Cell Processor

Sony, Toshiba, and IBM's (the STI group, as it were) jointly developed Cell processor will be announced today at the International Solid State Circuits Conference, amongst the hubbub and rumors currently encircling what the marketing machine is hyping as a revolution in computing just around the corner. What we know is the chip is expected to show up in the PlayStation 3 and Toshiba's new HDTVs—not very indicative of anything (and old hat, we know), but we'll bring you up to speed on the rest. So what do they have under wraps that they think AMD and Intel will be so scared about? Apparently the Cell processor can be expected to crank out a theoretical 256 gigaflops per second—a number that could be grossly overinflated—and each of the CPU's nine cores (which are supposedly running up to 5.6GHz now) will be an individually operable 128-bit processor. If all that doesn't make sense to you, don't fret; the point is, STI wants you to think this chip will run at something like 10 times faster than anything else out there—and we'll know soon enough whether they're fronting or not.

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