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  • Sony Suicide Watch: PS3 hardware… not looking good

    Posted on June 5th, 2006 Finster 3 comments

    The rate Sony’s going, heads are gonna roll.

    Now, the problem stems from the PS3 hardware itself. Look at this image, taken from a recent conference (by Sony) for PS3 developers:

    PS3 Memory Bandwidths

    The Inquirer explains the problem thusly:

    If you can write at 250x the read speed, it makes Cell local memory just about useless. That means you do all your work out of main memory, and the whole point of local is, well, pointless. This can lead to contention issues for the main memory bus, and all sorts of nightmarish to debug performance problems. Basically, if this Sony presentation to PS3 devs shown to us is correct, it looks like PS3 will be hobbled in a serious way.

    The next slide goes on to say “Don’t read from local memory, but write to main memory with RSX(tm) and read it from there instead”, and repeats the table numbers. This is very very bad. The number of times the presentation goes on to say that it is correct, and the lack of anything like “this will be fixed by production steppings, so take measures X, Y and Z” say to me that it is not a fixable snafu. Remember at E3 when I said that the PS3 demos there were object sparse? Any guesses why?

    If the above explanation makes about as much sense as the physics of cream cheese, then allow me to break it down for you.
    The PS3’s architecture is BROKEN. The whole point of the local memory is to give the CPU it’s very own personal scratch pad. The faster and bigger that scratch pad (emphasis on faster), the more useful things the CPU can do each second. For some reason, the speed at which the CPU reads from local memory is… well… crippled. And it takes nothing less than a herculean development effort to work around such a bottleneck.

    I keep wondering what Sony is thinking. Look at Everquest II. Back in “the day”, Everquest was the end-all be-all of MMORPG’s. With World of Warcraft’s 5 million+ users, does Sony really think they are doing a good job with EQII’s 500,000? (Granted, compared to any other MMORPG, that’s still not bad.) Is Sony really going to be content playing second fiddle to the Xbox 360? Well, they better get used to it, because as more and more details about the PS3 are released, it looks more and more grim.


    3 responses to “Sony Suicide Watch: PS3 hardware… not looking good” RSS icon

    • On the other hand, they just may well achieve getting everything wrong on a console release.

      You also know it will also sell like crack in a plastic case in Japan while X360’s continue to gather dust over there, right?

    • I would tend to agree, but one indication of Sony’s success in Japan are the recent readers’ polls that Famitsu did of what topics they were most interested in hearing about during E3.

      The first poll [1up erroneous calls this a post-E3 poll] done during the week of E3 showed HEAVY bias towards Sony. Nothing in the top 10 was Xbox related (no surprise) and the only item that had to do with Nintendo was because of SSBB’s inclusion of a character made popular by the PS2’s perennial MGS series.

      The second poll was done AFTER E3, and was VERY different. The Wii dominated the top ten pretty handily. (FFXIII was still #1.) And Halo 3 even managed to squeak into the top ten. Also, 88.4% of Famitsu readers thought the PS3 was too expensive. That is pretty telling…
      I dunno, quite a reversal, and it looks like the Wii will be released a few weeks BEFORE the PS3, essentially rendering the PS3 launch pointless. “Hmm, I can buy this 25,000 yen device that’s exciting right now… or this 60,000 yen device 2 weeks from now, that will someday be able to play FFXIII…”

      If Nintendo somehow managed to get FFXIII onto the Wii… well. Stick a fork in the PS3, because it’s done.

    • ps3 and xbox 360 are srewed !!!!!!!!!!
      yes i knew this day would come the wii will be awosome it nintnedo online and play a fps with the new controler and we got game play. if they could get any of the final fanticys on it wich is where they belong i think microsft and sony got screwed by a system weaker than them!!!!!!!lolololol

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