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PS3 to keep tickin' should Cell lose a core
by Punch Jump Crew

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The Playstation 3 will take a lickin' and keep on tickin' should the Cell processor lose one of its cores.

Tom Reeves, VP of semiconductor and technology services at IBM, told Electronic News that the PS3 would maintain functionality if the eight-core Cell were to lose one core.

"...the Playstation 3 only uses seven of them. Youíd have a spare. That isnít implemented in Cell, but it could be. We implemented that same strategy for IBM systems. If you take a logic hit on a chip, you donít have any impact on performance because there is enough redundancy built in."

However, should the Cell only have seven cores to start with and one blows,†the system†may not function.

"Itís just like a reliability failure on your TV or DVD recorder,"†Reeves said. "If itís within warranty, you send it back. If itís not, your game doesnít work anymore. Youíll always have choices about how reliable you want to make a chip with burn-in. Most chips that go into the consumer marketplace on things such as camcorders or DVD players arenít burned in. But you can add burn-in and improve reliability 5x to 10x. Itís extra cost. Certainly, a company like Sony adds that in."

The inclusion of the complex Cell processor is a large factor in the PS3 price tier. In Feb. 2006, Merrill Lynch estimated the cost of the Cell processor at $230.

The Playstation 2 successor will drop to retail on Nov. 17 for $499 and $599 with extras.

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