Wednesday, June 25th 2008

Toshiba's Newest Notebooks to Feature Modified CELL Processor

The first thing that comes to your mind when you talk about CELL Broadband Engine is probably the Sony Playstation 3. Toshiba, a prominent player in ultra-portable computing have announced that a new pair of laptops, the Qosmio G55 and Qosmio F40, which will feature processors derived from the CELL design methodology. Processing will be composed of a two-stage processor, the modified CELL processor SPE cores will handle the heavy calculations required to handle processor-intensive duties like processing HD video. The main processor in the pair of notebooks will be an Intel Core 2 Duo. The World's most powerful supercomputer, the IBM Roadrunner, incorporates CELL technology. The CELL variation used consists of four SSP's apart from the arbiter, Toshiba brands this chip as Toshiba Quad-Core HD processor.

The G55 which has an 18.4-inch high-definition screen, 500GB of hard-disk space, NVidia GeForce 9600M graphics processor, dual digital TV tuners and wireless LAN including 802.11n will be priced from USD 2,700 and the F40, which has a 15-inch screen and 250GB hard-disk drive, from USD 2,320. Toshiba plans to put the machines on sale overseas but has yet to announce launch details.

Source: PC World
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22 Comments on Toshiba's Newest Notebooks to Feature Modified CELL Processor

#1
burtram
now thats just awesome. i wouldn't mind getting my hands on the F50 =P
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#2
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
These are probably the only machines around (that aren't supercomputers) that use x86 and PowerPC in tandem.
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#3
Mussels
Moderprator
that is odd, to have two CPU's of different architectures in the one system.

Using them as an overall co-processor for media work sounds like a good idea, i wonder how this will pan out.
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#4
substance90
Sounds a bit useless to me.. I mean a C2D can perfectly well handle any Full HD video. I think the extra Cell processor might be just a marketing move, but who knows... we`ll see.
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#5
Mussels
Moderprator
by: substance90
Sounds a bit useless to me.. I mean a C2D can perfectly well handle any Full HD video. I think the extra Cell processor might be just a marketing move, but who knows... we`ll see.
true but what if it handles it with half the power usage? thats a very useful addition to a laptop.
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#6
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
...and then they needn't use a $300~400 Core 2 Duo that is heavy on the battery at peak loads. A rather basic one would do, the CELL is put to use when needed. This "Mini-CELL" is pretty low cost (logic: How much does a full PS3 cost?). So they end up minimising cost, minimising power as well. Comparable to a hybrid vehicle that has an electric motor apart from an internal combustion engine, and that after gaining momentum the engine takes a nap while the motor keeps it moving.
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#7
Mussels
Moderprator
heres a good one: the atom processor in the macbook air. Its performance is... well... its not there. add in a co-processor with equally low power use, and it'd work out well and be really good on battery life.
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#8
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
I was thinking the same, that if 4~8 W is all it takes to run a CPU, A 30~40W reasonably powerful Core 2 Duo can always be assisted by one or two Atom chips, when browsing and playing minesweeper, an Atom would suffice, in intense task, the Wolfdale takes over.
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#9
Easy Rhino
Linux Advocate
i cant wait to see the benchies on these.
Posted on Reply
#10
Mussels
Moderprator
by: btarunr
I was thinking the same, that if 4~8 W is all it takes to run a CPU, A 30~40W reasonably powerful Core 2 Duo can always be assisted by one or two Atom chips, when browsing and playing minesweeper, an Atom would suffice, in intense task, the Wolfdale takes over.
thats not a bad idea, but it would require an OS that knew how to deal with it. most apps would get thrown around randomly, and coudl get stuck on the slow core.
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#11
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
by: Mussels
thats not a bad idea, but it would require an OS that knew how to deal with it. most apps would get thrown around randomly, and coudl get stuck on the slow core.
That's how these Qosmio's handle the CELL. At an OS-level (or probably BIOS level?) the CELL is treated as a math-processor. Several compatibility layers send instructions and data to the CELL like it would to an x86 processor. The advantage Atom has however is that it's a full-on x86 chip. Windows can treat it as a co-processor.

But ofcourse, we're looking at two different things. While the Atom is a measure to save energy when computational power isn't needed, CELL is all about getting the most out of available energy when high-levels of computational power is needed.
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#12
Baum
what ever the put into those Laptop's they aren't cheap and why not using one expensive C2D that clocks down as hell & one of the best powersurce they can find? (lithium cell that provides more than the standard ones!)

and from my point of view, every hardware is useless when no software is availible :rolleyes:
i 'am waiting for good powerpc hd codecs to run on vist/xp :D
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#13
TheMailMan78
Banstick Dummy
by: btarunr
...and then they needn't use a $300~400 Core 2 Duo that is heavy on the battery at peak loads. A rather basic one would do, the CELL is put to use when needed. This "Mini-CELL" is pretty low cost (logic: How much does a full PS3 cost?). So they end up minimising cost, minimising power as well. Comparable to a hybrid vehicle that has an electric motor apart from an internal combustion engine, and that after gaining momentum the engine takes a nap while the motor keeps it moving.
Ya know most of the time I disagree with you but I think what you said here is spot on. Plus they have to justify to their share holders that the "Cell" investment wasn't wasted on a console with no other purpose in sight. Also having two CPUs in one computer for different tasks seems to be normal. Don't we already utilize our GPU for HD video and applications to remove some burden from the main CPU? To me this just sounds like another "helper" in the system and a step in the right direction.
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#14
mdm-adph
by: btarunr
These are probably the only machines around (that aren't supercomputers) that use x86 and PowerPC in tandem.
Yeah, but that's what I'm wondering -- how? :confused:
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#15
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
by: mdm-adph
Yeah, but that's what I'm wondering -- how? :confused:
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#16
ktr
According to Toshiba's website...

The G50 only contains the cell, and a 9600M GT
The F50 only contains gps, and a 9700M GTS

And there is the X305...which contains the 9800M GTX, and other high end goodies (but no gps, or cell).
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#18
ktr
That is wierd, Toshiba site clearly says that the quad core HD processor is only for the G50, and to be more specific...on the G55.
Thanks to the new Toshiba Quad Core HD processor in select Qosmio® G55 laptops.
http://explore.toshiba.com/innovation-lab/quad-core-processor

Meh, could be possible that Toshiba is not fully advertising the rest of the series to have the Cell.
Posted on Reply
#19
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
by: ktr
That is wierd, Toshiba site clearly says that the quad core HD processor is only for the G50, and to be more specific...on the G55.



http://explore.toshiba.com/innovation-lab/quad-core-processor

Meh, could be possible that Toshiba is not fully advertising the rest of the series to have the Cell.
Or that the F40 is slated for a later release and Toshiba chooses not to talk about it.

Again, it's important to note that PCW gets the information from Toshiba in the Japanese market and not out of it. They (Toshiba) maintain totally different SKU's there (much like Creative does, with a few models of Sound Blaster available only in Japan). The last line in the news also says that they've not finalised the product line outside of Japanese market.
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#20
WarEagleAU
Bird of Prey
If these are priced right, Id grab me one.
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#21
Darkrealms
Damn thats a nice system, G55. Pity I'm so set on my customizable desktops.
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#22
mdm-adph
by: btarunr
[BIG PICTURE]
You know what my problem was? I completely missed the part in the article where it said that the main processor was a Core2. I was sitting here thinking the whole thing ran on the Cell. :shadedshu
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