Sony may leave behind Cell architecture in PS4

Sony may have said it wants to keep the PlayStation 3 game console on the market for 10 years, but the company reportedly is already looking forward to the PlayStation 4.

Although Sony hasn’t disclosed what it hopes will power the PS4, unconfirmed rumors indicate the Japanese electronics company may leave behind the Cell architecture.  It’s possible a multi-core CPU could be used, but the speed of the CPU and other specifications won’t be known for some time.

The PS3, which uses the powerful Cell architecture, has been commended for its strong hardware — it uses the Sony, IBM and Toshiba Cell microprocessor that has a 3.2 GHz “Power Processing Element” — the CPU PS3 also has eight Synergistic Processing Elements (SPEs).

Playstation 4Joining the Cell processor, the PS3 also has an NVIDIA RSX Reality Synthesizer, 256MB XDR DRAM, and 256MB GDDR3 GPU memory.

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The U.S. military and several research groups have harnessed the PS3’s power by developing low-cost supercomputers of console units.  The PS3 also has a Yellow Dog Linux version, with other Linux flavors successfully installed on the console.

If Sony truly is looking to make the PS4 even more powerful, the company should make sure it gives game developers plenty of time to create games able to make use of the powerful hardware.

Microsoft and Nintendo also are reportedly already looking into next-generation consoles, but the trio of console makers are expected to wait until late 2012/early 2013 before releasing new products.  I look forward to seeing if Microsoft and Nintendo choose to go head-to-head with Sony in hardware specs, or if they are more interested in using slower hardware in favor of more appealing games.

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