Interesting PS3 BC rumor

Summary: PS3’s will ship with PS2s in them until they can get their emulation working 100%.

I find it an interesting rumor, but more than a little bit unlikely. I think it’s far more likely sony will just leave the PS2 chip on the machine, rather than throwing all those resources in to trying to assure backwards compatibility. It would probably save money in the long run. Plus, if the chip is there, I’m sure some crazy PS3 developer will end up using it just to sneak a bit more performance out of the system.

Although it raises an interesting idea of Sony shipping a system later on without BC functionality for a lower price. I wonder how likely that is?

It’s also the kind of rumor to inspire people to buy the system as soon as possible to get the 100% BC v. whatever the emulation ends up being down the road.

Which in turn will make BC even harder on the PS4…

If this rumor’s true and they put the PS2 chips in the PS3, it needs to remain fully off limits for PS3 games or Sony is just inviting even more trouble in the future.

Would this rule out uprezzing PS2 games and adding extra filtering and whatnot?

Possibly. But the IOP in the PS2 was the PSX processor, and it was available to PS2 games to use. It was often used exclusively for I/O and Sound. So I would suspect that if it’s there, it’ll be available. Which is why I expect this rumor is more than likely inaccurate.

I’m sure the Emotion Engine can be used for lots of things in PS3 so I suspect the brains of PSX and PS2 are already in the design and will ship in the box.

Actually, as anti-Sony as I am, I don’t think including the PS2 logic in the PS3 is a bad idea. This is one area where Sony can take advantage of the fact that they control the hardware manufacturing. The PS2 is basically a full system on a single chip these days anyway. Go ahead and throw one in the PS3 if you can do it without raising the cost substantially. When the PS4 comes out, throw one in there too, it’ll probably cost about 3 dollars then.

The way processors are headed, it’s likely that PS4, whatever that is, will be powered by like a cluster of Cell chips or something wacky like that. No matter how you look at it, Sony’s decision to design and fab these chips themselves is a win at the end of the day.

And when the PS5 comes out, they can just emulate the whole thing in software.

You ever have that feeling where you can’t tell whether or not you’re kidding?

It would be kewl to play PS1 and 2 games with anti aliasing. Not $599 kewl, of course.

I’m not much of a hardware guy, but would it be feasible to use the PS2 chip to run PS1/PS2 games, and then pipe that through the PS3 hardware for anti-aliasing, which should have no problems doing that if that’s it’s only task?

I’m the only one that thought this thread was about Battle Cruiser being made for PS3 right?

That’s nothing. I thought it was going to be about a PS3 port of BC’s Quest for Tires.

Nope, I was expecting a link to the Taco Commanders press release about the next-gen Battlecruiser title.

They neither designed the Cell themselves (it was a joint venture with IBM and Toshiba) nor are they fabbing them (IBM is).

Are you sure about the fabbing? What the hell are they going to do with all those plants that are making Emotion Engines right now? Just turn them off and forget about them? I think they plan to make the Cell themselves.

I know it was a joint venture on the design. It’s still something Sony “owns”.

No, though they could afford to do some amount of 2D image postprocessing to pretty up the result of the PS2 render a bit.

Yes, I’m sure about the fabbing. Sony makes hoards of other chips for their consumer electronics, I’m sure those fabs will have plenty to do. They would need some conversion work to transition them to 90nm SOI process that IBM uses and for which the Cell is currently designed, not to mention move them to 65nm (which they need to do in the near future with the Cell to get cost and power consumption down).

Maybe Sony will end up making them themselves at some point in the future, but for now it’s IBM-fabbed.

It’s not much of an advantage of Microsoft. Microsoft owns the designs for both the CPU and GPU in the 360 this time around. They were designed by IBM/ATI on contract and Microsoft owns all the designs and relevant patents, and can get them fabbed by whoever the lowest bidder is. Right now it’s IBM making the CPU and I believe TSMC making the GPU, but that can move to Chartered or UMC or whoever.

The disadvantage for Sony is that they’re using Rambus’ bus and RAM technology, both of which Sony has to license (and presumably pay royalties or a large lump sum for). And they’re using XDR RAM, which isn’t made in mass quantities and doesn’t have the economies of scale that GDDR3 does. (they’re also using GDDR3, of course)

My understanding is that Cell if fabbed in three locations, one IBM facility in Fishkill NY (which did the initial Cell production), a Toshiba facility, and a new Sony facility in Nagasaki. While Sony owns the Nagasaki facility they invested money in the IBM and Toshiba facilities specifically for the fab lines there. Is this incorrect?

Actually, you are correct in that the Nagasaki plant has been configured to produce Cell chips and they’ve been working on sample 300mm wafers for awhile. From what I’ve read, it’s not ready to roll and all the Cell chips actually used for anything are coming from Fishkill.

But you’re absolutely right about the Nagasaki plant - I had forgotten about that. So Sony is definitely going to produce Cell chips at some point, it’s just a matter of when they can get them running with acceptable yeilds.

Still, the point about it being an advantage for Sony stands - Microsoft owns their chip designs, too. And the investment in building the fab in Nagasaki is probably enough to offset whatever cost advantage they save over Microsoft getting chips fabbed by TSMC/IBM/wherever.