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7800 GT OC vs Cell

Cell ProcessorGameTomorrow has a small piece about some experimenting they did with the CPU in the PlayStation (PS3), and their relative performance. They ported a piece of graphics CG (nVIDIA language) code to the Cell to see how it performed.

To our surprise, well not really, we found that using only 7 SPEs for rendering a 3.2 GHz Cell chip could out run an Nvidia 7800 GT OC card at this task by about 30%. We reserved one SPE for the image compression and delivery task. Furthermore the way CG structures it SIMD computation is inefficient as it causes large percentages of the code to execute in scalar mode. This is due to the way they structure their vector data, AOS vs SOA. By converting this CG shader from AOS to SOA form, SIMD utilization was much higher which resulted in Cell out performing the Nvidia 7800 by a factor of 5 – 6x using only 7 SPEs for rendering. Given that the Nvidia 7800 GT is listed as having 313 GFLOPs of computational power and seven 3.2 GHz SPEs only have 179.2 GFLOPs this seems impossible but then again maybe we should start reading more white papers and less marketing hype.

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GameTomorrow – GPUs vs Cell