Toshiba to use Cell processor in future notebook

Toshiba plans to use a Cell processor variant in an upcoming notebook.

UPDATE: Toshiba is expected to release a notebook PC this year that uses a chip based on the Cell processor, the same chip used in Sony's PlayStation.

Toshiba Qosmio G40
Toshiba Qosmio G40 Toshiba

The Toshiba Qosmio G40 notebook will sport a SpursEngine SE1000 chip based on the Cell Broadband Engine, which is also used in the Sony PlayStation 3.

The Cell Broadband Engine is a multi-core chip architecture jointly developed by IBM, Sony, and Toshiba. It is derived from IBM's Power Architecture, which was once used in Apple notebooks and desktops. Today, IBM uses the Cell processor in a line of blade servers.

Samples of the SE1000 chip began shipping from Toshiba on April 8. Toshiba has said it expects sales of 6 million units within the first three years.

SpursEngine reference board
SpursEngine reference board Toshiba

The SpursEngine can do high-definition video encoding and decoding of MPEG-2 and H.264 streams, among other capabilities. The four processing elements inside the chip have a clock frequency of 1.5GHz, while boasting a relatively low power envelope of 10 to 20 watts.

Some other features of the SpursEngine: Its multimedia engine can deliver up to 48 GFlops (billion Floating point operations per second) or 12GFlops per processing element. Every element has 256KB of integrated memory. The circuit board (photo) supports a PCI-Express Base Specification Revision 1.1.

Toshiba also plans to release a TV with the Cell processor.

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.

 

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