Toshiba has announced a pair of laptops that use its Cell-based SpursEngine graphics chip. But don't expect the chip to work when the notebook's on the road - SpursEngine consumes too much power, Register Hardware can reveal. The Japanese giant has rebranded SpursEngine for UK audiences. Due to be incorporated into two laptops …
Note the same as PS3.
for starters, still 90nm (PS3 Cell is now 65nm, soon to be 45nm)
It's also half the PS3's 3.2Ghz clock spped.
It's also 4 cores instead of PS3's 7 cores
It's also only got 64Kb of memory per SPU (PS3 = 256Kb).
Based upton the same tech sure, but not the same, infact, nothing like it. It's like saying a Pentium90 is the same as a Core 2 Quad.
Oh dearie dearie me
Control your graphics through hand gestures?
*shakes head in despair*
How long before the obligatory single digit turns it off and the repeated flexing of the wrist replays choice sections?
So this thing literally has no point.
You still need a graphics chipset separate from the Cell chip and yet the job the cel chip is meant to do (playback HD content) current AMD chipsets can do just as good a job at and they will work while on battery power.
Is there any point to having this thing in your laptop?
Nor surprise there then?
Is Toshiba truly surprised? Cell is a voracious beast when it comes to power. Even clipping half of the SPEs off it leaves it with a hunger that rivals desktop GPUs.
The new 45nm Cells, especially if based on IBMs latest core revisions, will be quicker and cooler than these. Perhaps Tosh should have waited?
What is point "Quad Core HD"?
What is point?
And those Nvidia GPUs can more than handle all of the calculations that the SpursEngine does. (See the article on Tesla.) This is all about software. The Cell is there for no good reason, except to justify its own existence. Yet if it wasn't there to be justified, the really nifty software wouldn't get written.
But... I'll be waiting till all this (including super-resolution upscaling) gets ported to normal video cards.
Clarification wrt Cell
The Cell has a PPC64 general purpose core and a bunch of SPE vector processors, external interfaces to memory and I/O, with the lot tied together by a high speed bus, the 'EIC'. As such it is a standalone CPU.
Toshiba's device for these laptops has four SPEs and no PPC core nor EIC bus. The PPC was IIRC replaced with a command processor that has just enough brains to load and run kernels on the SPEs. The EIC is gone altogether, replaced with a moderate speed bus.
So Toshiba has a thing derived from the Cell but which is no way a Cell.
That said, having four vector processors embedded in a PC could be very useful and I applaud Toshiba for giving it a go. Qua power perhaps it makes better sense in a desktop, but Toshiba does not sell PCs, only notebooks.
new words required
Since we have managed to get rid of some words, it seems there is a need for some new ones.
I personally buy laptops based almost purely on battery time and weight... i dunno call me traditional.
Anyway since these beasts that are often described as desktop replacements or i even heard of a portable server (probably here on el reg), so i think it is time find a new word for things like this pointless desktop wanna be above.
They only put it in a laptop because those japanese love everything small.
But its not a laptop, it would burn you and likely break your legs with the weight.
Please some suggestions or even a poll?
One can't help but wonder
how the gesture recognition will react to the sort of motions typically observed amongst watchers of particular kinds of popular video presentation, such as, say, one of Paris' home videos?
SO, Qosmio to be...
...overspecced, overweight, overheating the thighs and overpriced no doubt.
No changes from the last Qosmio I dealt with a couple of years ago - it was being used at home three days a week for remote working, I have *no* idea how the users justified the £££ when they could have had a desktop machine with damn near the same capabilities for a third of the price.
And it would be more realistically portable - at least you expect a SFF desktop to be a PITA to lug around, that Qosmio was about as portable as a breeze block...
Although I would have one, just so I could set the Nescafe Shake hand gesture to be the default 'confirm' option, so that I could have a legitimate excuse to give the rest of the office the beans. I mean, come on, how could you pass that opportunity up?
The novelty would wear off about the same time as the battery of course, arf.
The thumb up, as it's about as close to giving the beans to you lot as I can manage from here :-)
Cell has great promise but this doesn't fulfill it
Let's face it, there are plenty of tasks that could REALLY do with a cell processor - crypto, compression, encoding / decoding of video & audio, physics in games, GPU shader operations. A cell is an animal with computationally expensive operations which is why Sony stuck one in their console. When Nero tells me my regular PC will take 5 hours to produce a H264 video my heart sinks. A cell optimised encoder could probably do the same in less time than it would take to play. Even the lower clocked Toshiba variant would make an awesome addition to a PC.
That said, the choice to stick one of these in a laptop just seems weird to be honest. If power is such a concern maybe they should have worked on that a bit first. It looks more like they had all these chips laying around waiting for TVs to appear to use them and decided to shove them into their laptops.
Toshiba really seem to be shooting themselves in the head recently. With HD DVD down the toilet, they are coming up with some really half assed stuff. In principle the spurs engine has massive potential but if they botch it they may well squander a golden opportunity.
Names in the UK (and the US I presume)
"The Japanese giant has rebranded SpursEngine for UK audiences. Due to be incorporated into two laptops later this year, the GPU will now be called the Quad Core HD processor."
Whyyyyyyyyy do we have to put up with names such as the 'duo quad plus power ultra HD 3X toothbrush' in this country? Do people actually fall for this? Shit... that toothbrush has duo quad plus power, I want that one!
(Its not actually a product, but I wouldn't be surprised to see it)
The SpursEngine is much better, sounds less tacky, and is easier to remember. Crazy fools.
I agree about silly names. But what image does 'SpursEngine' call up in ones' mind? Me, I see a sort of idiot George Bush Jr screaming 'yeeeehhaaaawww'. Hah, no, really, I just see a George Bush Jr.
Hand, ahem, gestures.
Cant wait to see what a loosely clenched fist moved up and down causes the computer - personally I'd map it to alt-f4, although some might want it to open their favorite photography website.
I can just see it being used in a teaching enviroment. Kid raises his hand and Microsoft word Quits. Puts hand down, media player starts spouting out death metal. Kid moves to close laptop lid: a monotone voice calmly states "Im sorry Dave, I can't do that"
What, no PowerPC cores? :P
@ What is point?
The point? It could keep you quite cosy and warm in a howling Antarctic blizzard for about 45 mis; very useful IMHO - it could be the difference between life and death.
Yes, that anorak is mine.
I suppose they don't want to alienate Arsenal fans
Consider it not for playback but for editing
It sounds to me like this is more a video editing setup rather than an overpowered playback system.
If the cells can encode more quickly then that's a good thing.
On the power - I expect the people doing proper video editing and nott just home movies will have this thing plugged in anyway, so based on the target market it should do the job.
re: One can't help but wonder
Probably it'd set the video playback speed as a carefully constructed inverse function of the detected hand movement speed in order to ensure a better view of "the really good bits" and then feed the data back to a server somewhere, because from what I hear, Paris needs all the help she can get.