During a presentation at the International Solid State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) IBM, Sony and Toshiba disclosed in detail the multi-core architectural design of their jointly developed microprocessor code-named Cell. The Cell is capable of showing clock speeds greater than 4 GHz.
A team of IBM, Sony Group and Toshiba engineers has collaborated on development of the Cell microprocessor at a joint design center established in Austin, Texas, since March 2001. The prototype chip integrates 234 million transistors, and is fabricated with 90 nanometer SOI technology.
Cell's multi-core architecture and ultra high-speed communications capabilities deliver an improved, real-time response for entertainment and rich media applications, in many cases 10 times the performance of the latest PC processors.
The companies expect the Cell will become the broadband processor used for industrial applications to the new digital home.
Another advantage of Cell is to support multiple operating systems, such as conventional operating systems (including Linux), real-time operating systems for computer entertainment and consumer electronics applications as well as guest operating systems for specific applications, simultaneously.
Initial production of Cell microprocessors is expected to begin at IBM's facility in East Fishkill, N.Y., followed by Sony Group's Nagasaki Fab, this year. IBM, Sony Group and Toshiba expect to promote Cell-based products including a broad range of industry-wide applications, from digital televisions to home servers to supercomputers.