Wednesday, August 31, 2005

"Cell" Processor Chip

Reading an interesting article by Dr. Frank Soltis in the September 2005 iSeries News magazine. He's talking about the new "Cell" processor chip developed by IBM, Sony Group, and Toshiba. IBM always does great stuff with their chips and this Cell chip looks very promising to the iSeries future. Quotes below are from the magazine on pages 55-58.

What is the Cell chip? "At a very high level, you can think of the Cell chip as having a main processor and eithg I/O processors (IOPs)"

What is Sony Group doing with it? The PlayStation 3 will use this chip.

What is Toshiba doing with it? They have an HDTV coming out early next year with the chip. "Toshiba has already demonstrated a single-cell chip simultaneously decoding 48 differend MPEG-2 video streams. The 48 streams were read, decoded, and projected onto a large display that was divided into 8 by 6 cells, with each cell showing a different video. Future TV viewing might never be the same!"

Will the Cell be in an iSeries? The actual chip will probably not "but the Cell chip design will certainly influence the design of future iSeries processors."

"Consider that Intel delivered the first teraflops (one thousand gigaflops) supercomputer to the U.S. Department of Energy in December 1996. That supercomputer had 9,216 Pentium Pro processors packaged in 85 cabinets. It occupied 1,600 square feet of floor space and required 800 kilowatts (kW) of power. Today, just four tiny Cell chips produce the same performance as the world's fastest supercomputer did less than 10 years ago. That's impressive for a chip in your TV set."

However, he also says that the Cell is not made to run OS/400. The major influence for iSeries will be in the chip's design. This looks very interesting and I'm pleased to see IBM continuing the consortium to develop new chipsets.

No comments: