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Cell and GPU work better together than either alone

The subject line is based on a series of facts, with hard numbers, released by a report by Sony themselves regarding the PS3's deferred shading and rendering. This is a detailed, confusing report, so if you're not a really techno-savvy lord with other techno-geeks buying you groceries or rubbing your hands to ease the twitch-reaction from all the mousing and keyboarding, it might go over your head. But for those with a keen interest in algorithms and the PS3's abilities, this is a delight to read and proves, ostensibly, the PS3 can generate processing power and graphical ability beyond a doubt above non-hybrid structures.

To help understand the numbers, graphs, charts, and whatnot in the report, we're going to use the abstract summary at the beginning of the report to show how the PS3 is proving its muscle through facts, not fanboyism. They summed the report up with this: "The SPEs use the Cell/B.E. DMA list capability to gather irregular fine-grained fragments of texture data generated by the GPU. They return resultant shadow textures the same way. The
shading computation ran at up to 85 Hz at HDTV 720p resolution on 5 SPEs and generated 30.72 gigaops of
performance. This is comparable to the performance of the algorithm running on a state of the art high end GPU. These results indicate that the Cell/B.E. can effectively enhance the throughput of a GPU in this hybrid system by alleviating the pixel shading bottleneck."

It seems there is a reason behind devs choosing to stick with the 720p resolution if that's the case. You can download the report and check it out for yourself here if you'd like and draw your own conclusion, but we think this tells us the PS3 made the right decision in creating a hybrid solution with the Cell and GPU. Leave us your take!

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Reader Comments

(Page 1)

1. i am desperately waiting for someone that knows what this means to translate for me. start below:

Posted at 10:07AM on Sep 12th 2007 by GRANTED

2. This article was making perfect sense until I read "The SPEs use the Cell/B.E. DMA list capability...".

In short, does this article explain the lack of content on the Euro PSN Store?

Posted at 10:15AM on Sep 12th 2007 by Ian

3. Headline = no shit?

Posted at 10:26AM on Sep 12th 2007 by Ghaleon

4. This is just another attempt for Sony to say they are better, but this times using this "proof" that doesn't make any sense at the majority of gamers anyway. That usually are just arrogant and say they are better, but this time they have posted useless information for people to try to convince us all that they are better.

But they aren't, they suck, and Xbox 360 will continue to reign supreme this generation. I mean seriously! With all this power why can't they get Lair or Madden to run at over 30 FPS, not to mention the compared 60 FPS on 360. But I guess you next argument will be that it a complicated system that will take 5 years to totally understand and max out. So while you guys wait 5 years for your awesome games, I will enjoy my Xbox that programmers are currently making awesome games for, and when programmers for Sony finally start churning out great games, Xbox 3 (720, whatever) will be out and twice as strong as your precious piece of shit PS3.

Get a life faggots!

Posted at 10:32AM on Sep 12th 2007 by Stoli

5. @ Stoli. Fuck you troll boy go play your xbox 1.5 until you get the red ring of death that is.

Posted at 10:36AM on Sep 12th 2007 by SimplyB

6. >Get a life faggots!

I just LOOOVE hypocrites. ;)

Posted at 10:38AM on Sep 12th 2007 by kingofwale

7. Nice advice Stoli, why don't you follow your own arrogant advice?

Get a life and do useful things with your precious time instead of trolling on a website about products you're not even supposed to be interested in?

Unless you're really getting paid for astroturfing, that is. In which case, you happen to be doing a pretty bad job anyway.

Posted at 10:38AM on Sep 12th 2007 by Bored

8. I have to say, this is useless to the comman man.

Sony needs to start SELLING the damn console.

I mean yes its not doing that bad on paper as people think it is but truly this is a sad sight when you think about what a video game console should be selling. The PS3 has sold quite a few units but layman wants a reason he can understand to pickup a PS3. Games alone can't sell a console. Sony needs to totally rework their marketting. A hot chick taking a shit? I wouldn't get a PS3 cause of that would you?

Start with the power of the PS3 being totally unmatched and prove that with simpler numbers. Use it as a selling point. Trump the 360's graphics in commercials if you have to. Brag about Sixaxis, Continue to boast about things like native 1080p and an amazing processor! Not enough hype for the console in a popularity war... Sega will have their revenge if this console doesn't take off... because the Dreamcast was ahead of its time too... Get it together Sony.

Posted at 10:43AM on Sep 12th 2007 by Ty

9. i find it intresting that the only thing holding back the proformance of this algorithm is the DMA

yes i like all this tech talking (although some stuff i don't understand but eh)

also reading through this shows that when useing 3SPE's you will get about 30 FPS at 720P witch is what killzone 2 is running on

also what you find intresting is that only the SPE's are doing most of the work and not the GPU freeing it to do more textures and so on

also when it says it compares the proformance of the 5SPE's to a nvidia 7800 GTX the 7800GTX in this algorithm is running on full where the cell/BE engine is only running through 5SPE's witch is only about half of the cell's power
i also read in another report that for killzone 2 the 3SPE's for deffered rendering in it's early stage the video demo they shown is that the code for it was only running 30% to 45% of what they could stick onto the SPE's

so if you think about it running a game with at 720P at 30FPS will be useing only the 3SPE's for deffered rendering and the rest of the cell 1PPU and 4SPU's left for doing lots of other cool stuff
for exsample phisics and maybe proeffects texture algorithm (that 4D basicly letting time degread the texture stuff that will be useing something like 2 SPU's)

what of the 360 well the 360 can run this algorithm but from what i can gather it will not be as good you could run the algorithm through 1 of the CPU's but will basicly lock out that CPU and proformance will be around maybe 15 to 30 FPS on 720P

i think (i might be compleatly wrong about all this)

Posted at 10:43AM on Sep 12th 2007 by dragoburnhard

10. Maybe you guys are interested in this article which adds a little background to this one

Posted at 10:50AM on Sep 12th 2007 by Mutsch

11. FELLAS FELLAS FELLAS Leave poor Stoli alone!! You know he gets confused when multiple people are talking to him!! His Xbot brain can't process all that information!! It's like trying to teach Calculus to a baby!! Let him play in the playpen they call Xbox and let's focus on more important things...

Anyways I believe this is good info it just show's that finally Sony has realized that thinking outside of the box though risky, can prove to be worthwhile! I can't wait until it begins to really flex it's muscle!! Oh and Stoli I can honestly bet when Gran T and MGS4 come out early to mid next year it will look better then what xbox can put out and Sony's the younger model!!! So when your system peeks out in two to three years we'll be just getting stronger! LoL Perhaps they'll do what they did with the Elite and come out with Xbox 2.0 or something! LoL

Posted at 10:52AM on Sep 12th 2007 by Byron517

12. Another Xbot, thing I dont understand is why all the PS3 Forums and news Channels get harassed by these ass holes.

I looked on Xbot sites and have not seen if any PS3 Owners trolling there sites. Its all pretty childish if you ask me.

As for the paper I don't believe it is intended for the average gamer or general public. If anything it there as research material for programmers and to show of the machines technology for companies who may be interested in the ps3 hardware.

Posted at 10:55AM on Sep 12th 2007 by Zim

13. Dragoburnhard

Thanks man that's a really nice breakdown!

Posted at 10:56AM on Sep 12th 2007 by Byron517

14. Nick,

Did you even attempt to understand the scope of the impact for a scheme like this?

Sony had a research team come up with an idea that suggests they can mitigate its lackluster GPU shader performance by stealing some slices from the SPEs (and therefore from the Cell). One of the big issues games run into right now, however, isn't shader bottlenecks in the GPU but rather, but the Cell itself. It doesn't have much general purpose CPU power.

This will not address:

- less available memory for use than the 360
- less GPU fill rate than the 360
- less general purpose CPU time available for multi threading than the 360

These numbers may not be theoretical, but they're as good as because of the conditions under which they were generated.

What this all means is that if your game engine relies heavily on shaders and there is plenty of Cell CPU overhead (unlikely cases), you can get better shader performance.

But it doesn't mean that ports of 360 games will run as well as they did on the 360.

Look, I hate the 360 because of Microsoft's unbelievably low quality standards and consistent failure to fix something that should have been fixed 18 months ago. But all you ever do is post drivel only tangentially related to how the PS3 will somehow become graphically dominant. It won't because compared to the 360 both the GPU and Cell are underpowered.

Not to say I'm not interested in the PS3. I'll likely buy one when a couple of good games hit the system. But I won't expect it to have better graphics than the 360. Nor will I care.

Posted at 10:59AM on Sep 12th 2007 by thebigfatj

15. Yes, that is it! Let the frustration out because you know you are playing on an inferior system. Aren't you guys upset that Sony has made SO many great promises and nothing great has come out and it's almost been a whole year. A whole year of mediocre games and nothing to show for it. I mean they say all these great things, but they never happen. And when they need more time, they give you BS algorithms to tell you it's "complicated", then they give you some shit saying that it will take 5 WHOLE FUCKING YEARS for the great games to come out. You should have just saved your $600 and gotten an iPhone like I did. It's worth more then that price of shit you are playing on.

C'mon, you have Warhawk?!? Really, the game isn't that great. I can't even name all the great games we have, and I won't even bother you with mentioning about the game that is coming out in less then two weeks. And again, all you have to show is WARHAWK!! Haha, that would make me pissed, but since I have an Xbox, I can laugh.

But it's ok, you guys can wait for all your great upcoming games like MGS, DMC, GT, UT3, and whatever else. And by that time, we will have those games as well because M$ has the $$$ to get those games as well, if not already exclusive, and you guys can keep playing with your POS3...I mean PS3. Same thing right.

Oh yeah, I have gotten the rings of death, but guess what, I got a new Xbox back, a free game, and another great working system. Nice try though. Xbox did make a mistake with the hardware failure, but at least they have the BALLS to say they fucked up and given us a 3 year extended warranty. To bad Sony doesn't have the BALLS to tell you their system blows and you all wasted your money when you should have given it to MS, or at least Nintendo. Nice corporate administration you have there, huh?


Posted at 11:02AM on Sep 12th 2007 by Stoli

16. thebigfatj,

just a few comments:

this technique is exactly what makes Killzone 2 fly, so it is not theoretical and we all know what Killzone 2 looks like.

>> less available memory for use than the 360

The PS3 GPU can access both graphic and main memory at almost the same speed i.e. it has 512 MB RAM available for its tasks and working with the Cell

>> less GPU fill rate than the 360
Do you see a issue here with the RSX? I don't.

>> less general purpose CPU time available for multi threading than the 360
That's of course bad for EA who is obviously going the brute force development path. But the SIMD power of the Cell is by far more worth than what you call general purpose capabilities

Posted at 11:09AM on Sep 12th 2007 by Mutsch

17. @Stoli: Slow day at work? Because your profile indicates that you have a brain elsewhere.

Posted at 11:12AM on Sep 12th 2007 by borland502

18. Ummm... This is NOT the way to sell Cell as a processor. They are basically saying that Cell is for nothing but video games. Naturally, most of us knew this all the long since we can see though bullshit marketing, especially when it's Sony.

Posted at 11:17AM on Sep 12th 2007 by Edge

19. @HaleysComet: Stoli is being an arse on just this forum; you, on the other hand, are just a universal idiot.

There is a rumor that the 360 has a good games library. Is it not compelling enough to draw you away from here?

Posted at 11:19AM on Sep 12th 2007 by borland502

20. Oh no not a stoli repost, the 360 is better because I say it is bla, bla, bla…. Cmon admit you really have a small penis and have to come to ps3fanboy to try and “pawn bitches” to show how intellectually superior you are because your mom bought you a game system which she says is the best. You need to get a life because NOBODY CARES why you bought a system or a fricking iphone. If you had any intellectual capacity whatsoever you would have realized that your coming here and trolling only shows how envious you really are……and any subsequent posts by you will only prove my point…

Posted at 11:23AM on Sep 12th 2007 by ShawnShady

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