The degree to which Sony's PlayStation 3 will out-perform its predecessor became clearer yesterday when the developer of the console's graphics chip mapped out its internals.
Speaking at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference, held this week in San Francisco, the designer of the Graphics Synthesiser (GS), Simplex Solutions, unveiled a .18 micron chip almost twice the physical size of the .25 micron PlayStation 2 version (21.3mm x 21.7mm, compared to just 16.8mm x 16.88mm).
The PlayStation 3 GS will feature 256Mb of on-die DRAM. The current implementation has just 32Mb of embedded memory. 'GS 3' will be capable of handling 75 million polygons per second with a fill rate of 1.2-2.6 billion pixels per second. Its 2Kb internal bus provides a bandwidth of 48GBps.
According to EE Times, most regular DRAM makers are waiting for .15 micron and smaller process technologies before releasing 256Mb chips. In that respect, Sony and Simplex Solutions' used of 256Mb embedded DRAM is well ahead of the curve.
Presenting the chip, Simplex Solutions VP Aurangzeb Khan said that yields of the GS 3 (our name, not his) were meeting Sony's expectations. That suggests it may be not too far off full-scale shipment. The PlayStation 3 isn't expected until next year at the earliest, though with Xbox due to ship late 2001, Sony may be keen to hasten the release of the follow-up to the PlayStation 2, whether it's a full revamp of the console or simply an upgrade.
Khan would not say whether the GS 3 would be used in a successor to the PlayStation 2. The second version of the PlayStation 2's central processor, the Emotion Engine, is due to appear next year, according to Sony's roadmap. ®