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Sony has offered more detailed specifications for its upcoming handheld PlayStation console, the PSP.

Most notably, the new machine will feature built-in 802.11 wireless networking to enable multi-player gaming, the company said in Japan yesterday.

The PSP will be powered by a 90nm processor built from a MIPS 32-bit R4000 cores. The chip will feature a SIMD vector processing engine along the lines of Intel's SSE and PowerPC's AltiVec. Together with the chip's floating point units, the vector engine can churn out 2.6GFlops, Sony said.

It will feature 8MB of embedded memory clocked to 333MHz and operating at 1.2V. The memory bandwidth is quoted as 2.6GBps.

A second MIPS R4000 core will be used as the basis for the PSP's media engine, with 2MB of embedded DRAM, and again fabbed at 90nm.

Alongside these two chips will sit two dedicated graphics processors, one for high-level graphics manipulation , handling surfaces, bones, b-splines (nurbs), bezier curves and the like, and the other for the raw pixel shunting. This second core contains 2MB of embedded video memory operating across a 256-bit 5.3GBps bus. It can deliver a fill rate of 664 million pixels per second in 24-bit colour and churn out 33 million polygons per second with transform and lighting effects.

Sony is building an optical drive into the PSP. The unit uses what Sony calls the Universal Media Disc, DVD-like dual-layer medium offering 1.8GB of storage. UMD comes with DVD-style region coding and copy-protection mechanism based on the Advanced Encryption System (AES). Each disc has a unique ID number too.

The PSP will feature Dolby 7.1 multi-channel audio, with 3D sound. It will support MP3, AAC and Sony's own ATRAC3 sound formats. It uses AVC (H.264) and MPEG4 for video. The machine's UMD media can hold up to two hours' of DVD-quality video or four hours 'standard' quality, whatever that is. Either way, movies are displayed on the unit's 16:9 widescreen ratio 480 x 272-pixel LCD.

In addition to 802.11 - which version, Sony doesn't say - there's a USB 2.0 port, IrDA interface, Memory Stick slot and a proprietary expansion connector. ®

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