Print Story PS4 musing, part 3 - Larrabee
By dark ally (Fri Mar 13, 2009 at 09:42:55 AM EST) Playstation, Cell, Larrabee, predictions (all tags)

This is part 3 of a series on my thoughts regarding the next game console from Sony, i.e. the Playstation 4.

I hereby release all rights to the following ideas. 

A while back a rumor made the rounds stating that Intel would be providing the GPU for the PS4.  Although the rumor was publicly denied by all sides, I still had some fun thinking about the possibility.  The logic goes something like this :

While the rumor was in full force, someone said that IBM had ceased Cell development.  This makes sense as chip development is unbelievably expensive, and the two ways to recoup that cost is to either sell very expensive chips or make a gazillion chips.  The original Cell was primarily used by Sony in several million PS3s, Toshiba in some HDTVs, and IBM (and partners) in some HPC servers.  The HPC server market isn't big enough to support continued development, Toshiba is hurting from losing the HD-DVD war, and Sony is losing money on each PS3.  In other words, no-one has the bucks to front for continued development.

Meanwhile, Intel has developed Larrabee - a many core processor which can be adapted to be a GPU.  Unfortunately, they're stuck in the chicken & egg development phase.  No-one wants to develop software for it without an existing hardware user base and no-one wants to develop hardware using it without a software base.  But if Intel were to put Larrabee into a console, like the PS4, then software developers would create software for it and develop IP which could then be ported over to a PC version.  Plus Intel has cash reserves to develop the PS4 themselves, so Sony wouldn't have to fund the development themselves - a good thing for Sony in the short term.

Sounds plausible enough, no wonder the rumor was believed.

Now, imagine a PS4 where the games run completely on the Larrabee.  That right, no dedicated CPU or GPU.  The game assigns threads to each core as it requires, possibly even dynamically.  This is more than just GPGPU programming - it's back to software rendering.

Note - I said games would run on the Larrabee.  If I were Intel I'd take a chapter from the Nintendo Wii and stick an Atom on the board to handle the I/O and act as an OS. 

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Don't bet money on it. by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #1 Fri Mar 13, 2009 at 09:48:21 AM EST
I am fairly certain $BigJapaneseCo is no longer selling the PS3 at a loss.  That's not something you do when the perfect storm of the strong yen and the crap economy is causing you to hemorrhage dollars.
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
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