PS1/2 Toshiba Develops New "SpursEngine" Cell-based Graphics Chip

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Toshiba will be using PlayStation 3 CPU technology in its notebook PCs

The Cell Broadband Processor, jointly developed by Sony, Toshiba and IBM, is the driving force behind the PlayStation 3 and high-end blade servers. While the chip is mainly used as a CPU in existing applications, Toshiba is planning to extend the Cell Brodband Engine’s base technology into graphics.

Toshiba’s specialized version of the technology, dubbed “SpursEngine,” will utilize similar Synergistic Processing Element (SPE) cores as found in the Cell/B.E.

The SpursEngine will only include four SPE cores, rather than the full eight cores of the Cell/B.E. chip. New to Toshiba’s own chip will be dedicated hardware for decoding and encoding MPEG-2 and H.264 video.

“By combining the high level, real time processing software of the SPEs with the hardware video codecs, the SpursEngine realizes an optimized balance of processing flexibility and low power consumption,” Toshiba wrote in its press release.

The prototype of SpursEngine operates at a clock frequency of 1.5GHz and consumes power at 10 to 20 watts. In contrast, the Cell/B.E. processor found inside every PlayStation 3 operates at 3.2GHz. Like the PlayStation 3, however, the SpursEngine will also make use of Rambus XDR DRAM as working memory.

In its announcement, Toshiba said that it would demonstrate at the CEATEC JAPAN 2007 conference its new chip in action inside notebook PC, showing off “the processor's capabilities in 3D image processing and manipulation: real-time transformations of hair styles and makeup that instantaneously recognize and process changes in position, angle, and facial expression, and render them as computer graphics.”

Toshiba’s decidedly lower-cost take on the existing Cell/B.E. hint that the SpursEngine will find into more than just PCs. Toshiba may one day use its SpursEngine way in its mainstream consumer electronics devices, such as its HD DVD players.
 

coolbho3000

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fischju said:
Oh, Toshiba is going to integrate this technology into their future HD DVD players?
Of course. We know there are a lot of those coming up.
rolleyes.gif
 

deathfisaro

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The first thing that came to my mind was Toshiba leeching off both sides too =P
Well at least my Tecra M2 and my girlfriends Satellite lasted like 5 years, they sure will build a solid laptop with Cell. (But we know Cell isn't that powerful, it's a 2006 chip and you can get a cheaper better alternative in 2008...)
 

ZeWarrior

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deathfisaro said:
The first thing that came to my mind was Toshiba leeching off both sides too =P
Well at least my Tecra M2 and my girlfriends Satellite lasted like 5 years, they sure will build a solid laptop with Cell. (But we know Cell isn't that powerful, it's a 2006 chip and you can get a cheaper better alternative in 2008...)

No, you can't.
In raw processing power, no PC CPU has been able to pass the Cell Broadband Engine. Especially not in laptops.
 

deathfisaro

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ZeWarrior said:
deathfisaro said:
The first thing that came to my mind was Toshiba leeching off both sides too =P
Well at least my Tecra M2 and my girlfriends Satellite lasted like 5 years, they sure will build a solid laptop with Cell. (But we know Cell isn't that powerful, it's a 2006 chip and you can get a cheaper better alternative in 2008...)

No, you can't.
In raw processing power, no PC CPU has been able to pass the Cell Broadband Engine. Especially not in laptops.

I was in a conversation with PC gamers and they were so confident that AMD Brisbane is better than CELL in terms of gaming. Because the only reason I want a super powered laptop is to play games while travelling, I would take their words for it. (I mean, you're not gonna try to render Transformer 2 with laptops right?)
And the Toshiba laptop Cell is only half a Cell according to the article.
 

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The thing that interests me is the low power consumption: most power in my machines (when I am not doing something like a 6 server disc raid and several other drives) goes to the graphics cards it seems and if they can be dropped down a peg or three life would be much easier.

h264 I can understand but decoding mpeg2 is trivial for modern machines, I just hope they make some nice APIs as the current crop leave a little bit to be desired (outside of the useless bundled stuff which is only mathematically better than mpeg4asp.).
 
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