SPE’s are Fully Capable Processing Units
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that the Synergistic Processor Elements (SPE’s) in the Cell processor are specific-purpose processors subservient to the main Power Processing Element (PPE), Dr. Hofstee warns.
More than just co-processors, Dr. Hofstee said, the SPEs are fully-capable processing units that are capable not only of running threads spawned off from a main program, but also running “single-core,” scalar programs in their entirety – not only multithreading, but multitasking.
These words popped out at me because I’ve seen a lot of criticism about the Cell, and how the SPE’s aren’t general-purpose enough to be of general use. According to Dr. Hofstee, the principal developer of the CPU’s SPE’s, “[Cell] is already fairly general-purpose, even today.”