PS3 Chip to Make it Into New IBM Server

IBM on Wednesday announced that it would be using the processors it co-developed for the Sony PlayStation 3 in an upcoming server product aimed at those who require graphic-intensive and numeric applications.

"Today's announcement puts Cell into an IBM product for the first time, taking it outside of the gaming realm -- and indeed, the Cell solution announced today is the same chip used in PS3," IBM spokesperson Charles Zinkowski told BetaNews.

The processor was co-developed by IBM, Sony, and Toshiba, and is based on the company's Power processor architecture. It is optimized to work well in computer-intensive and broadband media applications, which the computer manufacturer says makes it well suited for server applications.

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The new system is intended to keep IBM's BladeCenter products in the top spot in the blade server market. The company holds 42 percent of the market, according to IDC surveys.

IBM said the servers could be used to quicken the process of 3D rendering, compression, and encryption, allowing companies to create and run graphically rich applications in real-time.

"Effectively delivering 'supercomputer-like performance' by incorporating advanced multi-processing technologies used in IBM's sophisticated servers, Cell BE is especially suitable for high performance workloads across a number of industries including digital media, medical imaging, aerospace, defense and communications," the company said in a statement.

The servers will require Red Hat Fedora with the addition of several IBM-designed patches in order to run. Also, there are no applications currently designed to work on the platform, however the company expects that to change as it signs more software developers on to the project.

The first severs based on the cell processor technology are expected to make their debut in the third quarter of 2006, however IBM said it would make them available immediately via special bids.

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