NVIDIA RSX and PS3 Audio
Of course, we don’t know what sort of audio capabilities the RSX may include and whether they will rise above the basic AC’97 or Azalia (HD Audio) interfaces NVIDIA has already designed for its nForce chipsets. If this is the “SoundStorm 2” Huang promised, one would expect true hardware DSPs and 3D positional audio capabilities from it. One of the more tantalizing prospects, given that the audio capabilities are located on a GPU, is the possibility that RSX might use its pixel shader processors to manipulate audio streams. That’s just wild speculation on my part, though. We’ve asked NVIDIA for comment on all of these issues, but we have yet to hear back.
Beyond the apparent revelation about RSX audio, these slides also offer some insight into the RSX’s graphics capabilities. One slide lists basic specifications, and claims the RSX GPU is “NV47 based.” Beyond3D notes that NV47 was a code-name for G70, the GPU better known as the GeForce 7800. We’ve expected the RSX to be based on the GeForce 7 series graphics architecture, but this is confirmation, with additional detail. The slide says RSX will be capable of 24 texture lookups and 384 FLOPS per clock, suggesting the RSX probably has the same 24-pixel-shader configuration as the desktop G70 and G71 GPUs from NVIDIA. However, the RSX will communicate with its 256MB of dedicated memory over a 128-bit memory bus, half the width of the memory interface for the desktop G70 and G71 chips. The 22.4GB/s of bandwidth this memory config yields should be sufficient, since the PS3 will “only” have to drive HDTV-class displays.
I’m not really sure what this all means. My guess is this. I’ve previously heard that the Cell processor would be used for processing and creating audio. I think that if indeed the RSX will be used for audio, it will only be used as the DA device to physically create the audio stream.