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PS3 Cell Processor 'Broken'?

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the it's-drinking dept.

417

D-Fly writes "Charlie Demerijian at the Inquirer got a look at some insider specs on the PS3, and says, Sony screwed up big time with the Cell processor; the memory read speed on the current Devkits is something like 3 orders of magnitude slower than the write speed; and is unlikely to improve much before the ship date. The slide from Sony pictured in the article is priceless: 'Local Memory Read Speed ~16Mbps, No this isn't a Typo.' Demerjian says when the PS3 comes out a full year after the XBox360, it's still going to be inferior: 'Someone screwed up so badly it looks like it will relegate the console to second place behind the 360.'" This is the Inquirer, so take with a grain of salt. Just the same, doesn't sound too good for Sony or IBM.

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417 comments

Go Sony, go! (3, Interesting)

timecop (16217) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471410)

What is this 'local memory'? On-die cache? How the fuck can you screw that up to make it 16Mbit?

PS3 is way overkill for a console anyway. What are they thinking? Not everyone needs a console with 1GB of memory, huge HDD, which also doubles as a DVD Player/Entertainment center/Memory stick player (you betcha sony is already adding THAT feature), oh and can also play some games.

I'm all for Nintendo's new console. Its cheap, it will have amazing games AND they're not trying to make it the center of your digital home.

Re:Go Sony, go! (2, Interesting)

Ford Prefect (8777) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471458)

Is it memory local to the graphics subsystem, or something?

If so, then presumably getting the graphics chip to copy stuff out into main memory for the central processor to read would be the sensible workaround. But still, 16MB/s seems more like a throwback to the age of my old Atari ST. I think that could manage a few megabytes a second...

Re:Go Sony, go! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15471464)

How much cock did Wiintendo suck for CumTaco to be allowed to spread their anti-Sony-FUD here?

Note: PS3 is a console for real men, Wheeee! is a toy for Linux-users and other faggots.

Re:Go Sony, go! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15471485)

Note: PS3 is a console for real men, Wheeee! is a toy for Linux-users and other faggots.

Not trying to flamebait here, but what is one of the OS's that will be running on PS3? Hint, it starts with L and ends with X.

Re:Go Sony, go! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15471562)

How much cock did Kutaragi suck for you and a legion of other fanboys to be moronic enough to defend PS3 even though everyone in the industry is with serious doubts about it?

Note: PS3 is a console for men trying to over-compensate certain...huh... shortages. Wii is a toy for everyone (as much as a Porsche, for instance is a toy for those who can afford one)

Re:Go Sony, go! (4, Funny)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471469)

Exactly. I'd rather have a console that has a 3-core cpu, 512 MiB memory, 20 GiB hardrive, and etherner ports. Oh wait...

Re:Go Sony, go! (2, Interesting)

ClamIAm (926466) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471470)

What is this 'local memory'? On-die cache? How the fuck can you screw that up to make it 16Mbit?

I'm wondering the same thing. I simply cannot believe that the cache in this processor would be this slow (at least for read ops). I'm betting on this having something to do with the Cell architecture that got lost in translation.

Re:Go Sony, go! (5, Funny)

Bromskloss (750445) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471509)

AND they're not trying to make it the center of your digital home.
My other home is a digital home.

Re:Go Sony, go! (5, Informative)

adubey (82183) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471551)

On the cell processor [wikipedia.org], local memory is similar to a cache, but is not "transparently" managed by the CPU. Rather, the software must explicitly say what it wants to have in the local memory.

Re:Go Sony, go! (3, Informative)

robosmurf (33876) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471753)

Informative, yes (and with a good link), but not relevant to this discussion.

In the slide attached to the article, the "Local Memory" is the memory local to the RSX graphics system, NOT the Cell local memory.

Re:Go Sony, go! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15471598)

I'm all for Nintendo's new console. Its cheap, it will have amazing games AND they're not trying to make it the center of your digital home.

Yet another desperate shill for the Nintendo Wii in a story which is not about the Nintendo Wii. "Amazing games"??? How many Wii games have you played so far? Oh, that's right. Zero. No games have come out for it yet. The console itself hasn't even come out yet. All you've seen is mocked-up demos on a tricked-out game cube.

Looks like somebody else needs an intervention. [pointlesswasteoftime.com]

P.S. I'm not a Sony fan either. The PS3 really does look like it's going to be a steaming, nutty, light-brown lump of turd.

Re:Go Sony, go! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15471617)

"PS3 is way overkill for a console anyway. What are they thinking? Not everyone needs a console with 1GB of memory, huge HDD, which also doubles as a DVD Player/Entertainment center/Memory stick player (you betcha sony is already adding THAT feature), oh and can also play some games."

Is this serious or sarcastic? since when did the PS3 have 1 GB of ram? Last I checked it was 512.

And what's with the "and can also play some games" remark? Last I checked Sony had the largest library of games this gen.

http://www.beyond3d.com/forum/showpost.php?p=77068 7&postcount=4 [beyond3d.com]

Re:Go Sony, go! (5, Interesting)

Monkelectric (546685) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471694)

I'd just like to remind everyone that there was the *EXACT* same type of rumors about the PS2 when it launched. People were saying it didn't have NEARLY enough texture ram and "experts" were pouring over the specs and shaking their heads ...

And it turned out to be one fo the most successful consoles ever.

Re:Go Sony, go! (3, Insightful)

SQLz (564901) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471705)

And it turned out to be one fo the most successful consoles ever.

That tends to happen when your basically the ONLY console. Not discounting Nintendo but its targeted a very different group of people than the PS3.

Re:Go Sony, go! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15471727)

well that was all true considering the ps2 "specs" that came from sony. . . Next time they launch a console I'll be totally okay with the lies they tell me because it hasn't happened before, it probably won't happen ever.

Re:Go Sony, go! (3, Informative)

Pius II. (525191) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471735)

Sixty comments, and not one of them is actually setting this whole thing right.
Yes, the local memory can be understood as some kind of cache. It's local to the SPUs. Every SPU uses its own local memory, and can meddle around in it as it likes. The local memory is cache for the SPU, not the for the CPU.
There is no reason for the main processor to ever read from an SPUs memory.If you just want to send it more data, use a DMA. If you want to review the results of a computation, have the SPU DMA them to main memory. The speed of memory accesses from CPU to local memory is irrelevant, because it never happens.

The Sony slide says MB/s not Mbps! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15471737)

Please people, this is supposed to be a techie site...

16 MB/s is still a ridiculously slow speed, granted, but aren't we the last people to mix up bit and bytes like computer ads frequently do?

PS2 Vs PS3 (5, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471412)

Microprocessor Online has some an interesting analysis [ibm.com]. Pay attention to page 8, where the PS2 "Emotion Engine" processor is compared to the PS3 Cell processor. This is an analyst report for the industry of microprocessors.

If you really want to dig into the details of the Cell processor, check out Sony's resources [scei.co.jp]. You have to agree to a bunch of things to get to the pdfs but there's a lot of information [scei.co.jp] in them. Another place you can find information is IBM's resource site [ibm.com] which contains a lot of stuff including the programming handbook.

Re:PS2 Vs PS3 (0, Flamebait)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471445)

You have to agree to a bunch of things to get to the pdfs but there's a lot of information in them.

Cool, so what am I agreeing to before clicking on the pdf link?
Also, if you have already agreed (would assume its a none disclosure type thing) then why are you breaking that agreement and posting the links to the raw documents?

offtopic protest: This new redesign font sucks, I cannot read /. without twiddling my font size up for all pages and breaking the rest of the internet

Re:PS2 Vs PS3 (0, Offtopic)

DanteLysin (829006) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471451)

Use Firefox. The redesign is very readable using Firefox (Font: Arial, 15).

Re:PS2 Vs PS3 (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471502)

I am using Firefox.

It comes out by default as Trebuchet MS size 10 on my 1280*1024 display.

I have increased Firefoxes minimum font size to 15 and it looks reasonable now, but removing the default font size makes it look god damned awful.
I've broken most other sites by increasing the minimum font, but thats better than automatically scaling up.

I wonder if the slashdotter addin will be updated (old version allows stylesheet replacement).

Re:PS2 Vs PS3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15471507)

Also, if you have already agreed (would assume its a none disclosure type thing) then why are you breaking that agreement and posting the links to the raw documents?
I only linked one of the documents. I found that initial document by googling for pdfs anyways. IBM even hosts that document on their site [ibm.com].

Re:PS2 Vs PS3 (0, Offtopic)

Paradise Pete (33184) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471660)

offtopic protest: This new redesign font sucks, I cannot read /. without twiddling my font size up for all pages and breaking the rest of the internet

Command + doesn't work? I use that all the time now that my reading vision is weaker. It only changes the current tab, not the rest of the internet.

dev kits (4, Insightful)

whereisaxlrose (898923) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471416)

there is no point in judgin a dev kit. x360 kits were shitty too.

Re:dev kits (1)

Quarters (18322) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471651)

This isn't "judgin (sic) a dev kit". This is reading the specs for a processor that will be used in the console. With a projected street date of a little over five months away there's not enough time for Sony to keep taping out new prototype Cells. They have to get near-to-final dev kits in developers' hands asap.

Re:dev kits (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471709)

Not even a point in judging Sony when they tell the devs to not read from local memory, and doesn't mention upcoming steppings to solve this? That seem to tell me that this will be a real issue. If not, it seems to me they'd rather have been very eager to tell it was being worked on.

Re:dev kits (3, Interesting)

masklinn (823351) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471736)

Actually no, the reports I've seen by devs on dev kits placed the Xbox360 as the best dev kits, the Wii dev kits as good with bonus points for being extremely close to GC's devkits (which means that adaptation is extremely fast for the teams which had previously worked on GC games) and that PS3 devkits were utterly and completely shitty and not helped by the inherently complex architecture of the PS3 (read: PS3 is already complex enough that the devs wouldn't want a devkit making it even harder to dev on it)

Inquirer, yes, but... (4, Insightful)

Southpaw018 (793465) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471423)

I'm aware that, in the past, The Inquirer has published questionable articles. However, they've certainly got a revealing picture to back it up here...unless they're outright lying and they photoshopped something, why should we take this story with a grain of salt?

Re:Inquirer, yes, but... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15471482)

... because they might be lying outright and might have photoshopped something!

Re:Inquirer, yes, but... (4, Insightful)

datafr0g (831498) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471503)

That picture could be genuine but could also have been an unprotected powerpoint slide show that anyone could have edited - that's the way I would have forged it if I was so inclined and had the chance.

By the way, I'm not discounting that it could be real - it's got me curious enough to look on the web for the last 10 mins for some documentation to back up the claims in the story.. I couldn't find anything though.

Anyone got any real documentation or anything to back up the claim?

Re:Inquirer, yes, but... (2, Insightful)

Total_Wimp (564548) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471519)

unless they're outright lying and they photoshopped something, why should we take this story with a grain of salt?

For the same reason Pons and Fleishman shouldn't have popped champagne corks over cold fusion. A single source is often wrong.

I'll wait for the equivalent of scientific concensus.

TW

Re:Inquirer, yes, but... (1)

Southpaw018 (793465) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471555)

Excellent point, actually. I don't see any corroberation and, alas, the boss calls. Gotta stop looking. You can bet I'm going to be waiting for a followup story.

Re:Inquirer, yes, but... (0)

elmo1618 (955720) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471708)

"scientific consensus" is just political correctness practiced by guys with degrees

Re:Inquirer, yes, but... (5, Insightful)

robosmurf (33876) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471611)

Because the picture isn't the thing that matters. It's been misinterpreted.

The picture says that the read speed for the Cell from "Local Memory" is 16Mb a second. Assuming it is true (I've got no reason to doubt it), then it still doesn't matter.

The "Local Memory" is the RSX graphics memory. The Cell shouldn't need to read this. The PS3 would still work even if the Cell couldn't read this memory at all. This memory is where you store textures and other graphics data.

Re:Inquirer, yes, but... (1)

Nossie (753694) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471614)

I've read the inq well for years... and they are very much a tabloid IT news site. What I have found however is that they don't follow the usual US PR crap and aren't afraid to post information that might get them sued ('think' apple ) That and the fact they have ears everywhere usually means there is some amount of truth in every story they post.

Not the National Enquirer (4, Insightful)

the packrat (721656) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471748)

This isn't the online IT arm of the National Enquirer, you know.

The Inq isn't always right, but what the do tend to have is a lot of news-breaking stuff that they're (well, Mike) is willing to publish regardless of the consequences when the corporate heads find out there's a leak. Thats' why Mike got eased out of The Register when it went more corporate to form the Inq in the first place.

Those who have been following it for a while will remember all the appearances of leaked memos from Compaq (ex-DEC) insiders who were willing to leak happily to someone of the old school who was interested in seeing how the whole fiasco was turning out. Compaq/HP even started internal witchhunts looking for the leakers.

Regardless, the only real problem people might have with the Inq is they can't distinguish between an opinion piece and direct reporting, or can't accept that while the information as presented might be correct, it doesn't ensure that interpretive parts also follow.

Sorry, I was drunk all weekend.... (-1, Offtopic)

Trigun (685027) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471443)

I didn't notice the changeover until work this morning.

Looks nice!

Re:Sorry, I was drunk all weekend.... (0, Offtopic)

B0red At W0rk (876713) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471541)

Yeah but where's the thread where we can bitch and whine or sing praise?? I predict a lot of OT moderation today.

This is the Inquirer, so take with a grain of salt (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15471444)

"This is the Inquirer, so take with a grain of salt."

Should read "This is a positive for Microsoft, so take with a grain of salt. Poke holes in the theory and continue the Jihad! Microsoft is evil! Thought is not needed, this is Slashdork!"

Re:This is the Inquirer, so take with a grain of s (3, Insightful)

Frogbert (589961) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471560)

No it means the Inquirer is the digital equlivant of a rag.

How much you want to bet (4, Funny)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471447)

That Ken Kutaragi let his loser long-lost baby brother design the PS3 without looking at the thing or its price tag until it was unvieled?

Re:How much you want to bet (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15471526)

Homer Simpson isn't a loser. That's the main point of The Simpsons.

Yes, I take it far too seriously.

Re:How much you want to bet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15471582)

Sony has just announced that the PS3 is now named "The Homer".

main memories read speed is 25GB/s (5, Insightful)

sckeener (137243) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471457)

So what is the difference between the local memory 16MB/s and the main memory 25GB/s 'reading'?

I assume the local memory is not going to be used much for 'reading' and only main memory is going to be used.

Re:main memories read speed is 25GB/s (1)

DoctorBit (891714) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471628)

The great thing about using write-only memory is that they can have an infinite amount of it. Heh heh.

Re:main memories read speed is 25GB/s (2, Funny)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471669)

"I assume the local memory is not going to be used much for 'reading'"

So what are we talking about here, write-only memory?

Conjecture, rumour, guessing, lies, FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15471460)

I thought things might settle down after E3, silly me. I can't wait until xmas time, not because of the goodies that will be available, just so we can stop it with these fan boy/anti fan boy, gonzo journalistic articles that are constantly popping up.

D-Fly, you piece of shit: Mbps != MB/s (1)

lennyhell (869433) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471463)

The picture reads 16MB/s, your summary reports 16Mbps. Can you please stop smoking crack while writing your shit here? Die.

Re:D-Fly, you piece of shit: Mbps != MB/s (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15471581)

I was just about to post the exact same thing. It amazes me that:
1) The poster had no clue
2) Zonk (and for that matter, the whole /. editing kiddie troupe) seems to have no clue
3) This mistake happens _constantly_ on /., and it's constantly pointed out and constantly ignored
4) Anyone with even a basic understanding of computers wouldn't make this mistake

Just more proof that "IT" != computer science

Re:D-Fly, you piece of shit: Mbps != MB/s (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471734)

Just more proof that "IT" != computer science

Oh come ooooooooon! The next thing you know you'll be claiming that picking up garbage != sanitation engineering.

KFG

It was reggie (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15471476)

Reggie walked in and punched the Cell Processor in the chipset, ate the design team as a small snack on the way out, then drove away from sony HQ in a Big Damn Truck... laughing all the way.

DevKit (1)

should_be_linear (779431) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471487)

DevKit is broken, maybe whole line of it. What it means for final console? Nothing.

Re:DevKit (3, Informative)

Splab (574204) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471543)

Pay attention. The article says that SONY is telling the developers to avoid using local memmory at all - that means, it won't be fixed in the retail version.

Re:DevKit (3, Informative)

robosmurf (33876) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471652)

No, Sony are telling developers not to read from "local memory" using the Cell. This is not the same thing at all.

There is nothing to fix. This is by design.

The "Local Memory" is the RSX graphics memory. The Cell has no need to read from this.

That one Simpsons episode (4, Funny)

August_zero (654282) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471510)

This reminds me, I am certain to be cruicified for not remembering this bit of trivia, but the PS3 is looking more and more like that car that Homer designed for his brother....

What was that called again?

Re:That one Simpsons episode (2, Informative)

TheIndifferentiate (914096) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471636)

"Powerful, like a gorilla, yet soft and yielding like a Nerf ball." It was called "The Homer," I believe.

Re:That one Simpsons episode (1)

datafr0g (831498) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471742)

This reminds me, I am certain to be cruicified for not remembering this bit of trivia, but the PS3 is looking more and more like that car that Homer designed for his brother....

Bubble domes and a horn that plays La Cucaracha... eh?
There's still time! Thanks for the idea kid!

-Director of Marketing
-Sony Computer Entertainment



Why... (3, Insightful)

dosle (794546) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471511)

I can't imagine why Sony would add the text "this is not a typo" underneath the below average local read speed unless they are planning to release the final PS3 public version with much higher read speeds. If you can program a game to run great with the low read barrier then wouldn't you expect it to run ever more efficiently with the gates wide open in a final/public ps3 release? my .02c

Re:Why... (1)

robosmurf (33876) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471674)

Because they want to point out that developers shouldn't be reading from this memory from the Cell.

This is the graphics memory for the PS3. The Cell doesn't need to read this. There is nothing to fix. That is the point of the slide: to tell developers 'don't do this'.

Errm, they are dev kits, and it's The Inquirer... (1, Insightful)

Mark Gillespie (866733) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471512)

1/ They are dev kits, (with newer dev kits being shipped soon) 2/ It's the Inquirer, who have confirmed allegance to be Xbox fanboys and slag anything Sony..

conspiracy theory in 4... 3... 2... 1... (0)

C0vardeAn0nim0 (232451) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471527)

i know it's far fetched, but think for a moment, if you were IBM, a major IT player with lots to gain if you make peace with microsoft (after years of a bitter relationship, see MSs monopoly trial's documents for more info), who would you prefer to help: microsoft or sony ?

i'd bet on MS. making a kick ass CPU for the 360 would make easier for IBM to extract sweeter deals from MS in other areas and to placate bill's wrath in what concerns IBM's linux business. if this means screwing up sony, so be it.

nintendo don't have to worry, since MS itself already said Wii is not a competitor, but a good secondary console for 360 owners. a complement to the bigger console.

all i know is that i couldn't care less for the PS3. living where i live, earning what i earn, i can barely afford a PS2, a PS3 is waaay out of my budget. all i can hope for is to be able to afford a Wii when it launches, but i'll have to ask someone to bring it from US in his/her bag to avoid the enourmous taxes brasil charges over imports.

Re:conspiracy theory in 4... 3... 2... 1... (1)

itchyArse (786489) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471627)

"doesn't sound too good for Sony or IBM." Why would IBM feel guilty at all? They make the processor for all 3 current/next generation consoles.

Re:conspiracy theory in 4... 3... 2... 1... (1)

bWareiWare.co.uk (660144) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471633)

MS are using a cleaver new marketing technique when they say they don't mind the Wii being a 'second console'. (It is believed to be called lying).

Okay they can be blasé and say that owning a Wii doesn't stop you buying a xBox360. The can even be happy about Nintendo taking $250 out of the pockets of their customers so they can't spend it where they should, on MS games. But the is no way on this earth, that MS are happy that every time little Johnny drops by the games shop he will be looking at two shelves, only one of which will be earning MS their money.

In fact MS will be much much more happy with their games sitting on the shelf next to the PS3. When you have a head start to market, a largely similar product, and you can undercut the opposition, then you are happy.

A more experienced competitor with clever new ideas and a product set to massive undercut you is not MS's idea of a friend.

Re:conspiracy theory in 4... 3... 2... 1... (1)

kannibal_klown (531544) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471720)

It only makes sense to make the same type of chip and supply them to both companies. Sure, maybe one will have higher MHZ or more cache based on the customer's (MS or Sony) requirements, but the same design would be implemented. You make a point that they have good reason to keep in Microsoft's good graces, but favoring one big company over the other (by screwing one of them over) is just bad business sense, particularly in a case where both companies are such big players and their use of your product is so public.

There's no way in hell they'd "gimp" a version going to Sony for the sake of helping Microsoft, because they'd lose all of their appearance of integrity and lose a lot of business. After all, why chose a company to build your chips when in the past they've purposely screwed one of their customers.

Possible explanations (1)

Ancient_Hacker (751168) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471556)

  • A MSoft engineer creverly infiltrated Sony.
  • They got a great deal on 1103 RAM chips from Intel (Their first product).
  • Maybe "Local" memory means "Local to the 16550C UART"?

Re:Possible explanations (1)

mc calculust (738923) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471698)

What would a UART have to do with this? Would'nt a UART just be in places where there is a need for serial communication? As in the controllers or any serial I/O?

Does it really matter? (5, Funny)

MartinJW (961693) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471561)

I thought we had all boycotted Sony anyway! Or are we on another bandwagon this week?

Why ./ is bashing Sony so much? (5, Insightful)

lbbros (900904) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471566)

The subject says it all. It's getting really tedious. Why just not wait for the release and then make comments?

Re:Why ./ is bashing Sony so much? (0, Redundant)

Darth Maul (19860) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471613)

Why? Because they just keep messing up. They have idiots for management that keep putting their foots in their mouths. They are full of ego. They are assuming everyone will shell out $600 because "they are Sony". Sorry, but they really deserve a good bashing.

Re:Why ./ is bashing Sony so much? (1)

Takari (856622) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471637)

It's not just Slashdot, everyone seems to want a piece of Sony. A little clarification though, a quick search of IBM's Cell Broadband Engine handbook (http://www-306.ibm.com/chips/techlib/techlib.nsf/ techdocs/9F820A5FFA3ECE8C8725716A0062585F) for "local memory" says: The SPEs, in contrast[to the PowerPC core), access main storage with Direct Memory Access (DMA) commands that move data and instructions between main storage and a private local memory, called a local store or local storage (LS). So if the Inquirer was accurate about the 16Mbit/MByte per second speed it would mean each SPE can access 16 Mb worth of instructions per second.

Re:Why ./ is bashing Sony so much? (1)

mc calculust (738923) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471729)

I agree. There is really no point to a story like this besides pure anti-hype/speculation. It's fun to think about, but devoid of real context. When the system comes out, the games will be fun or they won't. Of course, we'll all have to rely on the uber rich to let us know if thats the case, as they'll be the only ones who can afford it.

Come on... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15471574)

give the Sony fanboys and their brand loyality a break, would you?

Everyone knows that it will suck. So do we really have to smear it into their faces before they'll be able to spend $599 on it?

Do you tell a dude breaking his neck while driving with a segway that he's a retard?

No! You sit back and enjoy the show!

Article completely misses the point (5, Insightful)

robosmurf (33876) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471578)

The "Local Memory" is the memory attached to the RSX.

That the read performance for the Cell from this memory is dreadful is no surprise. This is exactly the same architecture that has been traditionally used in PCs. Reading graphics memory from the main processor is usually really really slow.

This memory is where you store textures and other graphics data. The main processor will usually have little need to read from this memory. If it does, then, as apparently Sony says, you just get the RSX to write to main memory instead.

This is a non-story. People have dealt with this for PC games for a long time.

Re:Article completely misses the point (0, Flamebait)

DanHibiki (961690) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471707)

nono you don't get it man! Sony = bad! Ninendo = Good! Without that how will Zonk ever publish an article again?

Re:Article completely misses the point (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471732)

So, just to get this straight, Inq's comment about the consequences of avoiding reading from local...
This can lead to contention issues for the main memory bus, and all sorts of nightmarish to debug performance problems. Basically, if this Sony presentation to PS3 devs shown to us is correct, it looks like PS3 will be hobbled in a serious way.
... doesn't hold any water either?

For goodness sake... (5, Informative)

hptux06 (879970) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471585)

Does anyone ever bother reading the *IBM* documents for this? Never mind what Sony have managed to do to the cell processor, if you turn to the IBM CBEA developers handbook (page 75), you will see:

"Load and store operations (LS), 6 Clock cycles Latency". And that's the time it takes for the instruction to complete, not to be issued to memory.

(3.2Ghz / 6 cycles) * 16 bytes != 16MB/s

Personally, I'm gonna bet on IBM being right, seeing how they're the ones who made the bloody thing. I don't trust the inquirer anyway, but if those figures are true, the most likely answer is inefficiencies in their benchmarking programs, (Such as instruction starvation, a nasty side effect of using SPU's)

Re:For goodness sake... (3, Insightful)

robosmurf (33876) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471631)

"Local Memory" refers to the RSX memory. The Cell doesn't have direct access to this, which is why it's so slow at reading. This is also irrelevant as the Cell doesn't NEED to read this memory.

PC graphics cards have worked this way for years. Reading from graphics memory has always been slow as it isn't optimised for this.

History Repeats Itself (5, Insightful)

TerenceRSN (938882) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471610)

I've been hearing a lot of chatter about how the PS3 is difficult to program for, developers don't like it, Sony isn't providing quality libraries, blah, blah, blah. These exact same things were said about the PS2 when it first came out six years ago and it still managed to dominate its generation of console gaming. And it certainly wasn't true that developers avoided the PS2 in favor of XBOX or GameCube. As always the winner and losers of the console wars will be decided by the buying public, in the US, Japan, and Europe.

I think being too connected to the online debates about this stuff can make you lose sight of what the more average public thinks and bases their purchase decisions on. That's why the only real argument for the PS3's failure so far is the high price, not questions about performance or developer issues.

Is that 16mb total or 16 for each SPU? (1)

TehBeer (860440) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471618)

That's 16mb concurrent for each of the 8 spu's right?
How much memory are the CPU and the spu's going to be exchanging?

Most of the rendering will be done by the graphics card right?

Wow... (0, Offtopic)

MSFanBoi2 (930319) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471619)

Reading these posts shows one thing...

Sony can screw up (or rumor to screw up big time) and just about everyone is willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, but anything published on the internet that damns anything Microsoft does is accepted as the truth...

Re:Wow... (2)

robosmurf (33876) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471697)

There is no screw up. This is by design. This is exactly how PC graphics cards work. With the PS3 graphics system based closely on a PC one, it is no surprise that this is the case.

The "Local Memory" is the RSX memory. The Cell doesn't need to read from this.

Re:Wow... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15471749)

I totally agree... And I love it. If you want justice, try being a CompanyThatGivesAShitAboutFairnessFanboi2....

Come now (0)

ShockTerminal (877371) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471621)

The Inquirer??!!!! I may have to visit this site less now, I can'r belive your waisting my time w/ an artical from the Inquirer.

Why should I care? (2, Interesting)

buffer-overflowed (588867) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471632)

It's a dev kit, first off, second off it's the inquirer, which was formed from register rejects and doesn't have BOFH, and third off, I saw a UC Berkeley benchmark with an emulated cell that would seem to indicate this is a production problem, not a design problem.

But seriously, WTF should I care? I really don't care which console wins the virtual pissing match in the "ooooh shiny" department, if I was one of the people that did, the PS3 is already into the realm where $500 video card purchases begin to look slightly reasonable.

I'll judge it by the games, when they're released or playable.

Beautiful... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15471634)

"This is the Inquirer, so take with a grain of salt."

So - much like Sonys overhype of their consoles then...

16MB/s = CPU reading GPU memory directly (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15471653)

The The Inquirer article is rubbish and that slide is taken out of context. It seems to imply that the Cell can only read "Cell local memory" (whatever that is) at 16MB/s.

Memory transfer bandwidth between each SPU and its SPU Local Memory is something more like 25GB/s (gigabyte per second); sustained actual bandwidth between all SPUs is greater than 100GB/s; peak theoretical is greater than 200GB/s (assuming all 8 SPUs present for simplicity).

If you had access to the full version of the presentation (part of the full Sony PS3 SDK and technotes), you'd realise that that slide is part of a presentation about the RSX (the PS3's GPU). As such, when it refers to "Local Memory", it means RSX's Local Memory (eg graphics memory, video memory, VRAM or whatever you call it in fanboy/ps3/360-is-teh-suck websites). To be understood outside that context, the columns would be better labelled "Main System Memory" and "GPU Local Memory".

The Inquirer article seems to suggest that this figure of 16MB/s (megabyte per second, by the way, what the fuck is it with journalists swapping bits for bytes? why don't they get their shift/capslock keys fixed?) is some kind of show stopper. No it isn't. It simply means that the Cell processor has 16MB/s bandwidth when reading directly from memory-mapped GPU address space. So what? Unless you're planning on calling memcpy() or some shit to bring your data back then it doesn't really matter.

On RSX-initiated transfers you have 20GB/s bandwidth to do the same transfer (from RSX local to main system memory). Cell read bandwidth of GPU memory might as well have 0MB/s (ie no connection at all) and it wouldn't matter a bit.

Someone think of Sony!! (0)

ultramrw21 (889103) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471670)

alright, alright, I get it, Im not going to get a PS3. Maybe slashdot should stop posting these types of articles, otherwise Sony isnt sell any of them.

Yay! (5, Interesting)

rAiNsT0rm (877553) | more than 7 years ago | (#15471680)

About two years ago I decided to leave my post as a reviewer/tester for Sony. I had close ties with them for over 4 years and I began to have major misgivings on the direction and quality (lack thereof) that was being pumped out. I have been around the gaming industry long enough to know the beginnings of massive problems and they began a few years back.

Everyone close to me in the industry said I was crazy and that this would all smooth out and Sony would easily retain its market share if not grow more. I wasn't buying it and stuck to my guns, I'm pretty happy about my decision almost daily since day 1 of E3 this year.

I was against UMD from the beginning, yet everyone claimed that the sales were stellar. Looks like they weren't and they are proprietary, expensive, unwieldy little discs that no one wants to deal with. The "cell" processor was without a dobt my turning point, I have ZERO faith in it or the architecture and it will not become this ubiquitous omnipresent processor as so many claim, even IBM has major problems with it and designing compilers and dev software for their own product. Control schemes have been radically changed from initial proposals, and too quickly to be properly tested... that is a bomb yet to go off. System price and dev costs that are just too high for our current economic situation as well as for widespread adoption. There are more issues, but top it all off with a new unproven media that is also expensive and offers no real consumer advantages and you have the high risk of a catastrophic failure that could hurt Sony and IBM even more than they are already hurting.

The best that can happen is that companies finally lose the DRM/proprietary/Closed nature of their consumer electronics. Stop treating customers as criminals and start to offer them affordable and accessible entertainment that is convenient. I'd actually prefer consoles to standardize and become built into consumer electronics so that developers and consumers can really get to work on a stable and long lasting platform. Imagine the possibilities. There is a lot to be said for standards.
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