Thinking About The Playstation 3 Hardware

Thinking About The Playstation 3 HardwareWith the PlayStation 4 officially announced, it's easy to forget what came before it as gamers everywhere are hyped for the next big console. The PlayStation 3, released in 2006, was undoubtedly the most powerful gaming console of the last generation. It looks like Sony will be following that same path with the PS4 but for now, let's take a look at how the PS3 hardware holds up.

In the most basic terms it is estimated that the Playstation 3 is roughly 35 times more powerful than its older brother the Playstation 2, the big reason for this huge leap in “power” was revealed by Sony to be there Cell Processor that was making the Playstation 3 this technical powerhouse.

The Cell is the work of SCE (Sony Computer Entertainment) IBM and Toshiba three heavyweights no doubt. In fact the Playstation 3 was the very first video game console to use the Cell, it is speculated that Nintendo will be using Cell technology in the upcoming Wii U console. Clocking in at a very impressive 3.2ghz the Cell processor really does fire a rocket behind the Playstation 3.

One feature that in a way is actually quite impressive but also one of the downfalls of the Playstation 3 is in regards to the consoles ram. Playstation 3 has 256mb of system ram and an additional 256mb of video ram. This is perhaps the biggest downfall of the Playstation 3 the split ram. Sony themselves have said that once a game starts using ram there is no way that the console can get it back. It is kind of unfair to compare the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 as truth be told they are both built quite differently, but it is fair to say that the Xbox 360 makes much better use of the ram it has than the Playstation 3. Its not as if the Xbox 360 has loads more ram either it just makes better use of what it has.

Cross game voice chat, this is one feature that even Microsoft themselves will have to admit they did not think would be as popular as it is. However because of the way that games use the ram of the Playstation 3 it is absolutely impossible for the Playstation 3 to offer cross game chat. To some gamers this really is not a huge issue, but to most gamers once you have sampled cross game chat and have the ability to talk to a buddy while playing a totally different game than they are playing, then you really do think its a cool feature. There had been talk for some time that Sony were working on a way to make cross game chat available, until they said there was no way to go back and make this happen. To be fair there is no way that Sony could have know just how much people would want this cross game chat but they have made amends with the Playstation Vita, which has more ram and will offer Sony gamers the chance to have cross game chat.

Playstation 3 PS3 HardwareWhile there is no doubt that the Playstation 3 is one powerful machine, it has also been said by numerous developers that it is actually quite hard to program for. This is due to the Cell processor and the exotic insides that the Playstation 3 has. If a developer really takes the time to get to grips with the hardware then the results are absolutely staggering, sadly only a handful of developers have taken this approach. Some games 2011’s Skyrim from Bethesda for example really struggle and Bethesda themselves have admitted that they knew there would be problems before the game was even released. To the credit of Bethesda they are trying the best they can to fix the problems but the lack of knowledge of the hardware of the Playstation 3 is really showing especially in comparison to the Xbox 360 version of Skyrim.

With the Playstation 4 right around the corner it is very exciting to think of all the possibilities for what developers will do with the hardware. If you're interested in reading about the PlayStation 4 specs and what the future of gaming will look like, you can check out the official PS4 Experts PS4 Specs page. Sony has also corrected one major flaw that the PlayStation 3 had: the difficulty in programming for it. In fairness some of the blame has to be put at the developers for not taking the time to learn. If you look at the very first Playstation and its rival the Sega Saturn, one of the things that really went in Sony’s favor was that the original Playstation was very easy to make games for. Sega’s Saturn on the other hand was very difficult for developers to make games for and it really did show. Sony did so many things right with the Playstation 3 and they really wanted the console to be this technical powerhouse and that is admirable but with the PlayStation 4, they have succeeded in not only making a graphical powerhouse but one that is easy to develop for. That's a win/win situation for both Sony and gamers everywhere.

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Comments

ylod

Why are the system s havn this issue I dont understand how can we fix this issue if we bought it off ebay or something.payn all this money then messes up. Please get back to me .michaelherrera865@Yahoo.com

In a Nutshell

[[From NEOGAF Forums]]
Brad Grenz
(Today, 08:12 AM)

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#511
Originally Posted by Special J: View Post
its still difficult to develop for because the ppu and spus are asymmetrical. most games still dont utilize the cell cpu, if they do they're almost independent to the rendering pipeline and used for more remedial tasks like morphological anti aliasing. cell processor was just poorly conceived it seemed like a proprietary solution to save on transistors & performance by sacrificing ease of programming and focusing only on trying to maximize theoretical gflops.
those problems are still not solved multiplatform games still time and time again still outshine on 360/PC, and the ones which are slightly better on PS3 is because they are being heavily lead developed on the PS3.
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You're just repeating 5 year old stereotypes about Cell usage. Everyone who is shipping PS3 games these days is using SPUs to a significant degree. It's memory constraints and RSX that hold back multiplatform games, not Cell, and yet we still see games that are better on PS3 than 360 with some regularity.

Sony Cells Out to x86 - Wrong

You mean a rumour has surface that Sony has abandoned Cell for x86 PC and AMD?

This is probably not true.

The Cell's floating point performance has only been recently matched by Intel's Sandybridge CPU... at 5Ghz.
PS3's Cell has a approximately 152Gigaflops with all 6 SPE's running at 100% efficiency. That completely destroys the biggest Intel x86 CPU in a single precision compute performance at default clocks.

Sony won't abandon Cell in the PS4.
The reason that is, is because the Developers that count - that put the effort into moving forward with multiple processors and parallel coded game engines - can do things that can't be done on the Xbox360 or the x86 PC.

It was very very difficult to do in the first 5 years, but in the last 2-3 years, the "developer tools" have already been established to make use of 1 Cell, or 4 Cells - if the PS4 does then make use of a similar architecture to the PS3 (and at least going for Unified Memory).

Do you want to know what the double precision performance of a Quad-Cell is?
1 Teraflop.
Do you want to know what the performance per watt is of the Cell?
FAR BEYOND ANY CISC Intel or AMD x86 CPU CORE for the next 5 years.

If Sony abandons RISC CELL technology, it would be the biggest mistake stacked on top of the most difficult transition they ever made with the PS3 - which was simply Blu-ray.
It had little to do with Cell or how difficult it was to code for - other than * LAZY GAME DEVELOPERS WANTING x86 PC architectures to COPY AND REPEAT WHAT WAS ESTABLISHED ON THE x86 PC FOR THE PAST 20 YEARS.

*Caps added to lessen tradgedy.

Giving Back

It's pretty much confirmed - and Sony are trying suggestively toward a break away point from Cell - that the Cell won't be used in the PS4.

It will follow Nintendo and Xbox.
The translation being that it will have generic IBM CPU cores and AMD's GCN GPU.

It's also likely that these three next gen consoles will be very close in compute power - between 0.75 and 1.5 Teraflops.

The good news is that Nintendo and Microsoft and Sony are joining together to balance-act the game console industry.

This isn't about giving power to the user; it's about giving back the power to the game developers to do their jobs many times more efficiently, and an end to "comparisons" and "porting".

Question

What makes a console harder to develop games for? Is it the language used or something else?

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