PlayStation 3 GPU: NV40 and NV50 Hybrid with XDR DRAM, Says Report
Peculiarities of PlayStation 3 Graphics Chip Emerge
by Anton Shilov
12/28/2004 | 01:04 PM
Some peculiarities of the PlayStation 3 graphics processing unit developed at NVIDIA Corp. showed up on the web. It appears, that the visual processing unit will merge NVIDIA’s present and future generation architectures and will have built-in memory controller that supports Rambus’ XDR DRAM.
PlayStation 3 GPU Details Materialize
A report over Japanese web-site PC Watch suggests that the PlayStation 3 graphics processing unit will use NVIDIA’s technologies found in the current NV40 generation of its own chips as well as numerous techniques developed for the next-generation part known under NV50 code-name. Still, despite of circuitries of the company’s desktop chips found in the GPU, according to NVIDIA’s chief Jen-Hsun Huang, the PlayStation 3 GPU has nothing to do with Microsoft Windows, Microsoft DirectX or OpenGL and will use Sony’s API for the console. Naturally, the PlayStation 3 graphics processing units supports XDR DRAM memory developed by Rambus. While there is nothing new in Rambus memory for Sony, NVIDIA has never worked with memory by Rambus.
Jen-Hsun Huang, NVIDIA’s CEO and President said the two companies had worked closely “over the past two years” on the “next-generation computer entertainment system”. He said the company had been designing its next-generation GeForce GPU in parallel. It is unclear which chip Mr. Huang referred. NVIDIA is currently developing graphics processors code-named NV47 and NV50. The latter was recently rumoured to be cancelled, though.
The custom GPU will be manufactured at Sony Group’s Nagasaki Fab2 as well as OTSS (joint fabrication facility of Toshiba and Sony). The Sony’s Nagasaki Fab2 facility is known to use 65nm SOI fabrication process jointly developed by IBM. The fab is expected to be able to produce 15 thousand of 300mm wafers a month.
XDR Memory – Ideal for Consumer Apps, Target for Graphics Cards
Numerous leading consumer electronics companies, such as Sony or Panasonic, said they would adopt Rambus’ XDR memory for their devices, including Sony’s PlayStation 3 console and Panasonic’s digital TV-sets. Certain networking companies are also interested in XDR. Another target market for XDR memory may be graphics cards, according to reports earlier this year.
XDR DRAM can operate at 3.20GHz to 6.40GHz clock-speeds, providing industry leading bandwidth per pin, which is a benefit for networking and consumer applications.
“Graphics seems to be one of the important initial targets for XDR, as graphics applications today have nearly unlimited need for bandwidth out of a single DRAM. Networking is another important market as networking cards need high bandwidth but low capacity,” a source close to Rambus and GPU makers told X-bit labs earlier this year.
“Rambus has been in discussion with many different graphics processor manufacturers about XDR memory. There are not many choices for high-speed memory for GPU manufacturers, so it is natural that they would like to know about XDR and what it offers for their products,” the source noted.
Rambus offers memory controller that can work with DDR, DDR2, GDDR2, GDDR3 and XDR DRAM types of memory. While NVIDIA will have to implement an XDR-supporting memory controller into its PlayStation 3 GPU, it is yet unclear, whether the company licenses’ Rambus controller, or develops its own. In both cases the controller may be used for different applications developed by NVIDIA Corp., including consumer, graphics, desktop and networking.