While much of their GDC presentation was cloaked in techno-babble and industry-speak, Sony reps Mark DeLoura and Dominic Mallinson underscored the paradigm-shifting approach Sony is taking with its future console.
“The goal for the developers is to create the next generation of entertainment,” declared Mark DeLoura, Manager of Developer Relations, Sony Computer Entertainment America.
Sony, IBM, and Toshiba co-developed and unveiled the specs on the Cell chip in early February. The 4 GHz architecture is comprised of a 64-bit Power processor core, which is surrounded by eight Synergistic Processor Units (which themselves house four Floating Point Units), for a chip capable of delivering 256 gigaflops at 4 GHz.
According to Dominic Mallinson, Director, Sony Computer Entertainment America R&D, “We can run multiple operating systems on the chip at the same time.” He later added, “Each operating system can protect the others from crashes or security problems.”
Mallinson and DeLoura also detailed that unlike the PS2, PS3's Cell technology will allow designers to program for it in more complex languages, such as C/C++.
Additionally, the Cell will support Collada XML for PS3's art assets interchange, and the OpenGL ES applications programming interface for 3-D graphics. A partnership with NVIDIA will see the graphics card maker begin producing PS3 GPU by the end of 2005.
In a January interview with Xbitlabs.com, NVIDIA corporate marketing head David Roman said, “This is the next generation GPU […] It will support DirectX 9, Shader Models 3; it will be the most feature-rich, the most powerful GPU that we've ever created.”
Sony's GDC presentation comes just a day after the news that top members of Sony's high command will get the first look at the PS3 in action during a closed door presentation in Japan next week.
The GDC has been rife with talk of those rumors, but alas, no one from SCEA is saying or denying anything.