Feeds

Toshiba readies Cell-based graphics engine

Watch out, Nvidia, here comes... er... SpursEngine

The essential guide to IT transformation

Toshiba will next week formally announce a processor based on the Cell chip that sits inside each Sony PlayStation 3 games console. The new CPU will be pitched not only at consumer electronics kit but set head-to-head with today's PC and Mac graphics chips.

To be fair to Nvidia, AMD and co., Toshiba's October announcement only covers a prototype of the bizarrely named SpursEngine processor - no, it's not going to be fabbed in Tottenham - as the company has yet to finalise the products specifications.

What it'll be showing off on 2 October at Japan's CEATEC exhibition is a version of SpursEngine that contains four of the Synergistic Processing Element (SPE) cores that, along with a PowerPC-based general-purpose processing core, make up the PS3's CPU.

Toshiba's SpursEngine GPU
Toshiba's SpursEngine: own goal or champion GPU?

Alongside those four SPEs sit dedicated H.264 and MPEG 3 decode and encode circuitry, along with 256KB of on-chip data storage. The prototype processor will be clocked at 1.5GHz, Toshiba said, and consume 10-20W - depending on load, presumably.

Like the PS3, the SpursEngine is designed to connect to Rambus' high-speed XDR memory, and can sit on a x1, x2 or x4 PCI Express 1.1 graphics card.

The chip will be demo'd in a notebook computer - Toshiba's big on laptops, don't forget - which it said will be grabbing attendees faces, rendering them as computer animations and applying hair styles and make-up in real-time.

Not quite, Metal Gear Solid, Gears of War or Crysis, we'll admit, but you can see that Toshiba has these kinds of applications in mind too. Whether the SpursEngine operates with Microsoft's PC gaming foundation software, DirectX 10, remains to be seen.

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Apple's iWatch? They cannae do it ... they don't have the POWER
Analyst predicts fanbois will have to wait until next year
AMD unveils 'single purpose' graphics card for PC gamers and NO ONE else
Chip maker claims the Radeon R9 285 is 'best in its class'
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Apple to build WORLD'S BIGGEST iStore in Dubai
It's not the size of your shiny-shiny...
Just in case? Unverified 'supersize me' iPhone 6 pics in sneak leak peek
Is bigger necessarily better for the fruity firm's flagship phone?
Steve Jobs had BETTER BALLS than Atari, says Apple mouse designer
Xerox? Pff, not even in the same league as His Jobsiness
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?