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Cell Hits 45nm, PS3 Price Drop Likely to Follow

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the tiny-bit-smaller-makes-a-big-difference dept.

IBM 298

Septimus writes "At this weeks ISSCC, IBM announced that the Cell CPU used in the PlayStation 3 will soon make the transition to IBM's next-gen 45nm high-k process. 'The 45nm Cell will use about 40 percent less power than its 65nm predecessor, and its die area will be reduced by 34 percent. The greatly reduced power budget will cut down on the amount of active cooling required by the console, which in turn will make it cheaper to produce and more reliable (this means fewer warrantied returns). Also affecting Sony's per-unit cost is the reduction in overall die size. A smaller die means a smaller, cheaper package; it also means that yields will be better and that each chip will cost less overall.'"

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298 comments

Whatever (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22340004)

Yeah, PS3... yawn.

Balls out boys! It's Wii strokin' time!

The Little and the Big (5, Funny)

cthulu_mt (1124113) | more than 6 years ago | (#22340036)

I don't know what it is about measuring things in nanometers and terabytes that gives me such a hardon.

Thank you IBM.

PS: Please don't put Skynet online.

Re:The Little and the Big (5, Funny)

Goblez (928516) | more than 6 years ago | (#22340842)

This same comment in a few years will sound perverted if updated to use larger scales of magnitude.

"I don't know what it is about measuring things in picometers and petabytes that gives me such a hardon".

Effect on cost (5, Funny)

noidentity (188756) | more than 6 years ago | (#22340046)

Cell Hits 45nm, PS3 Price Drop Likely to Follow

"[...] The greatly reduced power budget will cut down on the amount of active cooling required by the console, which in turn will make it cheaper to produce and more reliable (this means fewer warrantied returns). Also affecting Sony's per-unit cost is the reduction in overall die size. A smaller die means a smaller, cheaper package; it also means that yields will be better and that each chip will cost less overall.'"

My only question is, will this reduce the cost?

Re:Effect on cost (1, Informative)

scubamage (727538) | more than 6 years ago | (#22340074)

For sony, yes. For end buyers? Nope. To sony this just means their profit margin got bigger.

Re:Effect on cost (5, Insightful)

McNihil (612243) | more than 6 years ago | (#22340446)

You would be correct if Xbox 360 nor Wii didn't exist. Prices will certainly drop or the units will be packed with more of other kind of technology (PVR) for the same price.

Re:Effect on cost (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 6 years ago | (#22341020)

What kind of timeframe are we looking at? I'm thinking about buying my first ever PS, would definitely be interested in getting a good deal.

Re:Effect on cost (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#22341166)

Have you even been paying attention? In the UK the 40GB PS3 is way cheaper than the original 60GB that they released, due to them cutting out features which reduced the maufacturing costs. IIRC they also were selling the 60GB versions as a loss leader.

Re:Effect on cost (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22340134)

No. It will still require 3.4 units of your eternal soul to acquire one.

Re:Effect on cost (1)

Amiga Lover (708890) | more than 6 years ago | (#22340378)

My only question is... I bet steve jobs is absolutely KICKING himself now the cell's out and proven itself to be such a highly capable supercomputer on a chip. Imagine a macbook powered by something like this, 45nm, 8 cores, low power usage, cheap... it'd outstrip every laptop known to man.

My only pity is that IBM don't still make thinkpads, or we'd have 8 core cell thinkpad linux machines. Oh serendipity...

Re:Effect on cost (4, Interesting)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 6 years ago | (#22340748)

Standard desktop OSs and applications do not yet really take much advantage of parallel processing. Once you get past 2 or 4 CPUs/cores there won't be any drastic speed improvements until individual applications are written for parallel processing.

Re:Effect on cost (3, Informative)

Amouth (879122) | more than 6 years ago | (#22340868)

Imagine a macbook powered by something like this, 45nm, 8 cores, low power usage, cheap...
And nothing to run on it...

Re:Effect on cost (2, Interesting)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 6 years ago | (#22341086)

There is a difference between being able to PRODUCE processors and being able to SUPPLY the cell processors. There have been more than a few occasions where Macintosh sales were hurt from CPU shortages.

With Sony and Microsoft buying these cell processors to supply a growing game console market, would Apple even have a chance?

Intel scored huge points with their ability to guaranty enough chips are available, and they sealed the deal by demonstrating their ability to customize the Core 2 Duo to meet product requirements. On the other hand, IBM couldn't even keep Apple happily supplied with G5s...

Not to mention, being a member of the x86 family has its advantages: Software, OS options, cheaper prices, competing suppliers (That are large enough)...

Re:Effect on cost (4, Insightful)

edwdig (47888) | more than 6 years ago | (#22341302)

There is a difference between being able to PRODUCE processors and being able to SUPPLY the cell processors. There have been more than a few occasions where Macintosh sales were hurt from CPU shortages.

That was mostly an Apple problem. When you order large numbers of processors, you have to place your order ~6 months in advance. Apple's strategy was generally to place a very conservative initial order then demand more chips immediately.

Re:Effect on cost (1)

xrobertcmx (802547) | more than 6 years ago | (#22341326)

Right now it is just Sony and a few other companies buying these to put in the PS3 and HD televisions. Microsoft isn't using them. The Xbox 360 uses a multicore processor based on the PPC, but not the cell.

Re:Effect on cost (3, Insightful)

Chibi Merrow (226057) | more than 6 years ago | (#22341216)

1) To call this a "supercomputer on a chip" shows a person to either have a complete lack of understanding as to what is meant by the word "supercomputer" or a degree in Marketing and/or Business. I'm hoping in your case it's the former, not the latter.
2) A MacBook powered by a Cell would be significantly less useful to the average consumer than the current crop of dual-core machines. Primarily because desktop applications just aren't that parallelizable. Not to mention the eight Cell cores are individually rather weak. Would you rather pull your cart with 100 Chihuahuas or 2 Clydesdales?
3) On top of there being no way for desktop software to take advantage of 8 cores, there's no software written for the Cell architecture in the first place. Except, as you said, Linux, which is great but uninteresting to 99% of the laptop buying populace.

Re:Effect on cost (1)

homer_ca (144738) | more than 6 years ago | (#22341360)

Yeah, supercomputer my ass. It's more like a specialized parallel DSP on a chip, just like the very first NeXT cube had a DSP. It's very good at certain calculations, but falls down on general purpose code.

Re:Effect on cost (4, Informative)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 6 years ago | (#22340390)

Of course it will reduce the price of the Playstation 3. Why do you think when consoles are first released they're $200-$300 (last generation for example) and then five years later they're floating around $100 retail? Some of it has to do with the bottom line, but most of it has to do with the falling price of components over time due to exactly what was listed in the summary, exactly what is happening here. This one event might not directly lead to a price drop, but enough of these do.

Re:Effect on cost (3, Insightful)

Cheeko (165493) | more than 6 years ago | (#22341580)

I don't think that anyone is debating whether the price of the PS3 will drop over time.

I think the general slant of the question was whether the price drops now as a result of this, or does Sony put the saving toward reducing their losses on each system sold.

Essentially the 2 options are 1) go for market share and keep taking a loss or 2) try to get each box profitable, and then worry about lowering the cost to the consumer as future improvements drop the cost further.

I have a feeling Sony will split the difference and sit on the increased profit margin for as long as their market share stays stable or until they have an exclusive to release. Then they'll pass a portion of the savings on to the customer in line with their eventual goals on margin for the boxes. (pass something like 85% of the savings on when they do drop it down the line a bit)

Re:Effect on cost (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 6 years ago | (#22341164)

It seems unlikely, I was under the impression they're not at the point yet where they make a profit on the existing systems, I'd imagine they'd at very least want to keep the current price with the cheaper hardware to recoup some of the cash lost on existing systems.

Introducing cheaper hardware whilst also lowering cost just means they'll continue to make a loss per console which doesn't seem too great an idea. Sony realised pretty quickly the main barrier to people buying the console was it's initial price and had to price drop pretty quickly, this only served to increase the loss they were making on the console initially with the hope of increasing userbase and eventually decreasing costs. I'm not sure whether they've managed to recoup the cash lost from the early days of the console even yet, that's something I imagine is their first priority before engaging in a price war with the other consoles as it's not as if the console is doing too badly right now even at it's current relatively high price.

I could be wrong though, the situation may have changed but I don't recall seeing anything saying otherwise yet and a quick search in Google doesn't seem to bring anything up suggesting that they have started making a profit from the console just yet.

Don't get me wrong, a price drop would be great especially by the point it'd happen the system would also have enough good games to make the console worth buying but I certainly wouldn't count on a cut just yet.

Since when? (0)

FunkyELF (609131) | more than 6 years ago | (#22340068)

Since when does going to a smaller process increase yields?
As far as active cooling....why not have an external power supply and then you'd need even less cooling.

Re:Since when? (2, Informative)

jd3nn1s (613014) | more than 6 years ago | (#22340128)

I believe it's because the chip is smaller therefore more fit on the same size wafer.

Re:Since when? (5, Informative)

ThreeGigs (239452) | more than 6 years ago | (#22340252)

Since when does going to a smaller process increase yields?

Always has.

Assume there will be 20 defects on a wafer that will render 19 large chips (out of 100) unusable. Your yield is 81%.
Same 20 defects, but affecting 20 small chips (out of 170). Now your yield is 88%, or 150 chips versus 81 chips per wafer.

The number of defect sites per wafer is generally rather constant, thus the more chips you can fit on a wafer, the better the yield.

Re:Since when? (1)

LordNimon (85072) | more than 6 years ago | (#22340604)

Wouldn't the smaller process increase the defect density?

Re:Since when? (5, Informative)

mikael (484) | more than 6 years ago | (#22340768)

The size of a defect is of a fixed size. Usually it is a particle of dust that got in the way of the optical etching process. The distribution of such defects is even across the surface of the silicon wafer, so the distribution can be modelled mathematically.
Suppose there are 20 defects across the wafer. If your chip were the size of the entire wafer, it would be guaranteed to be defective.
Try half the size of the wafer, and there would be on average 10 defects. A quarter of the wafer, 5 defects. If you have a chip that is one hundredth the size of a single wafer, then the odds are now in your favour; on average 20/100 that you will have a defect, 80/100 that you will not.

The Cell processor is etched with eight processors anyway. If one is defective, they can ignore it, otherwise if all eight are working, then they will just deactivate one.

I wonder how long it will be before they start adding more processors to the chip.

Re:Since when? (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 6 years ago | (#22340816)

My understanding is that defects are caused by imperfections in the wafer itself. The smaller process allows you to squeeze more chips onto the wafer but doesn't have any impact on the imperfections.

assumption (1)

dj245 (732906) | more than 6 years ago | (#22340792)

This assumes that the chips are small enough that there are never 2 or more defects per wafer. It may be possible that a bigger chip that would have 2 defects is split into 2 chips each with one defect each. Thus, the yield increases in a somewhat, but not completely linear fashion.

Re:Since when? (1)

hjf (703092) | more than 6 years ago | (#22340270)

so, the PS3's doesn't need cooling?. just leave the damn thing in. I absolutely hate power bricks. I still have an old Compaq Armada notebook from 1998. It doesn't work anymore :D but it's nice that it has the power supply inside. No need to carry power bricks around. I look at those huge Sony Vaios with 14 or 15 inch screens, and I wonder... so much space, and they can't put the power supply inside? I guess it's because the power supply is very likely to fail, so it's cheaper to replace a power supply than having to send your computer for repair if something goes wrong.

Re:Since when? (2, Informative)

timster (32400) | more than 6 years ago | (#22340414)

Power supplies also generate a lot of heat -- notice that those bricks tend to be warm under load, even through that insulation. Put them inside the laptop and you're adding a bunch of heat to a place that you want to be removing heat from. So you need bigger fans and it takes even more space. It's just unworkable.

Re:Since when? (1)

homer_ca (144738) | more than 6 years ago | (#22341440)

I doubt you'd want to leave it on. When the XBox360 went from 90nm to 65nm, power consumption [anandtech.com] dropped 50W, from 170W to 120W peak, but 120W is still a whole lot of watts. The PS3 is in the same ballpark for power consumption. The PS2 and Wii use much less. My PS2 slim uses 25-30W.

Because the die is smaller... (1, Redundant)

sirwired (27582) | more than 6 years ago | (#22340314)

It isn't the smaller process that increases yields, it is the fact that the ensuing smaller die takes up less space on the wafer. Less wafer real-estate == less chance that a defect in the wafer will occupy the space of a particular chip.

For instance, say one 300mm wafer has 50 defects evenly distributed over it's surface, and one wafer can hold 100 chips with the old process, 200 with the new. The 10 defects result in a 50% yield with the old process, a 75% yield with the new process.

That said, yes, almost all new processes take a little while to work out the bugs. But after the bugs are worked out, you can achieve much higher yields...

SirWired

Re:Since when? (0, Redundant)

willy_me (212994) | more than 6 years ago | (#22340392)

Since when does going to a smaller process increase yields?

Because the die size is reduced at the smaller process. If you normally get 100 dies from a wafer then you will now get 150. Of course this doesn't take into account flaws in the silicon. If you have 20 flaws then you could lose ~20 dies. This results in a loss of 20% at the larger process and 13.3% at the smaller process.

Often can (5, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 6 years ago | (#22340440)

The reason is that wafer size doesn't change. I don't remember what is current, 8 inch I believe (that's the largest I've seen) but regardless. So when you reduce the size of an individual chip, you get more chips per wafer. Now unless the percentage of chips that fail increases, that means you get a better yield/wafer.

Well cost is based per wafer. It doesn't cost any more to make a wafer with 1000 small chips than it does to make one with 4 big chips. In either case it is the same size wafer, same mask, same process, etc.

Now yield could go down if a company has problems with a new process. Suppose that the old process yields 10% non-working chips per wafer. You get a new process that yields 20% more chips per wafer than the old one, however now 50% of them are non-working. That would equal a lower yield, despite the more chips per wafer.

However assuming a roughly equal failure rate, shrinking the die size will increase the yield.

Re:Often can (3, Informative)

solarium_rider (677164) | more than 6 years ago | (#22341098)

Actually they have been moving to larger wafers with 90nm and below. They are using 300mm wafers (about 12 inches.) I think non-submicron wafers are about 180mm in diameter for most fabs.

Re:Often can (1)

edwdig (47888) | more than 6 years ago | (#22341428)

Back around '98 or so a cousin of mine was working at IBM's Fishkill, NY fab. He gave me a little tour of the place (unfortunately I wasn't able to see a clean room). They were just starting to roll out 300mm wafers then. As a promo, they were giving people 300mm round mouse pads to demonstrate the size. Cool idea, but the mouse pads were large enough that they weren't very practical.

"Likely" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22340070)

You know what means, don't you?

oh, hum. What else is happening? (1)

JCOTTON (775912) | more than 6 years ago | (#22340076)

Great. Company comes out with new and improved processor. Moore's law marches on.

Actually, I think that there are too many processors and cpu's. Too much internal memory. I yearn for the 8086 chip still. Or an IBM 360 mainframe. Now that was computing.

Re:oh, hum. What else is happening? (5, Funny)

bonkeydcow (1186443) | more than 6 years ago | (#22340294)

Moore's law is dead. Atoms aren't getting any smaller. With 5 atoms thick, when you try and go to 2.5 atoms thick, let me know and I'll get far away.

More SPUs? (4, Interesting)

zackhugh (127338) | more than 6 years ago | (#22340100)

This would be a great thing if they allow PS3/Linux users to access 7 of 8 SPUs instead of only six.


Otherwise, it's nice but not that big a deal...

Re:More SPUs? (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 6 years ago | (#22340156)

I doubt you'll ever see PS3s with 8 SPUs. They probably mask off one of them in the factory even if all 8 were working to start with.

Re:More SPUs? (1)

milsoRgen (1016505) | more than 6 years ago | (#22340654)

I seem to recall that is the case, the intended for 8 or whatever, found yields were dramatically lower than expectation, I wanna say 45% but I can't recall with much certainty, so they ran with 7... Caused a big hoopla in the gaming mags that were following the developments up to the PS3's release.

Re:More SPUs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22341048)

It has been reported, that due to worries on yields, that the requirement was for 7. Incase one was bad,they could keep going.

Pricedrop? (4, Insightful)

DrXym (126579) | more than 6 years ago | (#22340106)

A price drop would be nice (though the PS3 is now competitive), but the more interesting bit is when is the PS3 slim going to appear. All the pieces are in place for a slim. Sony have been aggressively shrinking the motherboard in the PS3, and the chip size has dropped from 90nm, to 65nm and now 45nm. All that means less power (smaller PSU) and less heat (less fans & heatsinks). There have been other announcements such as thinner blu ray reader headers. It can only be a matter of time before a slim and I think it will hit before the holidays this year. I think it will sell by the shitload too when it does appear. The question is will we see a slim 360 to compete with it? I think there must be a lot of empty space in the 360 too.

Re:Pricedrop? (1)

TheMadcapZ (868196) | more than 6 years ago | (#22340596)

"I think there must be a lot of empty space in the 360 too"

Shhhhhh, it is a secret. That is where they hide the fun!!!!

Raindrops (1)

milsoRgen (1016505) | more than 6 years ago | (#22340784)

"I think there must be a lot of empty space in the 360 too"

I'm not sure about current hardware revisions... but the 360 I have... not very much space to go around.

But with some hard work it appears you can thin it out a bit as demonstrated in the Xbox360 Laptop [engadget.com] . My only question would be the failure rates on these things due to heat issues. As it's already been shown your standard store bought Xbox is affected by the excessive GPU heat causing motherboard warping and extra stress to solder points.

Re:Pricedrop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22340802)

I think there must be a lot of empty space in the 360 too.
The space inside the 360 is not empty, it is full of hot air.

Re:Pricedrop? (1)

rjhubs (929158) | more than 6 years ago | (#22341190)

Given 360's are still having a high failure rate partially due to heat concerns, I doubt we see a slim 360 anytime soon.

Re:Pricedrop? (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 6 years ago | (#22341652)

Actually, given that Microsoft never released a slim XBox(1), I don't foresee them working on a slim 360. Besides, Microsoft has no initiative to make the 360 smaller. They can continue cranking out the current model and change the color of the paint for greater profit without having to redesign the whole thing again. (I know it sounds trollish... but kind of like Windows.)

Re:Pricedrop? (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 6 years ago | (#22341232)

I can't wait for Nintendo to make a low-cost slim version of the Wii as well. I'm tired of that overpriced, behemoth of a console!

Re:Pricedrop? (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 6 years ago | (#22341324)

I can't wait for Nintendo to make a low-cost slim version of the Wii as well. I'm tired of that overpriced, behemoth of a console!

The 360 and PS3 are considerably more powerful than the Wii. It's no surprise that it can fit in a smaller form factor than the other consoles simply because it is little more advanced than the previous generation of consoles. I doubt that any slim PS3 would get as small as the Wii but there is no denying it is bulky - a new model that was say 2/3 the size would be a very attractive side considering everything it does and would sell extremely well.

Re:Pricedrop? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 6 years ago | (#22341352)

Optimistic are we?

Wii STILL hard to get, it sells out everywhere even NOW! this has happend for over a year now.
Xbox360 has a crapload more games and a crapload of $19.95 games now. Same as Wii.

PS3, crappy game selection, overpriced, overpriced games!

Yeah, they'll sell a crapload. if a crapload is a sad example compared to everyone else.

PS3 CAN take off.. Price it at $299.00 including a game and 2 controllers.
Drop all game prices to below $50.00

until they do that, it will stay as the wannabe console that nobody is buying.

The last couple of paragraphs are the best (4, Interesting)

jandrese (485) | more than 6 years ago | (#22340110)

The article mentions the cost savings to Sony (maybe they'll be passed on to the consumer...two or three years from now), but the real kicker is at the bottom where IBM apparently had to maintain cycle compatibility with the old chip to make sure they don't break any games. They didn't use the die shrink to optimize or enhance any parts of the chip like you normally would. The supercomputer folks might end up losing out a bit in an effort to keep the game console folks happy.

Smaller die also means more die per wafer (2, Insightful)

exley (221867) | more than 6 years ago | (#22340112)

Which is another important factor in bringing the price down. Percentage-wise with more die per wafer yields may go up as well; but in the end yields will be dependent on other things such as how good IBM is with its 45nm process.

Upgrade? (1)

FatJackson (705023) | more than 6 years ago | (#22340116)

Think it will be possible to swap out the chip/board but still save my emotion engine? i cant be without my beloved emotion engine; i'll have nothing left to gloat about to my friends who don't have it now.

Re:Upgrade? (1)

azuredrake (1069906) | more than 6 years ago | (#22341022)

I doubt it - you'd have to change out the PSU as well, and the lack of guaranteed compatibility is not something I'd want to risk with such a pricey console. Just buy one of the slims and put it next to the old one. :P

It would be really great, IF (4, Interesting)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 6 years ago | (#22340154)

It would be really great that they are moving to a smaller process, (/me takes deep breath)

IF THEY WOULD SELL YOU THE DAMN THINGS!

Where I work, we approached them to try to buy Cell processors for our equipment: the SPUs would make dandy DSP replacements, and we really could use the closer coupling of the processors instead of having a bunch of DSPs and spending all our time schlepping data around.

IBM wouldn't sell us any modules, wouldn't let us design our own CPU board, nothing. They seem supremely uninterested in actually getting these out into the hands of anybody other than their own divisions and Sony.

HEY IBM! How about you guys release these in a MicroTCA formfactor, or as a module that can be integrated into a MicroTCA?

Re:It would be really great, IF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22341088)

Try working with Mercury instead.

Re:It would be really great, IF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22341200)

Actually there are third party organizations that are trying to pedal the Cell to other parties.

But the Cell might be more I/O limited than you think. You might do better with a bunch of SHARC DSP's.

But it you are using TI's, then I feel your pain, they are not designed to moving data and sharing the load.

Re:It would be really great, IF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22341274)

Have you considered contacting Sony about purchasing the units?

Re:It would be really great, IF (2, Informative)

mikearthur (888766) | more than 6 years ago | (#22341438)

You can get them in IBM Blades or from a company called Mercury that will sell you a Cell BE on a PCI-E accelerator board.

Re:It would be really great, IF (1)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 6 years ago | (#22341494)

And if you noticed, I needed the CBEs in a MicroTCA form factor, not a PCI-E or blade form factor.

Also affecting Sony's per-unit cost (5, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#22340202)

Is the fact they've dropped hardware PS2 emulation.

Re:Also affecting Sony's per-unit cost (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22340444)

Software emulation too, now.

Best Buy has already stopped selling the 80GB PS3 - the remaining 40GB PS3 has no PS2 software emulation.

They've stopped selling the 80GB version as well - if you find it in a store, that's remaining stock. They won't be replacing it, either.

So if you want a PS3 with PS2 support, you're stuck blowing $500. The new, cheaper PS3s won't have it.

Not that it really matters in any case - the Xbox 360 has proven to be effectively a superior console. Reviews are starting to come in comparing Devil May Cry 4 on the Xbox 360 and PS3, and the consensus is all that the Xbox 360 version is superior - and doesn't have that minor 20-minute startup cost required to bring in-game load times to parity with the Xbox 360. Then there's developers announcing that they're committed to not gimping the Xbox 360 version of multi-console releases to match the PS3 version.

Sony better get the cheaper PS3s out soon - the PS3 is in BAD shape. Sony killing backwards compatibility is confusing, but whatever. They are.

Re:Also affecting Sony's per-unit cost (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22341172)

Nice try Ballmer. Way to astroturf! At least you didn't throw any chairs.

Well maybe you're not Ballmer. In that case, nice try fanboi. With HD-DVD dead, PS/3's are going to keep flying off the shelves. I notice you picked a piece of crap game for your example, too. Who cares about something with such poor gameplay?

Re:Also affecting Sony's per-unit cost (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22341376)

Oh, I dunno, Sony?

Because DMC4 is one of THE big games to hit the PS3 - originally it was one of the exclusive titles that was supposed to push it.

Then it became a dual-console release.

The next really big PS3 game is GTA4 - also a dual-console release.

It's not my fault if the only really big PS3 games are, as you put it, "a piece of crap game." That's all the PS3 has!

Re:Also affecting Sony's per-unit cost (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22341622)

YHBT. YHL. HAND!

Re:Also affecting Sony's per-unit cost (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22340870)

This is also the reason they can't sell one to me. There aren't nearly enough games for PS3 to satisfy the needs of my family. Without the PS2 games to carry us through, there is no incentive to buy. The same is not true currently for the Wii, and I imagine that if the day ever comes when PS3 has a broad spectrum of games, there will be other competition as well.

No PS3 for me, probably ever.

But, it sure does look pretty...

Re:Also affecting Sony's per-unit cost (1)

amigabill (146897) | more than 6 years ago | (#22341260)

After they switched from hardware to software emulation, I'm curious as to how removing the software helps to reduce production costs.

Re:Also affecting Sony's per-unit cost (1)

powerlord (28156) | more than 6 years ago | (#22341364)

After they switched from hardware to software emulation, I'm curious as to how removing the software helps to reduce production costs.


Easy, they never moved completely to a software solution (yet).

The original (20/60GB) PS3s shipped with hardware emulation provided by two PS2 chips inside the PS3.

The later 80GB PS3 had one of the chips removed (hence cost savings), and the other replaced by software emulation (along with upscaling old games, and other things that software emulation can do once its introduced to the mix).

The 40GB PS3 has neither of those chips, so until Sony releases a full Software based emulator, they are SOL on backward compatibility.

Now, there have been rumors that Sony is working on a full software only BC solution, but not much has been heard about this yet, and its still only rumors.

Does that make for a slimmer ps3? (4, Interesting)

jmichaelg (148257) | more than 6 years ago | (#22340274)

If' they're dropping cooling components due to lower heat output, I wonder if that means this picture is for real. [pcworld.com]

Re:Does that make for a slimmer ps3? (1)

Mex (191941) | more than 6 years ago | (#22341426)

No, it's not real. It's a mockup sent by a reader. =/

Plus, it looks extra crappy.

Last laugh? (1)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 6 years ago | (#22340430)

From the article: "So IBM may have suckered Sony into buying a supercomputing coprocessor disguised as a gaming chip, but it looks like Sony could get the last laugh." Why would they? IBM is selling more than ever.

What is the power consumption? (1)

shadowofwind (1209890) | more than 6 years ago | (#22340470)

The article linked to says power consumption will be 40% lower than the 65nm predecessor, but I haven't been able to find a reliable figure for the 65nm power consumption. Does anyone have that or a link? All I've found online are puff-pieces saying the power is very low or may be in the future, but no actual spec.

Why would Sony drop the price? (2, Informative)

DarkTitan_X (905442) | more than 6 years ago | (#22340500)

Sony is already losing money on the cost of production vs. the sale price of each Playstation 3 (sale of a PS3 averages around a 35% loss of profit per unit).

Simply put, they reduce the cost of production, they lose less money on each one they sell. Considering the Playstation 3 is slowly gaining market share at it's current price, they have no need to drop the price right away.

Re:Why would Sony drop the price? (1)

BrentH (1154987) | more than 6 years ago | (#22340928)

The rumor is that Sony right now is breaking even on the PS3. Any new cost saving measures such as this will make it profitable.

Re:Why would Sony drop the price? (2, Insightful)

Cheeko (165493) | more than 6 years ago | (#22341180)

Since when is PS3 gaining market share? every months NPD numbers that I've seen show a fairly consistant ratio of PS3360wii, with the ratio within any given month fluctuating based on game releases. 360 had big Sept, November, wii and 360 had a big december, etc.

While the PS3 is selling more units year over year so are its competitors. I'm pretty sure its market share is within a few percentage points (at best) of where it was at 6 months ago. Maybe gained a little from the price drop, but since the price drop the ratios have been pretty steady, with spikes going to the other 2 systems (mostly for Halo, Mass Effect and Mario Galaxy).

The PS3 is doing decent, but its not like its on the glorious rise to market domination. I suspect the next important move will be whether Sony wants to go after market share or profit. If they prefer 1, they will pass on the savings to the customers and lower the price (which MS and Nintendo may or may not counter, as they both actually make a profit on each system sold), or keep the larger (or all) portion of the cost savings to increase their margin per unit.

My personal guess is that they will continue happily selling them at the current price, maintaining fixed share until such time as they have a big exclusive to push. Between then and now they pocket any savings to help their bottom line, then later they can drop the price to help push units around an exclusive. They try dropping the price now and MS will just counter, meaning no major share change. Might as well help recoup your investment while you can, if its not going to hurt you, since your gain at the moment is minimal.

Production rules increase? (1)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 6 years ago | (#22340584)

Does anyone have insider or otherwise info on how much more rulesets does the 45nm t ech have, compared to the 65nm?

Isn't the blue laser the biggest cost? (1, Interesting)

statemachine (840641) | more than 6 years ago | (#22340628)

I remember the biggest problem with the PS3's availability and cost was the blue laser (as it has low yields and is expensive to make). Sony was already taking a hit on cost, since a stand-alone Blu Ray player in November actually cost about the same or more.

It's nice that the cell processor is lowering in cost, but I'm not sure that it ever was a significant enough percentage of the unit cost to see a drop of more then a few tens of dollars.

Re:Isn't the blue laser the biggest cost? (3, Informative)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 6 years ago | (#22340714)

That's ancient news. Since then, the blue laser shortage has ended, and Sony has gotten the costs of PS3 manufacture down to under $400 [businessweek.com] .

Re:Isn't the blue laser the biggest cost? (1)

statemachine (840641) | more than 6 years ago | (#22341186)

If it's true that the blue laser's cost is negligible now, which your linked article does not mention at all, then I still don't expect to see a price drop because of this:

Analysts Applaud Efforts to Shrink PS3 Chips

Stringer's promise to raise Sony's overall margins to 5% by the Mar. 31 fiscal yearend appears easily within reach. And margins should continue to improve as Sony's video-game division, Sony Computer Entertainment, trims the console's manufacturing costs and revs up output.

Sony's about improving the margins (and its game division is running a loss right now) by end of March. Based on your article, I don't think we'll see a price drop (or anything significant) until April at the earliest.

Less Heat -- Smaller Fan -- Less Noise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22340730)

Less heat generated by the processor also means that a smaller fan is needed to cool it, which in turn means less background noise when you are gaming or watching high-definition movies.

CBE Performance (4, Informative)

shadowofwind (1209890) | more than 6 years ago | (#22340776)

Relevance of CBE beyond PS3 of course depends in large degree on its computing performance. For the applications I've looked at, I haven't been very impressed. They say it does 204GFLOPS, but approaching that requires being able to use all multiply-add instructions, which count as two operations. (Some sources say the two operations per clock cycle per SPU is due to there being two pipelines, however, only one of the pipelines handles arithmentic operations and the other is exclusively for load, store, control, and a few shift operations.) Also, it seems to take a lot of select, shift, and shuffle instructions to make efficient use of the quadword (SIMD) instructions. With Xeon and Opteron, use of the quadword instructions seems to require far fewer other additional cycles. And this is with floats, with instruction related stalls completely eliminated on CBE through careful loop unrolling and other methods. (The quadword instructions have 6 cycle latencies.) I can only get performance comparable to 2 quad-core Xeons, which doesn't seem that good considering what is advertized, and considering the 4x difference in the peak performance specs. And CBE does much worse where double precision is necessary, with 6 cycle stalls being unaviodable on every instruction. It seems overblown. Comments?

Why would sony lower costs? (1)

andy1307 (656570) | more than 6 years ago | (#22340848)

Now that blu-ray has won the format wars and a PS3 gives you a gaming console AND a blu-ray player in one bundle, why would Sony lower costs? Wouldn't they just e happy with the higher profits?

Re:Why would sony lower costs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22340984)

Yeah... ...if they were actually making a profit on it.

Which they're not.

Re:Why would sony lower costs? (0)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#22341356)

Because Blue-Ray hasn't won the Format wars. DVD has. Still for the vast majority of people DVD is good enough. I think Sony would love to seem even more systems sold and that will take a price drop.
What no-one is saying is...
IBM also makes the PPC based CPUs for the 360 and Wii :)
So they could also see a drop in power and price as well.
I don't think IBM is that much in love with Sony that they will ignore Nintendo and Microsoft.

conclusion is stupid (1)

ameboy (1211832) | more than 6 years ago | (#22341456)

What a stupid inflammatory conclusion. A remap is just what it is - a remap. The article blames IBM for missing the "opportunity" to spend a lot of money on tweaks, i.e. on logic design and verification, and to screw up compatibility for Sony at the same time.

"Price drop unlikely" does not follow. (3, Interesting)

ZombieRoboNinja (905329) | more than 6 years ago | (#22341510)

Last I heard, Sony was still losing a ton of money on every PS3 they sold. So even if this upgrade makes it significantly cheaper to manufacture PS3s, I don't see why that would lead to a drop in retail price.

If anything, I'd guess Sony wants to keep the PS3 at its current price, now that they've basically won the next-gen DVD skirmish. Plenty of people who want Blu-Ray players probably already see the PS3 as a good choice (just like I bought a PS2 to play DVDs back in the days of yore).
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