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Possible PS3 OS Information 53

Ars Technica has some details they think are fairly reliable about the OS the PS3 will be using. From the article: "In fact, there was some question as to what such an OS would be doing with all that leftover horsepower. I think the answer is probably to be found in the interactive, real-time, user- and network-facing sides of the console's functionality. This includes not only the audio/video chat and IM referenced in the PS3 Portal rumor, but also the aforementioned DRM (for streaming and downloadable online content that might be dynamically integrated into the game experience) and security/privacy-related code. "
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Possible PS3 OS Information

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  • by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Friday April 14, 2006 @11:11AM (#15129481)
    "PS3 games, at least initially, are not going to use all five or six available SPEs (remember, of the eight SPEs, one is disabled for yield purposes, a second is reserved for the system, and a third allegedly can be taken over by the system if it's needed)."

    So, you can crank it up to "eleven"?

  • by Anonymous Coward
    "This includes not only the audio/video chat and IM referenced in the PS3 Portal rumor, but also the aforementioned DRM (for streaming and downloadable online content that might be dynamically integrated into the game experience) and security/privacy-related code"

    So that's pretty much what the Xbox 360 has too right? And pretty much what any next gen online console will have, hmmm? Who wouldn't expect an online gaming machine in 2006 to have AV IM/chat and downloadable online content? Sheesh!

    They'll be t
  • by Nazmun ( 590998 ) on Friday April 14, 2006 @11:17AM (#15129536) Homepage
    The PS3 has a lot of expensive and powerful media hardware. They might as well create the software needed to use as much of the hardware as possible to market the beast at the $500-700 dollar pricepoint it will probably come out at.

    It should be capable of:

    1) Live Video Streaming in HD (new hd movie trailers on your big screen vs. PC screen).
    2) All kinds of communications, chat, voice, etc.
    3) Linux networked device.
    4) All the game related stuff like demo downloads, etc.
    5) Release a $50 dollar tv tuner accessory + appropriate software to make this into a pvr (already has massive graphics and parallel processing power along with the output hardware built in).

    Of course this isn't to say that they should put any less resources on games. They should keep their AA third party and in house development teams and release as much variety + quality of games as they can. However, I'd hate to see all this hardware potential go to waste. Then and again since theres a good chance it will be able to run on linux (if thats not the default os) we may have free alternatives made by hobbyists (depending on the strength of the drm).
  • Performance Worries (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Nazmun ( 590998 ) on Friday April 14, 2006 @11:25AM (#15129621) Homepage

    The following quote from TFA worries me a bit. It will use a good chunk of the resources on the OS rather then purely for games. If the PS3 devs can't use a lighter version of the O.S. this could be a bit of an issue should they opt to do so in their games (some games may benefit from the voice/video chat but there are tons of games where this is unnecessary and annoying). Currently in the PS2 the default OS uses an almost negligible amount of resources that are pretty much needed to run the games

    In the case of the PS3 this equates to 12.5% of the available Cores on the CPU always reserved, an additional 12.5% sometimes taken by the OS, 12.5% of the available RSX memory and 25% of XDR Cell memory. Balancing these out, one could argue that Sony has removed up to 25% of the available CPU power and 18.75% of RAM for these features as well as others that are not mentioned here or will be added in future updates to the PS3 Operation System.

    • This would be an issue if PS3 games came out of the box demanding >75% of the processing capacity. I doubt that game programmers will be fluent enough working with all those cells this early in the production cycle to actually make use of all that power.

      It's not the amount of the cells you use, it's how you use em!
      • Well also realize that in the beginning people will be inefficient at programming the PS3 so having as much CPU power as possible will be important to make up for current lack of experience in optimization, so they may need 100% of the processor now to acheive what people will be able to do with 50% of the processor in the future.

      • That's a silly comment. Sure, the launch titles won't effectively use all of the power of the console, but you're still reducing the overall power by a pretty hefty chunk. If you had a PC with 2GB of RAM but Vista used 1GB (instead of 256MB) then if you're browsing the web or emailing it doesn't affect you. But as soon as you want to play a game, do video processing, etc. then it sure becomes a problem.

        IF Sony can give out OS updates over the internet (as Microsoft sort-of does now with the 360), then it's
    • t will use a good chunk of the resources on the OS rather then purely for games. If the PS3 devs can't use a lighter version of the O.S. this could be a bit of an issue should they opt to do so in their games

      This is silly, because undoubtedly the OS gives you a number of things that you'd have to do anyway, thus you no longer need to do them in your game. Sony is not stupid. Their developers are not stupid. They have some of the better PS developers under their roof (Naughty Dog with Jak and Daxter

      • This is silly, because undoubtedly the OS gives you a number of things that you'd have to do anyway, thus you no longer need to do them in your game.

        While this is true to an extent, I think Sony is making a big mistake by effectively forcing online functionality into all games.

        I don't play online. I don't want to chat with friends using my game console. I don't want content streamed in from the internet. I was planning on buying a PS3, but I may not if the offline aspect isn't as solid as on the previous ge
        • While this is true to an extent, I think Sony is making a big mistake by effectively forcing online functionality into all games.

          I don't play online. I don't want to chat with friends using my game console. I don't want content streamed in from the internet. I was planning on buying a PS3, but I may not if the offline aspect isn't as solid as on the previous generation of consoles. That's one of the main reasons I haven't picked up a 360 - it's not designed with gamers like me in mind.

          Eh? Then don'

          • Eh? Then don't. I don't think they're "forcing" anything. Almost every PSP game has some network connectivity... but it's not always PvP or chatting with friends. "Exit" has tons of levels you can download. PQ lets you post high scores.

            Uhh, yes. You're being forced to dedicate processes that are only useful to those who are online. That's the complaint. I don't really mind it so much since I'm quite fond of online gaming and consider home internet connection bandwidth to be a greater constraint than hardw

    • If the resources are used for system calls from the game code then it may be fine.
    • About 25% off the top just for the OS. Sounds pretty typical in todays computing world. Gone are the days where programmers actually cared enough ( or know how ) to make their code efficient.

      Besides why should they? Next years model wil be bigge, faster, better anyway, right? ( that was sarcasm, for the slow ones among us )
  • No news! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by VincenzoRomano ( 881055 ) on Friday April 14, 2006 @11:28AM (#15129644) Homepage Journal
    Quoting from the article [arstechnica.com]:
    Sony is planning to have an Operating System running constantly in the background.
    I would wonder if Sony did it the other way!
    It would be really hard to write and debug every single game (or application) with all the needed run time support in it.
    I'd say that trivially a (kind of) operating system [wikipedia.org] is to be present into that hardware marvel.
    The real question is: which operating system will Sony choose?
    One already existing or a fresh new one?
    • As long as the OS is powerful enough to allow me to download an item in the background, color me impressed!
    • Traditionally, that's basically how it's done for videogames. What would normally be the operating system is contained in a set of runtime libraries that are stored with the game, and can therefore never be upgraded. That also limits the ability of the system manufacturer to update hardware, if say, a bug is found in the video hardware.

      The Xbox was the first to break that cycle by having a hard drive for patches, but MS has gone back on that idea by shipping the 360 without a standard hard drive. Althoug
      • That would mean that any feature (like Internet connectivity) is to be implemented by each game on its own! All of them actually replicating the same code, features and bugs.
        With all that horse power in the box I would spend a mere 0.1% of it for a real operating system.
        I'm lucky I'm not a video game developer or engineer!
        • It's a matter of efficiency. In a small embedded platform like a game console, it makes sense to have the "OS" as part of the game code to an extent, because it can work more efficiently within the constraints of the hardware. Ever notice how a console tends to blow away an equivalently powerful PC when comparing the level of shiny things it can display? (This comparo's easy with an Xbox...try running Halo PC on a 733MHz Celeron with only 64MB of RAM shared with the video card)

          Only now are consoles getti
          • Hey guy! We are talking about the PS3 [wikipedia.org], not the GameBoy [wikipedia.org]!
            I can bet that a mere 0.1% of the total CPU resources can be "wasted" for a real real-time operating system!
            This's my opinion, of course!
            • I was discussing why this was done in previous consoles. Note that the only time I mentioned current consoles was saying that they now are powerful enough to run an OS at all times.

              Anyways, how much are you willing to bed on your 0.1% figure? Did you even read the article? It claims that both the PS3 and Xbox 360 OSes take well over that.
    • Considering that the "OS," per se, is really just doing some very specific Cell processor management and tacking on features like voice chat and custom music, I'd say that they'd definitely be building it themselves. They wouldn't need all the scheduling, I/O handling, multitasking, etc. complexities of a modern OS; just simple implementations that don't have to deal with competing processes, the basic run-time support that games need, and the ever-present features. The games get to take care of the rest.
    • The PS1 already contained a cooperatively multi-tasking OS in its ROM. I don't think that many games used its tasking features, but the developer kit was based on functionality found in the OS (but also replaced many of the routines with faster, more versatile or simply bugfixed versions).
  • Hardware (Score:3, Insightful)

    by the computer guy nex ( 916959 ) on Friday April 14, 2006 @11:36AM (#15129715)
    "I'd hate to see all this hardware potential go to waste"

    When you say "all this potential hardware" you really mean "blu-ray drive." The power difference between a PS3 and a 360 (with 3 3.2ghz processors and a better GPU) is negligable.
    • "The power difference between a PS3 and a 360 (with 3 3.2ghz processors and a better GPU) is negligable."

      That's simply not true,
      The architechture behind each console is VERY different and just flat out saying which is faster is impossible. The GPU on the 360 has unified shaders, so if you need to use a lot of just one kind of shader it should be faster on the 360, but the overhead of having unified shaders probably means that if you are doing some balance of vector and pixel shading then the PS3 will cl
    • Do some research next time before making comments like this. Because when you don't you look a little silly.

      Basically the PS3 has 8 SPEs on die (1 is reserved) and one is the PPE. All are running at 3.2GHz. The PPE is a general purpose CPU based on the PowerPC arch. and the SPEs are specialized processing units.

      Now, the PPE has two hardware threads each with 128 x 128bit wide hardware registers. Each SPE has two hardware threads each containing the same number of registers with the same width. Soooo.
  • Grids? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mr-mafoo ( 891779 )
    I remember a while back when all the buzz about the new PS console was starting. There were numerous reports that the PS3 would form a distributed Grid computer for things like running the game servers or providing Mhz for rent (over broadband).
    I'm wondering if this is still the plan? Was it the press confusing Cell and Grid? The other question it poses is what is the legality of using a client's box and bandwidth for sony's network
    • Re:Grids? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jerf ( 17166 )
      There were numerous reports that the PS3 would form a distributed Grid computer for things like running the game servers or providing Mhz for rent (over broadband).I'm wondering if this is still the plan?

      No, it was just a way of trying to demonstrate the phenomenal cosmic powers the PS3 will possess. I truly doubt that was ever anything other than talk.

      See also the "Emotion Engine" (translation: "CPU"), "real-time Toy Story graphics" (something the new generation is getting close to if you fudge the resolu
    • "Cell will create a new extensible computing platform. A set-top box containing a Cell chip could, for example, combine to share processing power with a Cell-powered high-definition television to render the graphics of an animated movie."

      http://news.com.com/2100-1001-948493.html [com.com]
    • Sony using a customer's box for processing, at least without direct permission, would be theft. That box requires electricity to run, and if I'm not using the box, I damn well don't expect to be paying the electricity bill for it running at 100% capacity 24/7.
  • by Kamalot ( 674654 ) on Friday April 14, 2006 @01:29PM (#15130762)

    In the dawn of the PS3, the system specs were all powerful. The almighty Cell processor has 8 SPEs and would take advantage of other Cell processors on the network, such as those in your TV. It was kind of like Devastator [toyarchive.com], the processors combining to become even more powerful.

    Then we find out that Sony is having trouble making Cell chips with 8 working SPEs. So the PS3 is promised to only have 7 working SPEs for each system.

    Today we find out [evilavatar.com] that the OS will always consume an SPE and has the right to abduct another when necessary. This reduces the potential number of SPEs that a developer can reliably count on for a game to use at all times is reduced to 5.

    The true power of the PS3 keeps being reduced the closer to launch it becomes. Additional features have already been dropped [gamesindustry.biz]. How many more will evaporate before the PS3 becomes a real device you can go to the store and buy?

    "Cell will create a new extensible computing platform. A set-top box containing a Cell chip could, for example, combine to share processing power with a Cell-powered high-definition television to render the graphics of an animated movie."

    "A game console might use a chip with 16 cores, while a less complicated device like a set-top box would have a processor with fewer"

    "It will have the ability to do north of 1 trillion mathematical calculations per second, roughly 100 times more than a single Pentium 4 chip running at 2.5GHz."

    http://news.com.com/2100-1001-948493.html [com.com]

    What went wrong on the way? Why do we now have a processor that isn't half what we were promised but is still a total bitch to program for?

    Don't you think someone should be asking these questions?

  • Finally (Score:4, Funny)

    by thesnarky1 ( 846799 ) on Friday April 14, 2006 @01:32PM (#15130812) Homepage
    Just what I always wanted! The ability to talk on AIM using two thumbsticks while fragging my way through a room full of badass monsters!
  • Homer Simpson's Car (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kamalot ( 674654 ) on Friday April 14, 2006 @01:43PM (#15130932)

    Think of a car manufacturer telling you about an upcoming sports car. The automobile will have 8 cylinders in a brand-new type of engine and will be faster than anything else on the road.

    A year goes by and the manufacturer is having trouble producing the brand-new engine with 8 working cylinders. Instead, they decide the sports car will only use 7.

    Now we find out that the fancy computer controlled car needs power to run the fuel-injectors, radio, On-Star and GPS system. As a result, the car will always occupy one cylinder of power and will have the option to abscond with another cylinder when it deems necessary.

    Your 8-cylinder powerhouse is now a 5-cylinder go-kart. Sure, it has a really fancy GPS system and radio, but what about those that wanted the super-car they were promised? The machine isn't focused on delivering the best driving experience possible, it has turned into a Homermobile [wikipedia.org], with a bluray player, the ability to download music and shows, 7 wireless controllers, cup holders, a coffee machine, and three horns that play "La Cucaracha".

    How about a company that focuses on doing something well, instead of trying to be everything to everyone?

  • You can get to the original article here

    http://www.ps3portal.com/ps3/article/352.html [ps3portal.com]
    http://www.ps3portal.com/ps3/article/352/2 [ps3portal.com]
  • Sony Operating System (SOS)... doesn't Woz have dibs on this name this name?

Little known fact about Middle Earth: The Hobbits had a very sophisticated computer network! It was a Tolkien Ring...

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