Friday, February 04, 2005

The Cell chip - what it is, and why you should care

By Andrew Orlowski in San Francisco

Analysis No chip in years has caused as much excitement as the Cell processor developed by IBM, Sony and Toshiba. It promises to be the most important microprocessor of the decade, with potentially enormous repercussions for how the industry computes, and how the rest of us use digital media. It will power the PlayStation 3 and technical and commercial computing.

Technical details of Cell will be disclosed at the International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco next week, and in anticipation we'll look first at how the Cell works and then tomorrow at what it means to the industry and consumers.

Excitement about Cell has already led to some wild and poorly informed speculation, as Ars Technica's Jon Stokes rued last week. But earlier in the month, Microprocessor Report's Tom Halfhill published an investigation into a detailed patent filed in 2001, and published by the USPTO in October, and he was kind enough to discuss it with us. We'll refer to it as the '734 patent.
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