Rumour: PlayStation 4 to Ditch Cell Processor, No Backwards Compatability

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Sony is to ditch the PS3’s Cell Processor, Forbes say that AMD is working on the graphics

Kotaku’s sources claim Sony is going to ditch the Cell Processor found in the PlayStation 3

According to Kotaku, Sony’s next generation console – whether called the PlayStation 4 or otherwise – will not continue using the Cell Processor found in its current console. Along with this, Forbes is reporting that AMD is now working on the graphics.

Kotaku’s source also support Forbes similar report: “chip-maker AMD would make the graphics chip for the PS4,” parting company with Nvidia (who made the PS3’s Cell GPU).

As Kotaku also says, this may be a welcome move for developers: the current PS3 chip has caused difficult for some developers. However, if Sony did move away from the Cell processor then the combination of a different GPU and CPU would mean the next generation console would offer no backwards compatibility to past consoles.

The PS3’s Cell processor resulted in the console becoming the most powerful of the three of the current generation. As Kotaku also point out, Cell was the child of Ken Kutaragi – founding member, senior technology advisor and former chairman of Sony – whose idea was to have multiple devices connected by the Cell Processor.

Despite the PS3 being more powerful, the Xbox 360 remained competitive and at times games on both platforms were indistinguishable in their visual quality. As Kotaku report, the Xbox 360 has known to been the go-to place when it comes to third-party titles with developers being compelled “to make their games run on … the generally-more-popular Xbox 360.”

Kotaku also speculate over what Sony would do with a new, AMD-build processor. As pointed out, different GPUs and CPUs would mean no backwards compatibility: “I’ve heard … that AMD will provide both the CPU and GPU” for the PlayStation 4. Not only would this mean backwards compatibility could be a reality, but developers could find it a more attractive development platform.

Renowned industry programmer John Carmack – Technical Director of id Software, the developers of Rage – had this to say about a unified AMD architecture: it “is almost a foregone conclusion.”

Forbes reported a similar story: AMD employees said Sony is working on an as-yet-unannounced video game console.

Published: Friday, March 2nd, 2012 Last Modified: March 2, 2012

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