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Sony makes PS2 on a chip

Emotional synthesis
Mon Apr 21 2003, 20:10
TIME CHANGES EVERYTHING, especially in the world of semiconductors. Not long ago everyone was cooing at the achievement that was the Playstation 2. Its graphics chip and CPU seemed hugely complicated affairs. Indeed, there was a fear that they might be too complicated for programmers to get to grips with. Now, all of that complexity has been shoved onto a single piece of silicon.

The new all-in-one chip will be produced on a 90nm embedded DRAM process. The Graphics Synthesiser will keep its 4MB of RAM onboard thanks to the process. The packaged chip will run at the 294MHz of the EmotionEngine, the CPU component of the Playstation 2.

Sony has said that the new package will mean 53.5 million transistors will be squeezed onto a die just 86mm2. In what seems a ridiculously low figure for a chip these days, the chip will use just 8Watts of power. That compares with a combined 37Watts in the previous two chip solution.

The move to the new process is likely to be costing Sony a bundle but, in the long run, it should save money. Moving to a single chip will mean a redesign of the PS2 internals and possibly even a new look machine. After all, time changes everything. µ

Also see
Playstation 3 delayed until 2007


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