for too, and it was pretty much maxed out on launch.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RedOrb_Collector View Post
    You have to wonder if we're going to hit a ceiling much faster without a more complex architecture though.


    Dreamcast was very easy to develop for too, and it was pretty much maxed out on launch.
    you're referring to the ps4 hitting the ceiling like the dream cast did? not being a smartass I'm asking legit


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    Next-gen in general.

    I'm just afraid that they are going to run out of tricks very soon with an overly simplified architecture. The Cell had great depth on top of great power. We saw marked improvements in the games year after year, I would say only now with the Last of Us and Gow Ascension has its power been fully tapped.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RedOrb_Collector View Post
    You have to wonder if we're going to hit a ceiling much faster without a more complex architecture though.


    Dreamcast was very easy to develop for too, and it was pretty much maxed out on launch.
    this is what i fear too. and with the closeness to PC's there's every chance people move to gaming on PC's more. and devs follow suit.

    the PS4/XB1 CPU is weak sauce. granted, in a console it will run close to its design maximum, but still, its a very weak component by comparison. i'd wager it would struggle to compete with the i3's from intel (if that).

    with the 360 gpu using static ram not found in PC's and PS3 using a CPU not found in anything devs had no choice but to focus on maximising everything possible on the consoles.

    hopefully though, what this leads to is a quicker development cycle brining down costs allowing publishers to give devs more freedom to create something unique. by that i mean no more generic FPS. if you can't differentiate yourself graphically the next step is to differentiate yourself from a gameplay standpoint. that can only be a good thing
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fijiandoce View Post
    this is what i fear too. and with the closeness to PC's there's every chance people move to gaming on PC's more. and devs follow suit.

    the PS4/XB1 CPU is weak sauce. granted, in a console it will run close to its design maximum, but still, its a very weak component by comparison. i'd wager it would struggle to compete with the i3's from intel (if that).

    with the 360 gpu using static ram not found in PC's and PS3 using a CPU not found in anything devs had no choice but to focus on maximising everything possible on the consoles.

    hopefully though, what this leads to is a quicker development cycle brining down costs allowing publishers to give devs more freedom to create something unique. by that i mean no more generic FPS. if you can't differentiate yourself graphically the next step is to differentiate yourself from a gameplay standpoint. that can only be a good thing
    it always makes me sad when pcs and consoles get compared. I know u guys are smarter than me so answer me this: if the console manufacturers know the pcs are better at gaming than them, then why not use wtf the pcs use? yea I know about cell but I'm assuming there's other stuff like graphics cards that make pcs better(dont know a lot about pcs)


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    Quote Originally Posted by Fijiandoce View Post
    this is what i fear too. and with the closeness to PC's there's every chance people move to gaming on PC's more. and devs follow suit.

    the PS4/XB1 CPU is weak sauce. granted, in a console it will run close to its design maximum, but still, its a very weak component by comparison. i'd wager it would struggle to compete with the i3's from intel (if that).

    with the 360 gpu using static ram not found in PC's and PS3 using a CPU not found in anything devs had no choice but to focus on maximising everything possible on the consoles.

    hopefully though, what this leads to is a quicker development cycle brining down costs allowing publishers to give devs more freedom to create something unique. by that i mean no more generic FPS. if you can't differentiate yourself graphically the next step is to differentiate yourself from a gameplay standpoint. that can only be a good thing
    Yeah, I would take that trade off in a heart beat.

    I'm still more than happy with current PS3 level graphics to be honest, so if the PS4 at least brings a greater variety that would be more than enough to keep me happy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by forrma View Post
    it always makes me sad when pcs and consoles get compared. I know u guys are smarter than me so answer me this: if the console manufacturers know the pcs are better at gaming than them, then why not use wtf the pcs use? yea I know about cell but I'm assuming there's other stuff like graphics cards that make pcs better(dont know a lot about pcs)


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    To put it simply, PCs have constantly improving parts that you can buy on the market to improve performance.

    Consoles are closed systems, so their specs will never get better.

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    They will never run out of optimization opportunities. There's not a single thing bad about ease-of-development. I'd rather see the peak sooner than later so more games can take advantage of it and this will make developers find better ways to optimize such as better engines...better tools, they'll just have more money to spend elsewhere. I wouldn't worry about it.

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    With the fast moving upgrade coming to PC does anyone think that maybe this cycle will be shorter? Then the next versions of the consoles will be more compatible with the previous? i.e. PS5 and PS4 have more compatibility than say PS3 to PS4.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RedOrb_Collector View Post
    To put it simply, PCs have constantly improving parts that you can buy on the market to improve performance.

    Consoles are closed systems, so their specs will never get better.
    There Specifications never get better but they will always be more optimized than PC Hardware for Games in general, PC Architecture moves very fast with Haswell already out and running and in terms of power/compute it is definitely superior to consoles but the one thing consoles have advantage of is a more variety of Game Developers and since the Consoles Architecture/Hardware doesnt change it allows them to take advantage of it/do some considerably good optimizations and therefore make some stunning games such as the uncharted series which looks better than most PC Games in my opinion.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fLiPdAtwAy View Post
    With the fast moving upgrade coming to PC does anyone think that maybe this cycle will be shorter? Then the next versions of the consoles will be more compatible with the previous? i.e. PS5 and PS4 have more compatibility than say PS3 to PS4.
    I think the opposite is true chief. The only reason both went down this route was to save money. The way the economy is now, I'd be surprised if we ever went back to the smaller life cycle...we haven't done that since PS1...well except the companies that lost.

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    I think it was a mistake to not improve upon CELL and apply it to the PS4. I also think it was a mistake to go with GDDR5 ram instead of using XDR or XDR2 ram. I can't say anything about the graphics part of the chip but odds are, they could have done better with that too. My gripe with this coming generation is the fact that developers pushed the "EASY" button and took the easy way out. CELL forced developers to think before coding and developing; something that I think this generation will be sorely lacking.

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    I have faith, seeing as Cerny is at the helm and 1st and 3rd party devs were a core part of the design process. I don't know two ducks about game tech talk but if the people who make the games had a say in what we are getting, that's fine with me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Morganator View Post
    I think it was a mistake to not improve upon CELL and apply it to the PS4. I also think it was a mistake to go with GDDR5 ram instead of using XDR or XDR2 ram. I can't say anything about the graphics part of the chip but odds are, they could have done better with that too. My gripe with this coming generation is the fact that developers pushed the "EASY" button and took the easy way out. CELL forced developers to think before coding and developing; something that I think this generation will be sorely lacking.
    Reviving and Improving the old CELL Architecture would have had its positive advantages such as being extremely efficient at handling specific compute tasks and simply being a extremely powerful processor but the downside is that its a pain in the ass to code with, PS3 had development times from 6-12 months due to the CELL and it also gave PS3 that disadvantage in the 3rd party market because they didnt take the time to fully understand the CELL before it was put to use.

    PS4 went a much more simple way using x86 which is the main system architecture for PC systems, not only is it extremely easy to develop for but it is very familiar to basically every game developer out there, and Sony specifically went to both third and first party developers and asked for there input and all of them pointed out that they wanted "an x86 architecture" and for good reason. An x86 architecture means like i pointed out before an extremely easy architecture to develop for and therefore we will most likely see games coming out quicker due to the 2-3 month development cycle like the PS1 but also quality games from particularly the good developers that dont want to milk the money from a certain franchise.

    XDR2 memory is extremely power efficient and gives twice the bandwidth of GDDR5 but that all comes with a significantly higher price tag from which you saw last gen was PS3's major flaw when it released, people were not willing to pay $600-800 for a new console and sony has learnt there lesson from that so they chose to use GDDR5 which is still very fast memory and will certainly show particularly in the First Party Titles. XDR is cheaper than GDDR5 but is not able to be manufactured as quickly and that could cause all sorts of problems for sony aswell.
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