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RSX Reality Synthesizer (PS3 GPU) - more info

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      05-18-2005, 02:08 PM

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Playstation 3's GPU - The NVIDIA RSX Reality Synthesizer
"NVIDIA's contribution to the PS3 is their RSX GPU.

The RSX GPU offers dual screen output, with each output offering a
resolution of up to 1080p resolution (1920 x 1080). The GPU runs at 550MHz
and is connected to 256MB of local GDDR3 memory running at 700MHz.

The GPU itself can process 136 shader operations per cycle, compared to 53
shader ops per cycle of the current GeForce 6 GPU. In terms of shader
performance, the RSX is clearly more powerful than even two GeForce 6 GPUs.

The RSX GPU features over 300 million transistors built on an eight layer
90nm process; note that the combination of the RSX GPU and the Cell CPU in
PS3 is close to 600 million transistors.

NVIDIA also mentioned that the RSX offers performance stronger than two
GeForce 6800 Ultra SLI GPUs and is based on their next-generation GF70

The architecture itself is a bit different than what we've seen from
previous NVIDIA GPUs:

The RSX GPU is connected to the Cell by a 35GB/s link (20GB/s write, 15GB/s
read), that's much more bandwidth than any present day CPU-GPU link on the
PC side.

The RSX can render pixels to any part of memory, giving it access to the
full 512MB of memory of the PS3. We'd expect the technology used here to be
similar to NVIDIA's TurboCache that we've seen on the desktop."


my thoughts:

It sounds like PS3's graphics subsustem will be at least as powerful as
SGI's 16-pipe Infinite Reality rack systems of the late 1990s. Each the SGI
I.R. pipelines could do about 10-14 million textured, polygons/sec with
almost everything everything on. each pipe had 200 million pixel per second
fillrate with 1 Raster Manager board and upto 800M pixels/sec with 4 RM

the Playstation2 had equivalent polygon horsepower of 2 Infinite Reality
pipes. (20 mpps)

PS3 should easily rival or surpass 16 Infinite Reality pipes which could
produce over 200 million polygons

since Xbox 360 pushes 500 million polys/sec or 1500 million (1.5
billion)vertices/sec (i'm going by the specs floating around) then PS3
should be roughly twice as powerful. PS3 RSX Reality Synthesizer GPU has 300
million transistors whereas Xbox 360's ATI R500 GPU has about 150 million

for PS3 polygon performance, my guess: 3000 million (3 billion)
vertices/sec or 1000 million (1 billion) polygons/sec

even if you figure into this whole thing, that this is all PEAK theoretical
performance, even 1/5 of my guess for PS3 - 200 million polys/sec or 600
million vertices/sec, is still roughly on par with a 16 pipe Infinite
system which would cost $100,000 PER pipe, IIRC.

And now that Sony has let Nvidia do most of the graphics architecture, and
since the bulk of Nvidia's graphics engineering talent / resources, IP,
patents, technology came from Silicon Graphics, there is every reason to
believe that Playstation3 has similar if not better realworld graphics
performance and quality of large scale, multi-pipe SGI visualization systems
of the late 1990s, when working on small data sets that dont need tens or
hundreds of Gigabytes of data.

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