Could Sony be planning on using an upgraded Cell/B.E. in the PlayStation 4?
When looking at the three major home gaming consoles on the market today, the Sony PlayStation 3 packs the most advanced hardware. Utilizing the Cell processor, a joint venture between Sony, IBM, and Toshiba, the PS3 out-muscles both the Nintendo Wii and the Xbox 360 from Microsoft. While this doesn’t necessarily mean it will have the best library of games or highest sales numbers, it’s nice knowing you’re the only console on the block that offers a Blu-ray drive as well as a processor that’s still considered advanced even several years after release.
So advanced, in fact, that Sony may use it for the brains of its next console. The PlayStation 4, expected to be on store shelves sometime in 2011, will use a slightly upgraded Cell processor, according to unverified reports. With an expected core increase from 8 to 12, the new Cell chip will maintain something close to its current 3.2 GHz clock speed. The next Cell will also be based on the newest manufacturing tech, 45 nanometers, and could use a variation of DDR3 memory. The PS3 uses Rambus XDR memory, which is exceptionally fast, but also hits the wallet pretty hard. According to Electronista, Sony may get around the speed problem with DDR3 by grafting it directly onto the Cell processor, eliminating a lot of latency.
The move to a smaller and more robust Cell chip seems logical, but even if Sony decides to return to the drawing board with the PS4, the next Cell chip is still being worked on by Sony and friends, so look for it to end up in other devices like HD-friendly laptops. However, by the time 2011 rolls around, the Cell may be down to something even smaller than 45nm...perhaps 32nm or 22nm may be the magic number.