New CELL Article Online

Article: CELL Microprocessor III
By: Deadmeat (deadmeatoa.delete@this.yahoo.com), August 6, 2005 4:09 am
Room: Moderated Discussions
> Come on... SPUFS is just a single example of how SPEs can be abstracted in Linux.

Actually, it is the APU programming model at the lowest level within the user process;
the one most likely used by performance-demanding applications(games).

> Don't make the mistake of thinking that's the only, or highest-performance, or easiest-to-implement programming model.

The others are "abstrated" models built on top of APU file system. They aren't as
flexible as APU file system and takes a toll on performance.

> Start on slide 24. You may find it enlightening.

I saw it last May, didn't tell me what I needed to know.

> Think about accelerating the 5% of code that takes 95% of the processing time in applications that are specialized enough to warrant the work.

While I am very much well-aware of 5%/95% rule, the chances of the thread being in APU
process space is not 95%, because of limited memory size.

> The explicitly-managed cache can hurt performance if used ignorantly, but when leveraged properly, has the potential to eliminate access latencies completely.

Why put additional burden on developers???

> The whole key to Cell-like heterogenous architectures is that applications that go through the pain of being tailored to them will ride on and benefit from a GPU-like rate of performance growth.

So called GPU-like rate of performance growth assumes no data dependency between threads; which is almost not the case with game code.

> It's likely why Sony is looking at PS3 as a 10-year platform

No console lasts for 10 years, in spite of what marketting people want you to believe.

> Not because they expect it's so powerful that it will still be relevant in 2015, but because it will scale like mad, far faster than conventional, homogenous "jack of all, master of none" architectures.

CELL is not very scalable, it still introduces the kind of hardware dependency that does not allow old code to run well on the newer one. CELL's performance depends on the number of threads the developer creates(more the better), but there are only so many threads that the developer can create and manage. Suppose you have a program tuned for the 7-APU CELL model. Will this code run faster on the 16-APU version or a CELL SMP board? Nope.
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