November 30, 2004 – IBM, Sony Corp., Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (Sony Corp. and Sony Computer Entertainment subsequently referred to as Sony Group) and Toshiba Corp. have unveiled some of the key concepts of an advanced microprocessor, code-named Cell, they are jointly developing for next-generation computing applications and digital consumer electronics.
Specifically, the companies confirmed that Cell is a multicore chip comprising a 64-bit Power processor core and multiple synergistic processor cores capable of massive floating point processing. Cell is optimized for compute-intensive workloads and broadband rich media applications, including computer entertainment, movies and other forms of digital content.
Cell adopts a flexible parallel and distributed computing architecture consisting of independent floating point processors for rich media processing. Cell supports multiple operating systems, including PC/WS operating systems, as well as real-time CE/Game operating systems. In addition, the Cell processor is scalable and can be utilized in a variety of applications.
A team of engineers from IBM, Sony Group and Toshiba are collaborating on the design and implementation of Cell. The design work is taking place at a joint development lab the three companies established in Austin, TX, after the project was announced in 2001.
IBM plans to begin pilot production of Cell microprocessors at its 300mm wafer fabrication facility in East Fishkill, NY, during the first half of 2005. The first computing application IBM plans for Cell is the Cell processor-based workstation it is developing with SCEI.
Sony Corp. expects to launch home servers for broadband content as well as high-definition television (HDTV) systems powered by Cell in 2006. Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. also expects to launch its next generation computer entertainment system powered by Cell. Toshiba Corp. envisions diverse applications for Cell and expects to launch its first Cell-based product, a high-definition television (HDTV), in 2006.
IBM, Sony Group and Toshiba will disclose more details about Cell in four technical papers scheduled for presentation at the International Solid State Circuits Conference in February.