Apple's High-Water Mark?
Subject:   Cell's PPE is not at all related to the POWER5
Date:   2006-03-30 17:39:12
From:   pquam
Response to: Cell's PPE is not at all related to the POWER5

If by general purpose computing, you mean email, internet, the office suite, etc., then all you need is a PIII and some fast drives. In other words, the excitement about general purpose computing is dead. The only way to make general purpose computing fun anymore is to pack it into something that weighs 6 oz., or give it unbelievable performance per watt.

At up to 4ghz with absolutely phenomenal I/O, Cell is more than fast enough for this stuff; all of the overhead generated by techniques to try to feed the processor (like out-of-order processing) continuously actually slowed down the P4 and its sucessors, in my opinion. The consensus in the processor design community is that chips had become unnecessarily complicated with these techniques, and that they didn't pay enough attention to I/O. Cell was specifically designed to remedy that.

Cell is a specialized processor, and its specialty is in what consumers care most about: multimedia. This was also Apple's specialty until recently, which is what I assume led to this article's focus on Apple. Cell has over 200 fully programmable gigaflops, which is like 30 times more than your average processor these days (or about 3 times more than a quad G5). Cell is a consumer electronics dream.