Thursday, November 02, 2006
The New PlayStation 3 is an Example of Cutting Edge Video Game Technology
One thing that many people use their televisions for that goes largely unnoticed in the greater scheme of things is video gaming. There are actually a variety of gaming platforms on the market that are designed to take full advantage of state of the art television technology like High Definition Television. The video game platform that's dominated the market all the way back to 1994 is Sony's PlayStation. With over thirteen thousand individual PlayStation video game titles available world wide, this platform easily backs up that domination.
Sony has recently released the latest version of it's PlatStation 3, often referred to simply as PS3. Not to outdone by Microsoft with it's new Xbox 360 which sports three separate processors each running at 3.2 Gigahertz, the Sony joined forces with IBM and Toshiba to develop what they call the Cell processor. The Cell processor has one 3.2 GigaHertz PowerPC processor with a 512 KB L2 cache which, while impressive in it's own right, only manages the eight other "Synergistic Processing Elements" (or SPEs) that do the real work. Each SPE is also equipped with 256 Kilobytes of SRAM for some serious number crunching.
One thing that's even more impressive about this system is that it's deliberately designed for redundancy. Even though there are eight SPEs, only seven of them are intended to work at any given time. The eighth one is in reserve in case one of the others fails.
So far we've accounted for nine processors (eight SPEs plus the one PowerPC processor), but Sony wasn't content with that. The new PS3 has a separate Graphic Processing Unit, or GPU, that is calls the RSX "Reality Synthesizer" which runs at 550-MHz and has 300 million transistors built in! The "Reality Synthesizer" has the ability to create graphics that are nearly indistinguishable from photographs of real objects, which promises an incredible step forward in gaming reality.
One feature of the new PS3 that's been much anticipated is it's ability to support 1080p resolution. Unfortunately that capability hasn't actually made it onto this model. It does still support standard definition 480i and high definition 720p resolution though.
The new PS3 also has lots of features that make it fully functional home entertainment device. For one thing it has a Blu-ray disc drive which enables it to play High Definition video when connected to a High Definition Television set. The Blu-ray drive is also backward compatible so the new PS3 can play all varieties of CD's and DVD's (ROM, R+W, +R, etc.) It's also able to play PlayStation and PlayStation 2 games.
The new PlayStation 3 will be available in a 20 Gigabyte hard drive model and a 60 Gigabyte hard drive model. The 20 Gigabyte model actually loses some functionality compared to last year's 20 Gigabyte model, including Wi-Fi compatibility, HDMI output, Flash Inputs, and a memory stick. The 60 Gigabyte model has lots of built in features though including 4 USB ports, a one Gigabit Ethernet port, and optical audio output among others. It also supports Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound (which it better if it's High Definition compatible).
With all of these great features and over 13,000 video games to play on it, the new PS3 is truly a competitive video game system.