New IBM Server to Incorporate PlayStation3 Chip

On Wednesday, IBM announced that it would be making use of the processors it co-developed for the Sony PlayStation 3 in a shortly launching product directed at those who need the graphic-intensive and numeric applications.

IBM logo The processor was co-developed by IBM, Sony, and Toshiba, and is based on the company’s Power processor architecture. It is optimised to work well in computer-intensive and broadband media applications, which the computer manufacturer says makes it well suited for server applications.

“Today’s announcement puts Cell into an IBM product for the first time, taking it outside of the gaming realm — and indeed, the Cell solution announced today is the same chip used in PS3,” said IBM spokesperson Charles Zinkowski.

The new system is intended to keep IBM’s BladeCenter products in the top spot in the blade server market. The company holds 42 percent of the market, according to IDC surveys.

IBM said the servers could be used to accelerate the process of 3D rendering, compression, and encryption, allowing companies to create and run graphically rich applications in real-time.

In a statement the company said, “Effectively delivering ‘supercomputer-like performance’ by incorporating advanced multi-processing technologies used in IBM’s sophisticated servers, Cell BE is especially suitable for high performance workloads across a number of industries including digital media, medical imaging, aerospace, defense and communications.”

The servers will require Red Hat Fedora along with a number of IBM-designed patches in order to run. Also, there are no applications currently designed to work on the platform, however the company expects that to change as it signs more software developers on to the project.

The first severs based on the cell processor technology are expected to make their debut in the third quarter of 2006, however IBM said it would make them available immediately via special bids.