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Thread: New Powerful Processor Unveiled

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    Rival to Intel chip unveiled
    BY MATTHEW FORDAHL

    Associated Press


    SAN FRANCISCO — Setting up a battle for the future of computing, engineers from IBM, Sony and Toshiba unveiled details Monday of a microprocessor they claim has the muscle of a supercomputer and can power everything from video game consoles to business computers.

    Devices built with the processor, code-named Cell, will compete directly with the PC chips that have powered most of the world's personal computers for a quarter century.

    Cell's designers say their chip, built from the start with the burgeoning world of rich media and broadband networks in mind, can deliver 10 times the performance of today's PC processors.

    It also will not carry the same technical baggage that has made most of today's computers compatible with older PCs. That architectural divergence will challenge the current dominant paradigm of computing that Microsoft Corp. and Intel Corp. have fostered.

    The new chip is expected to be used in Sony Corp.'s next-generation PlayStation game console in 2006. Toshiba Corp. plans to incorporate it into high-end televisions that year as well. And IBM Corp. has said it will sell a workstation with the chip starting later this year.

    Beyond that, companies are remaining coy about where it might be used and whether it will be compatible with older technology.

    Cell comprises several computing engines, or cores. A core based on IBM's Power architecture controls eight "synergistic" processing centers. In all, they can simultaneously carry out 10 instruction sequences, compared with two for today's Intel chips.

    The new microprocessor also is expected to be able to run multiple operating systems and programs at the same time while ensuring each has enough resources. In the home, that could allow for a device that's capable of handling a video game, television and general-purpose computer at once.

    "It's very flexible," said Jim Kahle, an IBM senior fellow. "We support many operating systems with our virtualization technology so we can run multiple operating systems at the same time, doing different jobs on the system."

    Later this year, Intel and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. plan to release their own "multicore" chips, which also increase the number of instructions that can be executed at once.


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  3. #2

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    Mike wrote:
    Later this year, Intel and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. plan to release their own "multicore" chips, which also increase the number of instructions that can be executed at once.
    Whoo-hoo! Multiple BSODs at once!

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