HanishKVC’s General Blog zone

October 20, 2006

My NEXT PC might be a PS3

Filed under: General,life,OpenSource,PS3,technology — hanishkvc @ 4:06 pm

From sometime now I have been thinking of upgrading my computer (interms of CPU and GPU) and or buying a laptop. However because of various reasons I haven’t been able to do both.

Pricy PCs  (well in a way):

Well wrt CPUs now that Core 2 Duo is out the technology advance issue is resolved now however prices being bit high here in India, I am waiting out for the prices to drop. Now coming to GPUs with the availability of Unified Shader logic (rather more generically the flexible pipeline and flexible programmable nature) in the newly released and to be released GPUs, the technology advance I have been waiting for will be finally resolved, but then again the pricey nature of GPUs (rather more severe in case of GPUs when compared to CPUs in India) makes it hard to buy them.

Consoles to the rescue:

So assembling the PC hit by pricey nature of new CPUs and GPUs, the other alternative I can look at is buying consoles (I mean Game consoles).

The price issue becomes less of a issue as the vendors normally try to sell the console at a less cost or atleast less margin of profit from a h/w perspective and then try to make money on the games that are sold.

Coming to technology, Well at a technical level a game console is also a computing device with similar capabilities to a PC. However over the last few generations of the Game console the vendors have been aiming them as pure gaming devices and not letting the users utilize the full power hidden in these products. But things are changing.

XBox360 is a good console with 3 core PowerPC asic (with each core supporting 2 threads) and a unified shader based gpu from ati. It has support for storage (HDD), networking (ethernet and wlan) and external expansion(USB, Bluetooth) . And it has sufficient Memory (512MB). However the problem here is that Microsoft (i.e the developer/vendor) doesn’t want XBox to be used for anything other than Gaming in principle. There is some hope to circumvent it legally to some extent by using the XNA Express developer framework however this can only be at the application level and here to only interms of managed code.

PS3 from Sony on the other hand has the Cell processor (a PowerPC core + 8 Specialised Processing elements (mini cpus))(having architected embedded products which use multicore ASICs involving a General purpose CPU and or DSP and Specialised Processing elements from other Chip vendors, I am pretty happy and looking forward to all the possibilities in these specialized ASICs with seemingly limited resources)  and a GPU from NVidia (hoping against hope that it will have a surprise interms of unified/flexible shaders, even otherwise to some extent it is still ok) . It also has storage (HDD, Flash cards), networking (WLan (and ethernet???)), expansion (USB, Bluetooth, Flash card interfaces (SD/…)) and Memory (512MB). And TO TOP IT UP Sony is WILLING to let Users UTILIZE the Computing Power of their Console for what ever the User fancies. And inturn they will DO IT IN STYLE by USING /EXTENDING OPEN TECHNOLOGIES like Linux, OpenGL, OpenXYZ, GCC, open source applications (belonging to many/any domain).

So PS3 presents itself to be a good Gaming Console as well as a good General/Special (thanks to Cell) Computing device. Even thou it might be pricy in India at the begining (only sometime around 2007 mid, if I may fancy) still I would consider it a better pricy thing to buy rather than a pricy pc(which inturns I have to keep upgrading atleast every ~1.5 years if I want to play the latest and greatest game in its full glory).

One more reason for tilting towards a Game Console (PS3 in this case) being that Games will be specifically optimized to utilize the the full power of the console to give the best results. Also games will be available for the console for atleast 4-5 year period without requiring to upgrade(rather change) the console, which is not the case in PCs (i.e if you want to fully see what the game developer wants you to see).

Consoles which I may use for similar purpose but not happy fully:

Nintendo Wii: Again uses a simple PowerPC core  and a simple GPU. Other than only haveing simple CPU and GPU, it has a proprietry DVD format if I am not wrong. Again native availability of a flexible computing enviornment with option to add ones own modules/applications is questionable at this stage. One could always hack these to get these capabilities and there will surely be communities on the internet to help allow that, but then it is a different story altogether.

Last generation – PS2 and XBox: At this point in time the Computing power/capabilities of these products will fall below what a average user/developer might expect. Again among these PS2 would be the one I would pick if I have to because (a) it has official support to experiment with linux and (b) it is the non standard platform design (which is what I like and would love to experiment with) compared to Xbox (a PC at a basic level).



  1. If what you are saying is true then that is great news. People who buy computers for surfing the net, music, storing and viewing photos, playing games and then doing a bit of word proccessing can now go for a ps3 that need not be upgraded for the next 4-5 years. That would be a great option indeed!!

    Comment by Natraj — October 22, 2006 @ 1:00 pm | Reply

  2. As you would be knowing the basic computing usage like (a) Browsing Net
    (b) Playing Music, Images and (c) Word processing – Don’t require much variation in processing power over a 4-5 year period.
    However Gaming requires one to change the GPU and to some extent CPU every 2 years, if you want to play the latest and greatest game. However in case of game consoles as the h/w itself isn’t upgraded for atleast 4-5 years, the game developers/studios keep developing new games for the same console for atleast 4-5 years. So one can keep playing new games being released for the Game Console for atleast 4-5 years. Also generally when a Console starts out its GPU power is normally very good compared to PCs’ at that time.

    Comment by hanishkvc — October 23, 2006 @ 9:41 am | Reply

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