The PS3’s innovative ‘Cell’ processor presumably won’t be used in the PS4 if reports this morning, claiming the chip is “dead in the water”, are to be believed. Apparently German website Heise Online has quoted IBM’s Vice President of Deep Computing, David Turek, saying the planned successor to the current processor, slated to have two PowerPC processors and 32 SPEs, will not be released. Extrapolating, then, you can summise that the Cell processor line is terminated, at least as far as IBM is concerned, with the current PowerXCell 8i the last one off the production line at the company.
The Cell, once stated to be in everything from games consoles to food blenders, was never particular quick at certain tasks, with a 1.4GHz Niagara already running 13 times faster than the 3.2GHz Cell at ‘long string pattern matching’, for example. What does this mean for the PS4, which was reported to be utilising the Cell architecture? Well, it’s entirely possible that it’ll still use the 8i, although by the time the PS4 rolls around it’ll be a little outdated. Let’s hope IBM have something else up their sleeves for the next generation, as there’s nothing stopping them going down the hybrid GPU route.
Update: It appears that the sourced article at Fudzilla isn’t quite the full story. Reading further into this, the original German story at Heise actually states that it’s only the planned successor to the current PowerXCell-8i processor, slated to have two PowerPC processors and 32 SPEs, that will not be released. There’s no specific mention that IBM are halting the development of other Cell processors in the report, and thus there’s every chance that the PS4 could still use some variant of the Cell. Hope this clears up this story somewhat.