At A Cell-ular Level
The Cell processor is a wonderfully adept piece of hardware. Its design is meant not just for video games (it’ll be the processor in the HD-capable PS3), but also for servers, TV, mobile phones, workstations, and more. The Cell is designed to run at 4GHz or higher. The chip hits 256GFLOPS at 4GHz, enough to compress HD video using H.264 encoding in real time. 256GFLOPS is 40 times the Emotion Engine used in the PS2 and 15 times the Pentium 4. The Cell chip consists of a general-purpose core processor and multiple additional core processors called synergistic processing elements, or SPEs. The prototype chips have a PowerPC main core and eight SPEs. Both of these things can be changed – it’s conceivable that the main core be a MIPS core or an ARM core. As well, the number of SPEs can vary, depending on the application for which the Cell needs to be used.
The interface connecting the Cell to peripheral ICs is 12 bytes wide – seven bytes for output and five for input. This ratio can be adjusted. Plus:
The per-pin peak data rate for FlexIO is a high 6.4 Gbits/s, which is higher than the 2.5 Gbits/s delivered by existing PCI Express serial transfer, or even 5 Gbits/s second-generation PCI Express technology. As a result, the system interface offers a peak data rate of 76.8 Gbytes/s, roughly ten times faster than the Pentium 4.
I could go on quoting even more of the article. This is just scratching the surface of what the Cell processor is. For many more details, just go over to the NE Asia Online article linked to below.