IBM, Sony Corp., Sony Computer Entertainment and Toshiba Corp. said Monday that the companies had “powered on” the first workstation designed around the collaboratively designed “Cell” processor, which will begin pilot production next year.
The companies confirmed further details about the chip and said additional disclosures will be made at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference in San Francisco beginning Feb. 6.
The “Cell” processors claim to fame is that it will serve as the processor powering Sony Computer Entertainments next-generation entertainment console, the PlayStation 3.
However, the PowerPC-derived, 64-bit multicore chip is also designed to be scalable, allowing it to be used in products from consumer electronics devices to workstations and some servers.
IBM, for example, plans to use it to power a Cell-based workstation, first disclosed in May and now up and running in trial form. A one-rack Cell processor-based workstation will reach a performance of 16 teraflops, or trillions of floating point calculations per second, IBM said.
IBM did not say whether the Cell workstation that was “powered on” used an early Cell chip, or a simulation running on some other hardware.
In addition to the PS3, Sony plans to launch home servers for broadband content as well as high-definition televisions powered by Cell in 2006. Toshiba also said it expects HDTVs powered by the Cell chip to launch in 2006.