CELL Processor development is nearing completion (2nd edition!)


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better spacing for easier reading this time, I hope :)

CELL development is nearing completion - Toshiba boss

Rob Fahey 14:30 15/09/2004
PlayStation 3 edges closer as Toshiba wraps up its work on CELL

Development work on the next-generation CELL microprocessor is nearly
complete, according to Toshiba president Tadashi Okamura, whose
company is working on the chip along with partners Sony and IBM.

Full-scale commercial production of CELL is not due to start until
early next year, but the first completed chips will be completed
shortly - presumably on schedule to power the content creation
workstations Sony has promised will be available by the end of 2004.

"[CELL] will be used in IBM's computer, Sony's game machine, and
Toshiba's digital consumer electronics, among other things," Okamura
told the Japanese business publication Nikkei Journal this week. "It
will change the world."

CELL is designed to operate as a massively parallel processor,
specifically designed for handling graphics and
communication-intensive tasks. The chip is engineered to operate in
multi-processor environments, and it's expected that the PlayStation 3
will be powered by as many as eight of the devices.

IBM and Sony also plan to ship CELL workstations and servers aimed at
the creative industries, which would feature more of the processors,
and would potentially be upgradeable simply by adding "blades" with
more processors on them.

Toshiba and Sony, meanwhile, both plan to integrate CELL into a range
of consumer electronics devices, ranging from the PlayStation 3 game
console to televisions, set-top boxes and mobile phones.

It's believed that the partner companies are also currently working on
an operating system for the CELL platform, which would enable
interoperability and transparent communications between devices based
on the processor.

PlayStation 3 is expected to be unveiled to the world before the end
of Sony's current financial year - which hints that the console will
take its first public bow in Q1 2005, if not before the end of this
calendar year.


Cell Approaches Completion
PS3, here we come!

September 14, 2004 - Development on Sony, IBM and Toshiba's
multi-purpose Cell processor has reached its final stage, the morning
edition of Japanese newspaper Nihon Keizai Shimbun reveals today.
Company officials, while expectedly shy with details on the technology
behind the chip, stated "It will be used in such areas as IBM brand
computers, Sony game machines and Toshiba home appliances and could
change the world."

Production on Cell is expected to start next year, marking Toshiba's
130th anniversary. While Sony Computer Entertainment hopes to unveil
its PS3 to the world later this year or early next, the next
generation PlayStation system won't be the debut product for the Cell.


CELL Processor Raring To Go???

IBM quietly begins work on new production plant, whilst Toshiba claim
development has entered the final stage.

TVG today learnt that IBM has begun a major expansion of it processor
manufacturing plant in Wiccopee New York, which has been widely
suggested for the need to produce CELL processor chips ahead of the
launch of the Playstation3.

It's believed that the plant will be finished in 15 months, and that
work is commencing at a rapid pace to ensure the plant opens on time
and is ready for full-scale production of the CELL processor.

Although there has been a distinct lack of publicity surrounding the
expansion, it's believed that the $1 billion project has benefited
from a $325 million cash injection by Sony Corporation, amidst claims
that they'll need to produce at least 10 million processors within the
first year of manufacturing.

The news comes after comments from Toshiba's President, Tadashi
Okamura, who recently told the well-respected Nihon Keizai Shimbun,
that development on the CELL processor has entered into the final

As Playstation fans will recall, Sony Computer Entertainment's Ken
Kutaragi, claimed that the Playstation3 will make its debut at next
year's E3 event, with all eyes turned towards the forthcoming Tokyo
Game Show for further announcements.



IBM chip site being expanded
Company is gearing up for Sony deal
By Craig Wolf
Poughkeepsie Journal

WICCOPEE -- There were no groundbreaking ceremonies, no politicians
and no public parties when IBM Corp. began its major expansion of
capacity here. But it's being built -- fast and hard -- despite the
soft-pedaling on the publicity. Industry experts say the reason is
obvious: IBM is gearing up its chip-making muscle to handle much
larger volumes in the future, likely a forthcoming deal with Sony
Computer Entertainment Inc.

Construction people say IBM must be seeing that future opening up
about 15 months from now, because that's when they want the building

It's happening rapidly. An internal road called Development Drive is
closed to traffic, and never has the name been more apt, for only
construction trucks rumble on it now.

Dozens of hard-hatted workers swarm the scene daily, and some even at
night, thanks to an array of floodlights installed in a ring around
the site. Heavy construction equipment crawls over the acreage, which
now features most of the foundation for a three-story structure of
some 372,000 square feet and a process floor of 74,000 square feet.

That's about half the dimensions of its next-door parent building,
323, better known as the 300-millimeter plant after the size of the
jumbo silicon wafers that it processes into some of the world's most
sophisticated chips.

Unlike the hoopla attending every phase of the first plant, a $2.5
billion project that took IBM into the next-generation 300-millimeter
siliconwafers, this expansion wasn't formally announced.

Rick Bause, a spokesman for the Microelectronics Division
headquartered here, said, ''We haven't announced any plans to expand
our operation.''

He added, ''It's no secret that we are doing infrastructure structure
and development work that will allow us to proceed with this potential
project. This is a normal process and things need to get done in a

That sequence apparently goes as far as putting a roof on the
structure. Massive pre-fabricated concrete pieces await their turn in
another parking

''We're working around the clock to meet the schedule for IBM,'' said
Phil Benante, business agent for the local Laborers union in
Poughkeepsie, which
supplies some of the labor to contractors there. He estimated about 70
people have typically been employed on the project.

'I'm glad it's going. We need the work and, hopefully, it will put
more local people to work at IBM once it's completed,'' Benante said.
IBM has estimated it will take 500 to run the plant if fully tooled
up. Tools are about four-fifths of the cost of a new chip plant.

IBM declines to put out any public numbers on costs. But it could run
to $1 billion or so, estimated Richard Doherty, research director for
Envisioneering Group in Seaford, Nassau County. This plant, called
323-A, is about half the size of the existing Building 323, and shares
much of the site infrastructure that has previously been expanded.

Why build it? After all, IBM hasn't quite finished filling the first
'fab' with tools or getting it to full capacity.

'That says they'll be ramping up for ... chips for Sony and others in
late 2005,' Doherty said, ''and they need the capacity of the new fab
for 2006.'

Deal not yet official

The Sony deal isn't signed and sealed. But Doherty said he had no
doubt it would be. Sony Entertainment's top executive, Ken Kutaragi,
has said the new Playstation 3 machine will be shown at a conference
in May. Sales would likely follow months later.

Sony, IBM and Toshiba are working on the ''cell" chip concept, now
being called ''grid'' by some. Sony has announced investment of $325
million in IBM's plants here.

Consumer products have not been IBM Microelectronics' big business,
but this is changing.

Playstation, the original model, sold more than 100 million units,
Sony announced in May, and the Playstation 2 was around 70 million at
the start of this year.

Sony's early demand for chips will be in the ''Tens of millions'' for
Playstation 3, said Len Jelinek, analyst with iSuppli Corp., a market
research firm in El Segundo, Calif. ''The kids are going to want them
....when it hits the market.''

Jelinek said IBM's own computer sales and use of the PowerPC line of
chips by others will be stressed by addition of load from all three
major gaming platforms. IBM also makes chips for Microsoft's Xbox and
for Nintendo.

''Do the math and it's going to take acres of silicon to support all
three of those guys if they are the primary design win and
manufacturer for all three,' Jelinek said.

Doherty agreed with the estimate, ''easily 10 million Playstations the
first year,'' but said, ''Whether they're all made in New York or
Tokyo, I don't know yet.''

From the looks on the ground at IBM here, IBM is trying to prepare to
provide its share.


Toshiba president: CELL development nearly complete

Following reports from last month, Tadashi Okamura confirms that the
CELL chip is nearing completion.

TOKYO - Following reports from last month that the CELL chip's designs
have almost been completed, the Nikkei Journal is now reporting that
Toshiba president Tadashi Okamura has confirmed that the chip's
development is nearing completion.

In development by Sony, IBM, and Toshiba since the spring of 2001, the
CELL is a next-generation multimedia processor with the ability to
handle intensive graphics and high-bandwidth communications. The CELL
is expected to be used in Sony's next-generation video game console,
which is unofficially referred to as the PlayStation 3.

"[The CELL] will be used in IBM's computer, Sony's game machine, and
Toshiba's digital consumer electronics, among other things," Okamura
said. "It will change the world."

While specific details on the CELL remain elusive, the chip's
commercial production is scheduled to begin next year, which is
coincidently when Toshiba will be celebrating its 130th anniversary.
However, as part of its presentation at E3 2004, Sony said graphics
workstations using the CELL could be available as soon as this winter.

By Hirohiko Niizumi -- GameSpot

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