Hackers set their sights on cracking a new video game console just as soon as it arrives. Their tenacity can usually bear fruits within months of the console's release unless the machine happens to be the PlayStation 3, which has remained unconquered for more than 3 years.
But finally, a hacker claims to have sneaked past the PS3's supposedly inviolable defenses. The PS3's ramparts may have successfully fended against hackers and the prospect of unsigned code for “3 years, 2 months, 11 days” but it took an eminent hacker just 5 weeks to come up with a hack. The man behind the crack, George Hotz, aka Geohot, has a penchant for hacking impregnable gadgets. A couple of years ago, a 17-year-old Geohot became the first person to jailbreak the iPhone.
Hotz revealed on his blog that he cracked the PS3 using a combination of hardware and software hacks. Although he claims to have gained full read/write access and the power to “make the system do whatever I want,” Geohot is in no hurry to release his hack, which is avowedly quite unstable and needs some fine-tuning. "If I posted what I have now, people would get fed up with it," he told El Reg in an interview.
Talk of the technology behind the PlayStation 3 console always turns to the Cell processor, an innovative chip architecture which, in the PS3, contains essentially 9 processors on single chip (one PowerPC chip and eight Synergistic Processing Elements, or SPEs). And up until now, there was no reason to believe Sony wouldn't once again go with a Cell processor in its PlayStation 4 console, but there now lingers some doubt if the chip truly is "dead in the water, as David Turek, IBM's VP of Deep Computing, supposedly said.
The quote comes from German webiste Heise Online, which goes on to claim that the planned successor to the current chip, which is slated to have two PowerPC processors and 32 SPEs, is no longer going to be released.
What exactly that means isn't entirely clear at the moment. So far, there's no evidence that IBM is halting development on Cell processors, only that the specifically planned successor has been canned. If we're to take a glass half-full approach, that could mean the PS4 will utilize an even more power Cell processor, though it's far to early to tell.
One of the high points with the technology used in Sony's Playstation 3 console is the Cell processor technology. A similar concept could be coming to the PC, and you'll have Toshiba to thank, not Sony.
Toshiba's SpursEngine is based on the same Cell processor technology as found in the PS3 and is used to process HD video with its four Cell cores. The technology makes easy work out of encoding and decoding HD content and can upscale standard-definition video to high-definition video without bogging down the CPU. Toshiba is already using the technology in its Qosmio G50 and F40 notebooks and hopes to expand to the desktop market via add-in cards by the end of the years.
LeadTek and Thomson are already on board with plans to release a SpursEngine card within the next few weeks. LeadTek's version is expected to debut this month at about $286 and its Winfast PxVC 1100 card has already been shown at the Ceatec Exhibition in Japan. Thomson is targeting a November release in the $375 to $400 range
The Cell processor hasn’t been featured in any daily-use tech gadgets save the PS3. But Toshiba has put the powerful Cell into a notebook and most certainly pulled off a coup. The Qosmio G50 and F40 machines Tosh notebooks will feature its Cell-derived SpursEngine SE1000 chip, which is essentially a co-processor supposed to handle heavy-duty processing fare like real-time graphics.
Keep reading to know more about the Qosmio G50 and F40 that can do the inconceivable.