Impress had a recent article (in Japanese) on why Intel’s Larrabee encountered difficulties to be the processing core for Sony’s upcoming game console. Will Sony really adopt a new design or just rely on its existing Cell Broadband Engine and further improve it?
In the article’s beginning, it was mentioned that Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE)’s next generation game console CPU and GPU has been put into consideration.
That being said, among the choices was to use Playstation3’s Cell Broadband Engine (Cell BE) and further improve on it.
However, another processing unit was also being considered. And that processing unit was the Intel Larrabee, which was considered for its CPU and GPU functionality.
Larrabee’s first generation is the first among others to have the largest number of cores – a total of 16 cores, integrated onto the die . With 16 cores wide and 4 times more in vector algometric calculating features, the GPU is also capable of rendering 3D graphics.
Also, as the CPU itself is a x86, it has the normal CPU functionality that we know in PCs as well.
Currently, SCE’s PS4 main core architecture has not been officially confirmed yet. PS4’s processor selection will also be the key to determine the next Playstation’s re-emerging success.
Hence, the selection of CPU and GPU between Cell BE and Larrabee pose a very important role in their selection process.
It was mentioned that SCE ‘s senior management does have intention to having Larrabee as part of its consideration and there were difficulties to have Larabee as the processing core. Here are some of the reasons given:
- Larrabee graphics processing efficiency is somehow an “unknown”
- There is a need to change how Larrabee works.
One of the key differences between Larrabee and having a GPU that was mentioned in the article was that Larrabee.
- Easier to Adopt Cell BE
Considering the hardware was designed to have a way of developing an enhanced version of the Cell BE PS4 is natural to adopt. Having a Larrabee will mean higher development costs, something Sony might want to avoid too.