The world of gaming is about to change very soon with the help of Sony PlayStation 3's maturity. Sony has already registered PS3 in Japan as a trademark. The new heart inside PS3 is named Emotion Engine 2 (successor to the Emotion Engine of PS2). Sony's PlayStation 3 game console, right now is the hottest, and most talked about gadget in the entertainment industry. One can only imagine and wonder exactly what will Sony's next generation console will become. I've been looking into information all over, and am going to give you a ride into the facts and myths of PS-3. See if you can keep up, what you're about to read is unbelievable, but true.
Driving Force of PS3 & Emotion Engine 2, The Cell™: The STI group (which stands for Sony, Toshiba, and IBM) had been involved to create the Cell processors since March 2001. The processor will change the way console gaming is, forever. This new technological breakthrough is so much improved, that it has been claimed as 1000 times (yes, that's 3 zeros) more powerful gaming capability than the current PS2. The cell's each SPU (discussed in detail later) is expected to run at around stunning 3.2 GHz speed (x8 total 8 SPUs) capable of >256GFLOPS, that's lot more than NVIDIA's latest NV40 or Intel's Itanium 2. The speed alone is 13 times faster than the 300MHz Emotion Engine which powers the PS2. Long story short, that's way more powerful than even the high-end PCs of today.
"PS3 will provide graphics indistinguishable from movies…" - Gerhard Florin, EA.
Before you start comparing PC to PlayStation, note this: A gaming console is basically a "dedicated hardware", meaning every single chip, transistor, and memory simply everything inside was designed only for one sole purpose - to play games. On the other hand, even though computer processors are much faster, these are not dedicated gaming machines, meaning, if you have a console and a pc powered by the same speed, a console can easily outperform a pc's gaming capabilities. Just visualize, PS2 is a five year old system, and was designed by Sony even earlier; back in the time of first generation GE-FORCE cards, or even earlier (remember 3dfx/Voodoo?). A technology that old, still today has enough power to compete with PC, and all other gaming consoles, and not only that, the PS2 even today is the world's most played/sold gaming device.
Don't be mistaken, by thinking PS3's Cell is simply a very fast processor. Speed is never the actual way of comparing devices; would you think a Celeron 1.8GHz and P4 1.8 GHz would give you same performance? The capabilities of Cell have been compared to super computers, and STI claimed Cell to be the world's first super computer chip for home use. At the core of the Cell is an IBM's 64-bit "Power Processor" that spreads the computing into eight (some sites have mentioned nine) interlinked "Synergistic Processing Units" something like 8 CPUs inside one CPU. Imagine, 256KB Local Storage per SPU and 512KB L2 Cache each = 2.5MB total; that's a lot more than the latest Pentium processors today. This will allow the Cell to effectively work on eight completely separate tasks at the same time. For PS3, the tasks could be video processing, audio processing, AI processing etc. PS3's Cell may or may not feature all eight of them; but is still anticipated to be massively powerful. As you've thinking, heat is obviously a concern in Cell. PS3 should also use air cooling like computers. But, what's more interesting is, it even has built-in hardware power management system in its processor to stay cool wicked 'eh?
Graphics Processing Unit: The official info that spreads around the net is NVIDIA is and has been working with Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc. on the GPU (RSX) for Sony's new system for more than two years now. That's pretty much all we know for sure. When I first got this information, the only reason I could think of for Sony to bring in NVIDIA was, The PS2's obvious weak points were low texture memory and poor image quality, and NVIDIA have always proved to do amazing work on both of those sectors. The part that is getting you confused is, if GPU is powered by NVIDIA, then how will Cell processor effect video quality of PS3? Well, as far as it's been expected, Cell processor would be doing almost all of the processing in the PS3, both the generalized (AI, physics, etc.) and a lot of the graphical work, NVIDIA's GPU will share some video work with Cell for the best possible output. PS3's Cell processor does indeed work with NVIDIA's GPU in a different fashion than regular CPUs tend to work with graphics solutions today. This GPU is totally custom made by NVIDIA for PS3 and will be a separate chip, not inside Cell. Some people also think, NVIDA might show SLI kind of technology inside PS3 using multiple GPUs. Ultimate result will be, being able to see better graphics than the new Unreal 3.0 engine (http://www.unrealtechnology.com) inside the PS3 games. Thus, many expect PS3 to have Cg™quality graphics inside game play. Cg is a high level programming language that enables content developers to create cinematic-quality real-time graphics easier and faster. But, unlike XBOX, the PS3 will not be powered mainly by NVIDIA's GPU, rather by Cell. This GPU will fill up any lacking that Sony might feel present in their Cell processors for PS3.
Type of Media Used for Game Discs: Sony is supposed to utilize the Blu-Ray disc (BD-ROM) in PlayStation 3 game console. The Blu-Ray disc will allow for storage capacities up to 50GB (compared to 4.7GB for today's DVDs). The Blu-ray Disc was founded by Sony, Panasonic, and 11 other major electronic giants. Like its ancestor, the popular DVD, the BD-ROM will primarily be used for movies. But rumor is, Sony has dumped the Blu-Ray and HD-DVD (another disc technology competing with Blu-Ray) discs and is working on a new medium (close to Blu-Ray) that will bring together both standards, with next generation copy protected file system. Thus, we, the people of 3rd world countries might have to wait a very long time for a reliable mod-chip equipped console.
First Ever Official Demonstration of PlayStation 3: On 16th May at E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) Sony has unveiled PS3. MS's new XBOX 360 was also shown on the same day. But Sony's PS-3 was definitely NEXGEN. It's obvious XBOX 360 is coming with loads of features, but comparing to Cell's super computer like, multitasking, state-of-the-art processor, and industry leading NVIDIA's graphic solution, XBOX 360 will only be a baby's toy. Sony it self claimed PS3 to be at least twice more powerful than Xbox 360. PlayStation 3 will change every single aspect of the world of gaming. It's not just an evolution, but a revolution. Sony also claimed the PS3's GPU more powerful than two GeForce 6800. Sony also mentioned PS3 can connect up to 7 wireless controllers via Bluetooth and also features Wi-Fi. The Wi-Fi will support current PSP as well as network connectivity. PS3 will also have Dual HDTV outputs, video conferencing and thousands of customization options. According to BBC, Microsoft has sent out Xbox2 development kits while kits for the PS3 and Revolution are still nowhere to be seen. Additionally, they scored a destined-to-be troublesome quote from an executive at EA Europe who drops the bomb that the "rumors are that PlayStation 3 will have a little more under the hood" than the Xbox 2." Not a good quote to hand to a major, global news source.
"The next-generation Sony PlayStation 3 is a graphical powerhouse with an impressive array of extra features." David Carnoy, CNET.
Sony might charge 350$-450$ initially for the console, which seems a bit too high; but then again, think about those High-End Cards from ATI & NVIDIA, or AMD's FX-55-they alone cost way over half a grand, so a PC with almost same capabilities will cost at least $2500 !!! Comparing to all that PS3's revolutionary technology and a 5 year lifespan can justify the price. Although, I also believe the price of the console could be less, to compete against XBOX 360. XBOX 360 might come out early, but I believe people who buy using their brains, would definitely wait a few months to get their hands on PS3, after all, PS3 can and will easily out perform XBOX360 in everyway!
You can forget about the game titles, Sony is the king of titles, PS, PS2, PSP - all set an example! And, already major companies (e.g. EA) have declared their full support for PS3! It's a fact, PS3 will change the history of 21st century's entertainment media forever, - it's not an evolution, it's a revolution! I'm just glad I'm alive to witness it!
Images courtesy of: Google, Steel Monkeys, PS3 LAND.