Above: Cell processor block diagram… if it makes sense to you, you should apply at IBM.
Today, I just wanted to share with you this: I seemed to have overlooked a quite fantastic article where IBM’s David Shippy compares PS3 and 360 processors. Shippy was co-creator of the Cell, and with the Xeon being the IBM/Intel pride’n’joy for several years, based on Shippy’s own PowerPC architecture, I’m sure he knows a thing or two about it. Shippy has been given the highly distinguished honor of being an IBM “Master Inventor.” In short: he knows his stuff.
In the end, he says the two consoles about balance out, because of the extreme differences in design. It sounds as though he’s willing to give the Playstation 3 a bit of an edge in the hardware department, but also sounds unsure if anyone will ever fully harness the power of the PS3, stating that “the real hardcore coders would argue that, once you do understand it and can program to it, you absolutely get the most out of the hardware, and really write some fairly low-level code that’s really high performance.” Still, he doesn’t go so far as to proclaim a winner (read his uneasy responses on page 3 🙂 ).
This whole discussion between PS3 and 360 owners has taken on such a life of it’s own that Shippy has recently co-authored a new book, entitled “The Race for a New Game Machine.” The article is an astonishing read, they even talk about some of the personal struggles you have when designing hardware for competing companies. Being IBM must not be easy, when everyone is coming to you demanding “the best you’ve got.”
See also: IBM’s “Introduction to the cell multiprocessor” – also co-authored by Shippy.