Reality check on PPC/Cell
Posted Oct 9, 2007 20:51 UTC (Tue) by jmorris42
In reply to: x86(-64) adoption driven by performance/price, but is already second-best
Parent article: Memory part 2: CPU caches
> PPC/Cell gives much better performance/price than x86(-64),
> and will only become more so, and we are there now.
No it doesn't. Tell me where I can buy this mythical PPC/Cell with better price/performance and I'll withdraw the objection.
Hint: I'm not talking about a Playstation3 or an IBM Cell based blade. Both are far too restrictive environments to be 'general purpose'. The PS3 is crippled consumer electronics with a dumb 2D framebuffer, little RAM, low end storage and no high speed IO. A blade is only useful in very high density server farms or compute clusters.
Show me where I can buy an actual desktop PC or 1/2U Server based on a Cell or PPC that exhibits better price/performace on real world workloads. For a desktop that would be 3D modeling, heavy numerical crunching (but not cluster workloads) for engineering or some such CPU intensive workload. A web browser and office suite no longer matters, ANY current production CPU should be more than enough for that. For a server workload take your pick, web server workloads (LAMP or JSP) database, file server, whatever.
The reality is only a few niche players produce PPC/Cell hardware and the price simply isn't competitive with x86 or x86-64 because of that. Yes a Cell has some advantages vs x86 hardware which existed when it was introduced, but Cell is still basically the same and the x86 world has been churning newer faster chips with more and more cores. This is what kills every interesting new arch.
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