Sony Cell BE / RSX shrink & integration roadmap

Discussion in 'Console Technology' started by The Seventh Taylor, Apr 29, 2012.

  1. The Seventh Taylor

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    It's been over 24 months since the 40nm RSX was introduced in production of PS3, and over 30 months since the 45nm Cell was. Where are the 32nm versions? And where is the integrated Cell/RSX chip, the PS3-on-a-chip if you like?

    Is this what the shrink & integration roadmap looks like? Will they be combined? And will there be shrunk stand-alone versions first or will they go straight for the single die (or a SiP perhaps)?

    [​IMG]

    Also I can't help wondering: Why did PS2’s EE and GS have so many more shrink iterations (more than 1 per year) compared to PS3's Cell and RSX?

    Anyway, although nothing that points in this direction has leaked thus far I personally do believe Sony will launch some sort of PS3 Ultra Slim (whatever the name) at E3 this year.
     
  2. Ninjaprime

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    I would wager the fabs they have are way behind the industry leads, and 28nm, the next step after 40nm for GPUs, has only been out for what, 4 months from TSMC? Also, IIRC only AMD and Intel actually have 32nm products out right now, even IBM hasn't sold anything on 32nm yet. Sonys fabs with toshiba and their own GPU fab are probably at least a year behind TSMC and IBM. So maybe next year.
     
  3. tunafish

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    32nm and 28nm capacity is still at a serious premium, and basically all the fabs are operating at capacity (and will be for the immediate future, making smart phone, tablet and gpu chips). This means that shrinking would have little return, so it won't get done.

    The cost of shrinking has gone up, and the benefit from it has gone down at every node. This means that the shrink schedules are going to be much less aggressive.
     
  4. The Seventh Taylor

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  5. Ninjaprime

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  6. liolio

    liolio French frog
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    The question for me assuming a ~170 sq.mm chip (cell+rsx) is would the two 128bits bus fit?
     
  7. MrFox

    MrFox Deludedly Fantastic
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    If the rumor is true that sony is quickly moving toward TSVs... would it solve the problem to put the memory besides the chip on an interposer? Could save much on power consumption too. Maybe I'm dreaming but the next "slim" could be very small. I can see them continuing to shrink the PS3 to keep competing with the WiiU on price and size, and use the PS4 to compete against microsoft on power and core gaming.
     
  8. AlNets

    AlNets ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
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    I'd be curious to see what the combined layout would be considering how RSX interfaces with Cell via the FlexIO. I mean, if you just look at the analog portions of Cell, they are only along two ends of the chip, not along the sides (thus leading to that wasted die space we've been seeing as it's been shrunk over the years, but that's beside the point).

    Does that imply that RSX should be attached to the end of Cell (thus making for a long chip)? Can RSX even be laid out to fit that particular dimension?

    Know what I mean? :p

    Does Sony handle the design shrink for RSX or does nV do that? I'm curious about the tech collaborations involved here as well - does Sony have enough control over the RSX design to let IBM handle a die merger?

    ---------

    At any rate, there was an article sometime last year that mentioned Sony had no plans for further die reductions. Everything in the link in the OP is really just wishful thinking at this point (i.e. assumptions upon assumptions).
     
  9. The Seventh Taylor

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    Interesting! Could you find back the link?

    ETA: Never mind, I guess you mean this post? http://forum.beyond3d.com/showthread.php?t=59567

    And this one? http://forum.beyond3d.com/showthread.php?t=59568

    Those suggestions to wait for 20nm or even 14nm seem rather odd if what Ninjaprime states is right -- Sony's fabs running behind so much. Unless indeed the benefits of a single shrink step have become prohibitively low.
     
    #9 The Seventh Taylor, May 2, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2012
  10. Ninjaprime

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    I doubt it. Would probably need some empty filler space. The smallest 256 bit bus I can think of is rv670 which was 192mm^2. The smallest 128 bit, since its really 128x2 was Redwood at 104mm^2, which would need 208mm^2.
     
  11. Ninjaprime

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    NV seems to think its almost not worth their time to shrink to 20nm and they have large high end chips. Probably even less cost effective for lower end stuff. Sonys GPU fab was almost exactly one year behind TSMC, so I would say the earliest to expect that shrink(28nm), if it even proves cost effective, is the beggining of 2013. As far as 32nm Cell, shrinks for it have been worse and worse as they go smaller, I'm not sure it would even be worth it.
     
  12. east of eastside

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    Isn't the current rumor that MS has an Xbox lite in the works which will be an Apple TV style device without an optical drive? Hopefully to be shown at E3...

    I understand Sony's fab difficulties, but I think it is a question of MS eventually forcing Sony's hand into shrinking PS3 one way or another either through smaller chips, no bluray drive or combination.

    For MS and Sony to take away the 360 and PS3 used game business by going all digital once they become legacy consoles after 720 and PS4 release makes a lot of sense.
     
  13. AlNets

    AlNets ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
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    Well, some apparently believe it's the next-gen SoC. >_> But I digress. I've commented on that stuff elsewhere.

    What makes the Cell seemingly hard to shrink is that they apparently need to adhere to the original layout/floorplan (to accommodate the SPEs/EIB/BEI/FlexIO), and that causes problems when you look at how it interfaces to RSX - there's going to need to be heavy redesign of RSX so that they can bolt it onto one of the sides of Cell (who knows if it's doable without a lot of dead space), and then there's additional design to take care of functional compatibility due to the shorter bus between Cell<->RSX, but then maybe they can just tweak the FlexIO speed and make it a moot point.

    Don't forget that moving to a new node doesn't automagically bring cost reduction. 28/32nm are going to be more expensive for the near future, and that may not yet offset the good yields they already have at 40/45nm. It is going to be a big change - who knows if they have to move RSX to SOI as well...

    MS had the advantage of starting out with smaller chips in the first place.


    You might want to start a new thread about this.
     
  14. MrFox

    MrFox Deludedly Fantastic
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    Is it an optical illusion, or is the EIB section of the die almost impossible to shrink?
     
  15. Deadmeat

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    Hirai's plan is to ditch PSX3 at the earliest possible date and go with PSX4(Orbis, whatever).

    Sony's in a dire financial condition and Hirai's new rule is that.

    1. All consoles hardware must be affordable at launch.
    2. All consoles hardware must turn a profit at launch.
    3. Hardware spec doesn't matter, content and UI experiences do.

    Accordingly, money losing PSX3 will be discontinued upon the PSX4's launch.
     
  16. east of eastside

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    Gotta link, I don't want to take the discussion off subject but would be glad to read your thoughts on it. Thanks for the other explanation even though it's over my tech grasp, at least I have a sense of the difficulties involved..

    Okay, but answer for me, if you're Sony what you do then about serving the bottom of the market that used to be filled by PS2? I just did a check of major retailers and PS2 is effectively discontinued and beginning to climb in price on ebay.. So, if you are Sony do you just hand over the $99 segment to MS with it's $99 subscription subsidized Xbox or Xbox mini box?

    Sony still has to have an offering to serve the very low end of the market. That's why I say that even if they take the optical drive out of PS3 and sell it as a DD model to lower its price, they have to have a budget level console or risk losing exposure to the critical entry level segment of the market.
     
  17. MrFox

    MrFox Deludedly Fantastic
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    Do you have a link for those outrageous statements, did Hirai really say this or is it an inside joke I didn't get?

    The playstation division posted a $435.5 million profit for FY2011:
    http://www.tssznews.com/2011/05/26/sony-playstation-division-posts-profit-for-fy2011/

    The PS3 have turned a profit since 2009:
    http://www.pcworld.com/article/196214/sonys_playstation_3_turns_profitable.html

    It's also been outselling or equalled the xbox360 for 4 out of the last 5 years. Why the heck would they stop selling it?

    OMG, the xbox is losing money, they should discontinue the 360 as soon as possible!
    http://www.edge-online.com/news/microsofts-xbox-division-loses-229-million
     
  18. Deadmeat

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    The PSX4 fills that market segment. The PSX4 is a cheap console built with a cheap off-the-shelf Fusion APU and a $60 retail videocard(SCEI can get them for half the price). The PSX4 is a hardware designed to a specific cost-target, not to a specific performance-target.

    To Hirai, it's all about profit margins, not technology.

    No, retail PSX4 for $199, which is doable without taking any loss.

    The PSX4 motherboard is far cheaper to build than the PSX3 motherboard.

    Should Hirai decide to remove the Blu-Ray drive and go all DD and cartridge, the prices can be $50 lower.
     
  19. AlNets

    AlNets ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
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    Sent a PM since I forgot where I posted my thoughts/guesses. :p

    edit:

    http://forum.beyond3d.com/showpost.php?p=1603704&postcount=8624

    http://forum.beyond3d.com/showpost.php?p=1626922&postcount=26

    http://forum.beyond3d.com/showpost.php?p=1614840&postcount=9339

    Wacky journalism conspiracy-to-get-clicks included. *ahem*
     
  20. The Seventh Taylor

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    Are nodes this strongly linked to the applications of ICs? Have GPUs skipped 45nm in favor of 40nm, and will they skip 32nm to go straight to 28nm? Whereas the Cell as CPU would go from 45nm to 32nm?
     

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