General discussion


PS3 and Processing Power within!

By Dr. Al Olaimi ·
It seems that gaming consoles' makers are racing to pack more CPU power just to serve of the demanding graphics and the near-realistic feel and look of simulated reality-games. I've always wondered about the possibility to recycle this CPU power by applying some of the basic parallel computing concepts.

Such argument made me think about the new PS3 architecture as to be the best plat form for parallel computing hardware reusability. With prices like this I would be glad to have grid of PS3 boxes in my home-office rather than my garage, the cooling system is great, power consumption is even better, and interconnectivity is flawless.

Although it is out of the blue assumption, I am interested in exploring the potential of having a farm of PS3 serving as economical alternative for mid-sized Data Center!

To enhance this assumption:
1. PS3 x 8 basic 60GB Boxes
2. Open Source Parallel OS
3. Any kind of application suitable for bench marking results

On the side, what are the possibilities that we actually could covered a graphics engine to act as a General Purpose CPU? (interested sub-topic though!)

Best regards

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The catch

by JamesRL In reply to PS3 and Processing Power ...

First off, the Open Source parrallel OS is going to be a trick. I can only guess about the PS3 architecture, but it would be a proprietary OS focused on a single task, and not "open" or "parrallel", if by parallel you mean able to share processes with other like machines.

Even game writers for the system wouldn't have a copy of the OS, only a set of APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) which would be focussed on games.

You want an economical datacentre? How about a bunch of Linux Boxes with dual core processors. The software is all there. How about dual processor servers with quad core CPUs?


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Hmmm, not sure, but...

by Kjell_Andorsen In reply to The catch

I seem to recall that when IBM designed the Cell Processor being used in the PS3, they optimized it so that not only could it run just about every OS out there it is also designed to run multiple OS's simultaneoulsy and be able to switch from one OS to another depending on the task. Not sure if this is fully implemented with the PS3, but it should be possible. I don't see a problem getting linux on it, people have hacked XBoxes and other gaming consoles to run Linux.

I do seem to recall that the computing power delivered by the Cell processor is not inherently going to give a huge advantage to most server applications as they are not written to really take advantage of the Cell architecture, which is ideal for graphics-intensive Gaming, but not for many other functions.

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by JamesRL In reply to Hmmm, not sure, but...

The XBox and the TiVO are so close to PCs, it makes it much easier. MS used alot of off the shelf components for the first XBox. I had the same CPU, the same GPU as the first XBox on my gaming PC of the day, and it ran Halo better than the xBox.

Tivo runs Linux already. A friend of my cracked it when it first came out, implemented Linux disk compression and doubled his storage.


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