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Tuesday, May 17, 2005
Sony Strikes Back with PlayStation 3

Sony released details of its upcoming gaming console, PlayStation 3, at a reception at Sony Pictures in Culver City on Monday afternoon.

The announcement follows last week's unveiling of Microsoft's Xbox 360 and the expected announcement of a new Nintendo console on Tuesday.


CPU: Cell Processor
- PowerPC-base Core @3.2GHz
- 1 VMX vector unit per core
- 512KB L2 cache
- 7 x SPE @3.2GHz
- 7 x 128b 128 SIMD GPRs
- 7 x 256KB SRAM for SPE
- 1 of 8 SPEs reserved for redundancy
- total floating point performance: 218 GFLOPS

- RSX @550MHz
- 1.8 TFLOPS floating point performance
- Full HD (up to 1080p) x 2 channels
- Multi-way programmable parallel pipelines

- Dolby 5.1ch, DTS, LPCM, etc. (Cell- base processing)

- 256MB XDR Main RAM @3.2GHz
- 256MB GDDR3 VRAM @700MHz

System Bandwidth
- Main RAM: 25.6GB/s
- VRAM: 22.4GB/s
- RSX: 20GB/s (write) + 15GB/s(read)
- SB: 2.5GB/s (write) + 2.5GB/s (read)

System Floating Point Performance

- HDD: Detachable 2.5" HDD slot x 1

- USB: Front x 4, Rear x 2 (USB2.0)
- Memory Stick: standard/Duo, PRO x 1
- SD: standard/mini x 1
- CompactFlash: (Type I, II) x 1

- Ethernet: (10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T) x 3 (input x 1 + output x 2)
- Wi-Fi: IEEE 802.11 b/g
- Bluetooth: Bluetooth 2.0 (EDR)

- Bluetooth:(up to 7)
- USB2.0: (wired)
- Wi-Fi: (PSP)
- Network: (over IP)

AV Output
- Screen size: 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p
- HDMI: HDMI out x 2
- Analog: AV MULTI OUT x 1
- Digital audio: DIGITAL OUT (OPTICAL) x 1

Disc media
- CD: PlayStation CD-ROM, PlayStation 2 CD-ROM
- SACDL: SACD Hybrid (CD layer), SACD HD
- DualDisc: DualDisc (audio side), DualDisc (DVD side)
- DVD: PlayStation 2 DVD-ROM, PLAYSTATION 3 DVD-ROM, DVD-Video (DVD-ROM, DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R, DVD+RW), Blu-ray Disc (PlayStation 3 BD-ROM, BD-Video, BD-ROM, BD-R, BD-RE).

Sony's PS3 will fully support the company's proprietary Blu-ray format for its gaming discs, the same format the company is pushing for next generation DVDs. Most importantly, for those with many PlayStation games, the PS3 is backwards compatible with both PlayStation and PS2 games.

The PS3 will use a Cell processor built by IBM running at a speed of 3.2 GHz. Sony claims that this processor is nearly twice as fast as the Xbox 360 CPU running at the same speed due to Cell technology.

Powering the graphics within the new console is a chip that Nvidia custom built for the PS3. The two companies will bring something called the RSX Graphics Processor, which will allow for life-like game characters and scenes. It will enable the PS3 to power up to 2000 by 1000 pixels in real-time and take advantage of high-definition televisions for gaming - up to two of them for a 32:9 aspect ratio. If you are fortunate enough to have two 16:9 HD displays, the PS3 will support a panorama 32:9 viewing mode that will span both displays.

Sony also mentioned that the console would support encrypted P2P transfers between consoles, over a WiFi connection.

Like Xbox 360, PS3 will have 512MB of RAM, but unlike its rival console, which has a unified memory architecture that shares RAM betwen the CPU and GPU, it will divide that up in much the same way that modern PCs do - with 256MB of very high speed XDR main RAM running at 3.2Ghz, and 256MB of GDDR graphics RAM running at 700Mhz.

According to NVIDIA, the RSX offers performance stronger than two GeForce 6800 Ultra SLI GPUs and is based on their next-generation GF70 architecture. The RSX GPU is connected to the Cell by a 35GB/s link (20GB/s write, 15GB/s read), that's much more bandwidth than any present day CPU-GPU link on the PC side. The RSX can render pixels to any part of memory, giving it access to the full 512MB of memory of the PS3.

The PS3 will support up to 7 controllers using its internal Bluetooth controller (compared to Xbox 360's 4 controller support). The implication is that PS3 will use Bluetooth wireless controllers by default.

Due to the power available with the new console, gamers will now be able to listen to digital music, watch video or look at photos, use the PS3 video communication, and access the Internet even while gaming.

Sony expects the console to be available in the Spring of 2006.

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