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  1. #1
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    PS3 Powerhouse Hits Cellular Snag

    from kotaku.com

    A little protozoa tells me that Sony is having a hard time deciding just how to put their Cell technology to use in the Playstation 3.


    Engineers are searching for the right mix of SPUs—those are the Synergistic Processing Units that give the Cell its polygon-crunching power—for the Playstation 3. The company is trying to find a sweet spot that blends cost, processing power and stability.

    Right now it looks like they are trying to really push the envelope with the PS3, jumping well beyond the four SPUs many predicted and trying to stuff six or eight of these sub-chips into the version of the Cell that will be in the PS3—just like the chip they showed off last month. Sadly, IBM, which is manufacturing the chips for Sony, is having problems fabbing an eight-SPU version of the chip for the console.

    A whole other group of people are feverishly working to finish the external design of the Playstation 3 in time for a super secret internal whoop-de-do being held in March.

    Sources tell me that Sony is flying people to their headquarters in Japan over the Easter holiday to get their first hands-on of the PS3. It’s just an internal sneak peek, but that’s still pretty damn exciting.

    It’s apparent that teams are racing to finish both the internal and external designs of the PS3 for some sort of looming deadline. While I think E3 could be part of the rush, I have a feeling we will be getting more details on the next-gen Playstation sooner then we think.

    If the Xbox 360 is more your flavor, make sure you read our exclusive details on Microsoft’s next-gen entry. Now all I need is the dirt on the Nintendo Revolution.

    view it here, http://www.kotaku.com/gaming/playsta...nag-033780.php

    It's good that sony is trying to make the PS3 as powerful as they can but they seem to be having some trouble doing so

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    There are only a few problems with the statment.

    A. The "super secret internal" meeting in March is anything but. Sony has publicly stated several times now that they will reveal more detailed PS3 information in March to everyone.

    B. Suggesting Sony still does not know how many SPU's they want on the PS3 Cell goes against everything we have heard so far from anyone including Sony. They have publicy stated that the PS3 will use the 8 SPU design already released.

    C. IBM is not manufacting PS3 Cell chips. Sony owns there own manufacting plants to make the PS3 cell chips. IBM having problems making 8 SPU's on a cell (even if that is a real problem) would not affect Sony or the PS3.

    Other than that this whole article looks to me like rumors made by someone who kinda knows some facts.

  3. #3
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    I do not even begin to place credibility on that article, but I will say the following.

    While Sony know what they want in the PS3, they may be trying to decide if they want to drop the number of SPU's in order to increase manufacturing viability. This would help them avoid launch shipment issues. I wouldn't be surprised if this is being discussed. Now would be the final time to do so.

    While IBM is not "manufacturing" the chips for Sony, IBM is largely in charge of making it manufacturable. They are helping to make the chip and thus helping to design the equipment used to produce it in larger quantities. If IBM is having a hard time making the 8 SPU version, this would directly effect Sony's ability to manufacture it down the road when launch comes.
    This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights. This is a personal communication and in no way represents the official or unofficial views or opinions of my employer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by siren
    I do not even begin to place credibility on that article, but I will say the following.

    While Sony know what they want in the PS3, they may be trying to decide if they want to drop the number of SPU's in order to increase manufacturing viability. This would help them avoid launch shipment issues. I wouldn't be surprised if this is being discussed. Now would be the final time to do so.

    While IBM is not "manufacturing" the chips for Sony, IBM is largely in charge of making it manufacturable. They are helping to make the chip and thus helping to design the equipment used to produce it in larger quantities. If IBM is having a hard time making the 8 SPU version, this would directly effect Sony's ability to manufacture it down the road when launch comes.
    To be honest even putting this article on the site, makes me question credibility for the entire site. I learned more from these forums then from that site, and to be honest more accurate information.

    That being said, it would be really hard for me to think Sony would not have the PS3 final specs drawn on everything including what we do not know. That being said, nobody outside Sony knows for sure, but we will most likely know in March and E3 in May final specs, so maybe we can look back at all this speculation then.

    The cell chip development (including manufacturing) has been solved for some time now. From what I have read the only thing they are working on is other Cell architecture. This would be including more and less SPU's for different purposes (not PS3), maybe that is why the discussion is being propossed.

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    are they sure?

    Hmmm... that doesn't sound right to me.... are the sure they mean SPU and not CELLs themselves? I don't see why 8 SPUs should be exorbitently more difficult to produce than say 4... maybe something changed going to 65nm??? Don't know really, but it's seems more logical to be having trouble pushing 4 or more CELL chips than 4 or more SPUs. The SPUs are just VPUs (Vector Processing Unit)... that's nothing to phone home about... also, I don't think production yields on those things are low.... why? NVidia, ATI, EE, G4 and G5, M$'s X2 chip, and so on all use VPUs ... what I'm trying to say is things like the EE wouldn't be as cheap if the failure rate was high, and Nvidia and ATI chips would be astronomical.. not that they aren't, but more so. Not to mention VPUs aren't anything new... maybe they're talking about the XDR interconnects being too difficult/expensive to utilize?? THAT would make sense...I've got nothing to back me up, but none the less... it doesn't make sense...

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    Understand that every chip out there has production issues. The more complex the design, the more difficult to produce.

    AMD and Intel have solved this issue over time by making both a high end and low end version of there chips. Usually the main difference is a decrease in cache on the chip. Why does this help? Simple, even though manufacturering methods for silicon chips has improved greatly over the years, there is still an extremely high risk of failure. What they do is they take the chips that have portions of the cache with a couple small issues, lock out that portion of the cache and still sell the chip. It still works, just not as high of performance.

    On to the cell. The Cell chip is about as cutting edge as you can get. Its size is roughly twice that of the highest end P4 or AMD-64.

    For starters, that means they can fit less pieces on a silicon wafer. Now consider that a silicon wafer may have upwards of a couple dozen failure points or more (more the smaller a manufacturing process you use, ie - 90/65). Producing less chips per wafer means increased failure rate. Then take the Cell Chips design and consider that it is built around the caching system. It also has virtually no room if any for errors in production. So as it sits right now, if Sony ships the chip you saw in the recent conference, any errors and that chip is completely unusable for the PS3.

    So, one option affordable to them to help solve the potentially highly expensive production costs and lack of ability to produce enough cell chips to meet demand at launch would be to cut the # of SPU's down from 8 to 6 or 7. In this scenario, if a chip had a failure in just one of the SPU's cache, they could still use the chip. The only case in which they would have to dump it is if the error came in the actually PE, which has a lower chance of production error comparitively.

    As for the PS3 specs locked in stone, or any console for that fact. Yes and No. Yes, all the console have had their overall design locked in stone, but almost all of them have had some change in clock speeds of various components within the final year before release. The Xbox increased the CPU speed but dropped the GPU speed. The PS2 dropped the EE speed down a notch. The GC lowered the Flipper speed and increased the Gecko speed. It happens, and I wouldn't be surprised if it happens again.
    This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights. This is a personal communication and in no way represents the official or unofficial views or opinions of my employer.

    Anthony Hanses - Owner - Colloquy LLC

  7. #7
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    Flippers, geckos?! Soon Nintendo will be a Zoo

    But any ways, Siren is right, every new bit of Hardware dose have its issues, and that nothing can really run smothly till you get into the 'jive' of makeing them, this could risk sony putting their launch date back further, but we will know were getting properly working PS3 in our hands while we walk out of the games shop.

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    Mmm... that was quite helpful Siren, I'm kinda ashamed that I didn't think about the Silcon imperfections... you forget about those things when all you've really done is sim stuff... I also keep forgetting how BIG the CELL is...ah well...

    ah, yeah, and I agree with you in terms of speed... I'm betting the CELL won't run much faster than the XBox2 rumored at 3.5GHz instead of the potential 4.6... well, Sony might push it a little higher than the X2 so as to claim superiority... but none-the-less...

    With production issues flaring (well, assuming Kotaku is trustable...assuming) what do you think we'll be expecting from the CELL?? I mean they can't sell PS3s with differnet numbered SPUs ... mine can't have 6 will John Doe's has 7.... maybe the imperfect ones will head off to toshiba for tv and video stuff?? Sounds like a plan to me...no?

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    Yeah they can change some speeds in final products before launch, but change a piece of the hardware physically? I cannot see a physical change in hardware after a point in time when are creating dev kits, all the "hardware" is pretty much set, now you can change individual speeds, jumpers, that kind of stuff sure.

    From what I have heard the cell released (the 8 SPU PS3 version) is set, and production (for dev kits) has already began by Sony with little to none productions problems at least.

    Just from pointing out the several mistakes I did in the start of this thread brings anything posted on this guy site into question. I mean this was obviously not written by someone with a college degree ("secret internal whoop-de-do") or anyone with actual inside information that we should know or care about.

    I do believe their are and will be production problems on the PS3, (as well as X-Box 2 or any other system) but the cell, design and production, I cannot see that as a problem. Now I do know there are trying to make other count SPU's for other devices (TV's ect..) so that would make sense if they are running into trouble with those at this point, since this is a new production design being worked at the time. I would be willing to bet money on the final cell SPU's count for the PS3.
    One high-profile developer who has seen both the PS3 and XBox 2 technology recentley whispered into my innocent ear, "The next PlayStation is way, way, more powerful than Xbox 2. It's insanely powerful."... Source E.G.M.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DezNutz
    From what I have heard the cell released (the 8 SPU PS3 version) is set, and production (for dev kits) has already began by Sony with little to none productions problems at least.
    Well there are always part failures, there's nothing you can do about that. Production can be perfect and you will still have parts come out that are unusable, and many more that are only barely usable, and break shortly thereafter. This is true in EVERY manufacturing process.

    So there are certain to be some failures in the cell chip, but the problem is that if the ration of failures to good parts is statistically worse off with 8, they might just as well go with a lower number to make sure they can ship enough fast enough.

    It sounds believable to me that at this stage this question would come up. They start producing, and they find out that their fault rate is higher than acceptable, so they need to decide what to do. They decide to just use 6 or 7 instead of the eight, and that way lowers their fault rate considerably.

    Kind of dangerous number manipulation to me, but if it works then I couldn't care less.
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  11. #11
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    Armored Core Dated in Japan

    Why do people depend on eachother? ...When in the end your on your own.

  12. #12
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    Live: http://ps3land.com/article-795.php


    The Japanese launch date of Armored Core 4, From Software's upcoming mech title, has been set as the 14th of December, according to an announcement made by the game development company. An exact release date has yet to be set for other regions, although it has been estimated as the Spring of 2006.

    Armored Core 4 was first unveiled at the Tokyo Game Show last year and was codenamed Project Force. It has been confirmed that the game will feature an updated damage system, more customization when it comes to Armored Cores, and an online mode. This will be the first Armored Core game to be online-capable.

    At the moment, few other details about the game, other than the storyline, have been confirmed. The price and cover art remains to be revealed. SEGA has announced that Armored Core 4 will be shipping on both the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360.
    Why do people depend on eachother? ...When in the end your on your own.

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