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Portables Hardware

Toshiba Launches First Cell-based Laptop 172

Posted by timothy
from the my-laptop-has-been-cell-based-forever dept.
MojoKid writes "On Tuesday, Toshiba launched the Qosmio G55-802, the first laptop available with the Cell CPU. Yes, think PS3 technology, developed jointly by Toshiba, Sony, and IBM. However, in particular, the Cell CPU is not about gaming, but about the multimedia experience. Taking the load away from the Intel CPU, the Cell processor performs gesture control, face navigation, transcoding and upscaling to HD. Interestingly (and necessary, with 4 GB of RAM), the system comes with 64-bit Vista installed by default, but 32-bit Vista ships as an option as well." However, semi-relatedly, if you'd prefer your Cells run open-source code, 1i1' blu3 writes "IBM's put up an open source project downloads page for the Cell processor — APIs, toolkits, IDEs, libraries, algorithms, etc. Most of the stuff on it right now is from SourceForge, but they are asking for user contributions to add to it." (Terra Soft's also been providing a Cell-compatible Linux distro for a while now, and according to Wikipedia the kernel's supported it since version 2.6.16.)
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Toshiba Launches First Cell-based Laptop

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  • by ALecs (118703) on Wednesday July 16, 2008 @02:53PM (#24217289) Homepage
    According to the article (and hinted by the summary), the thing has an ordinary Intel Core2Duo CPU. I'm assuming the cell is the "Toshiba quad code HD Processor" mentioned in the article. So it's a co-processor, then. My best guess it it's a 4-SPU cell processor without the PowerPC core. Weird...
  • by electrosoccertux (874415) on Wednesday July 16, 2008 @02:59PM (#24217431)

    Probably the people who buy it.

    Linux will support it of course. Offload video decompression (XVID/MPEG4/whatever) and audio decompression to the PPEs.

    I'm sure Audacity and any other audio processing tools will support it. The GIMP could make use of it as well. Matlab of course.

    Those are just off the top of my head.

  • by negRo_slim (636783) <mils_oRgen@hotmail.com> on Wednesday July 16, 2008 @03:04PM (#24217539)
    When is the last time a company come along with a proprietary technology like this and received market acceptance? I seem to recall companies like Aegia and Rambus... Hell RDRAM didn't even require any change to software and provided higher performance, but it was one company and of course the price remained high.... Nah I don't expect to see this go much further than it already has, a few people will buy it and it will ship with some in house programs on it and just like every other system from a major manufacturer support and software will slowly fade into obscurity. Sure a few websites will be started in dedication of this thing and they will light up their message boards with how superior and awesome it was/is/could of been...
  • Re:PAE mode? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anders (395) on Wednesday July 16, 2008 @03:08PM (#24217595)

    Modern hardware except one particular Pentium M stepping (which was popular for a while) handles PAE. 64G RAM on 32-bit

    But Windows does not [microsoft.com].

  • by negRo_slim (636783) <mils_oRgen@hotmail.com> on Wednesday July 16, 2008 @03:10PM (#24217633)

    I don't think that will be too much of an issue. My guess it will be used as a device like a GPU or DSP on a sound card.

    And we all know how easy it is to add hardware acceleration for products from major vendors like Creative, Nvidia, AMD... The architectures these companies have produced have far greater market penetration then Toshiba could dream to see and yet there isn't across the board support for such common devices. Not many are going to be coding for a piece of hardware only one manufacture is producing. Unless this thing is seen in rigs across the board and/or it demonstrates a highly tangible benefit it simply won't be supported by the fast majority of software.

  • by WilliamBaughman (1312511) on Wednesday July 16, 2008 @03:17PM (#24217739)

    Yes, think PS3 technology, developed jointly by Toshiba, Sony, and IBM.

    Saying that the Cell BEA was developed for the PlayStation 3 is like saying the wheel was developed for razor scooters. The PlayStation 3 uses the Cell, but the Cell was not made solely for the PlayStation. The Cell was developed to be a floating point and vector arithmetic monster that would be at home in a supercomputer, which it is.

    I have nothing against the PlayStation 3, but I get upset when a myth like this is perpetuated. Saying that one of the most powerful processors available today was 'made to play video games' detracts from it and gives readers an incorrect impression (in my humble opinion).

  • Re:PAE mode? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by QuantumRiff (120817) on Wednesday July 16, 2008 @03:18PM (#24217757)

    Because of the way that windows "pages" memory (and I'm assuming your running a server version of the OS, cause XP and vista don't work with PAE) you still can't have a single process with much more than 3GB of ram on a 32bit system. You can have multiple processes running with 3GB of ram, but then you get some slowdowns from paging in and out the memory.

    If Memory serves, this is part of the reason that Exchange 2007 requires 64-bit OS's and processors. (except for the demo and SMB versions)

  • Re:PAE mode? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Microlith (54737) on Wednesday July 16, 2008 @03:19PM (#24217773)

    PAE is a hack.

    Better to ditch it and move to 64-bit.

  • by MatanZ (4571) on Wednesday July 16, 2008 @03:39PM (#24218097) Homepage

    Most scientific calculations use integer opertation of the CPU, impelementing their own Floating/Fixed point if needed. The type of calculations for which single precision gets the wrong answer really quickly, but double precision is perfect is very rare.

  • Qosmio? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Squiffy (242681) on Wednesday July 16, 2008 @03:49PM (#24218329) Homepage

    Qosmio? What a stupid name. It totally drips with unnecessary marketing affectation. It's like they were trying to cram as much cheesy bullshit into one name as they possibly could.

    Cosmo? Not quite.
    Cosmio? Hm, needs a little more bullshit.
    Qosmio! Yes, good job. That 'q' really ratchets up the puke factor. Well done.

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