IBM's Cell processor "impressive", but not an x86 killer - analyst

A closely guarded secret for five years, IBM's Cell processor has finally been unveiled, and the chip is expected to have a major impact on the video game market, reports market research firm In-Stat. The goal of Cell developers was to create a new architecture that could process the next generation of broadband media and graphics with greater efficiency than the traditional approaches of ultradeep pipelines and the ganging of numerous complex and power-inefficient, out-of-order RISC or CISC cores, the high-tech market research firm says. The chip will be a major part of Sony's Next Generation Game Console, and may have other applications, but is unlikely to encroach dramatically on Intel's territory.

"Some have called Cell an Intel killer, which is completely ridiculous," says Kevin Krewell, In-Stat analyst. "The only place where the Cell processor can be considered competition for Intel will be where the Sony Next Generation Game Console competes with the Media Center PC."

Intel officially maintains its belief that Cell is yet another approach to replace x86 architecture and still has to prove its capability. Ultimately the use of Cell may be largely limited to as core component of consumer electronics, the company recently said.

Most of the actual chips in the Cell family are unknown at this time, with the only announced product from the family being integrated in Sony's PlayStation 3. (THG)