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February 8, 2005

The CELL Microprocessor at a Glance

CELL...bringing supercomputer power to everyday life with latest technology optimized for compute-intensive and broadband rich media applications


  • Cell is a breakthrough architectural design -- featuring 8 Synergistic Processing Units (SPU) with Power-based core, with top clock speeds exceeding 4 GHz (as measured during initial laboratory testing).
  • Cell is OS neutral - supporting multiple operating systems simultaneously
  • Cell is a multicore chip comprising 8 SPUs and a 64-bit Power processor core capable of massive floating point processing
  • Special circuit techniques, rules for modularity and reuse, customized clocking structures, and unique power and thermalmanagement concepts were applied to optimize the design

CELL is a Multi-Core Architecture

  • Contains 8 SPUs each containing a 128 entry 128-bit register file and 256KB Local Store
  • Contains 64-bit Power ArchitectureTM with VMX that is a dual thread SMT design-views system memory as a 10-way coherent threaded machine
  • 2.5MB of on Chip memory (512KB L2 and 8 * 256KB)
  • 234 million transistors
  • Prototype die size of 221mm2
  • Fabricated with 90nanometer (nm) SOI process technology
  • Cell is a modular architecture and floating point calculation capabilities can be adjusted by increasing or reducing the number of SPUs

CELL is a Broadband Architecture

  • Compatible with 64b Power ArchitectureTM
  • SPU is a RISC architecture with SIMD organization and Local Store
  • 128+ concurrent transactions to memory per processor
  • High speed internal element interconnect bus performing at 96B/cycle

CELL is a Real-Time Architecture

  • Resource allocation (for Bandwidth Management)
  • Locking caches (via Replacement Management Tables)
  • Virtualization support with real time response characteristics across multiple operating systems running simultaneously

CELL is Security Enabled Architecture

  • SPUs dynamically configurable as secure processors for flexible security programming

CELL is a Confluence of New Technologies

  • Virtualization techniques to support conventional and real time applications
  • Autonomic power management features
  • Resource management for real time human interaction
  • Smart memory flow controllers (DMA) to sustain bandwidth
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