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How does the ps3 cell processor work

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March 17, 2010 2:45:04 PM

So this question is simply out of curiosity, But who exactly does it work. I know there one ppe and then 6 spe and another spe for the OS. But i've heard from some that they call it an 8 core and other call it a complex single core.
March 17, 2010 3:36:49 PM

Not sure about the processor but I know it makes a lousy PC as the RAM sucks and can't be upgraded as it's hard-wired into the motherboard.
March 17, 2010 6:57:48 PM

haha i was also wondering about that how well does linux perform on the orignal ones, actually have one of those oldies, and was wondering how that would do
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March 17, 2010 7:20:47 PM

The Power PC core handles most of the fun OS stuff like scheduling threads and managing resources. It can then dispatch threads to the SPE sub cores which are good at doing things like vector math. The SPE cores are not capable of running an OS by themselves, but are meant mainly for number crunching.

I think the complex single core is most accurate, since it really only has one main core that can preform all the functions a Power PC core is expected to preform. The 8 SPEs are sub cores since they are missing much of the Power PC core functionality. If you want to know more read up on it. Wikipedia is a good place to start :D 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cell_%28microprocessor%29
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March 18, 2010 7:52:35 AM

jonnyboyC said:
haha i was also wondering about that how well does linux perform on the orignal ones, actually have one of those oldies, and was wondering how that would do


The biggest problem though with Cell is the actual coding of it. Its not x86 friendly and most Linux variants are x86 based so you would have to find a Cell specificly coded version of Linux, or write it yourself if you have the time.

Thats one of the reasons why games for the PS3 has not taken off and they lost a lot of their exclusives.

Performance wise, its great for paralell processing thanks to the SPEs, but for normal PC tasking its not as fast.
March 18, 2010 4:33:19 PM

Yeah that what it seems, that the cell is actually quite powerful, but doesn't support all the instructions, of the x86 so is avoided by developers. I've actually heard that's one of the reason why on many games ps3 and xbox 360 are on the same level, because no one wants to right the code to offload some of the graphical work on the cell, and gpu wise they are about the same
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