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Sony Shows Off Cell, RSX-Powered Video Processing System

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We've heard of Toshiba's plans to use the Cell processor it co-developed with Sony and IBM in notebooks (such as the Qosmio F50 and G50), up-scaling DVD players and TVs, but Sony up until now has kept the chip relegated to the PlayStation 3. That's not the case any more, though, as with the introduction ZEGO at SIGGRAPH, Sony is pushing both the Cell CPU and the RSX graphics chip from the PS3 in a whole new direction.

ZEGO, apparently derived from "zest to go" oddly enough, is a platform developed by Sony for video production. Sony has been working with various production companies to optimise software solutions to take advantage of the Cell's high level of parallelism. So far only companies in video production have been targeted, but there seems to reason to think other applications couldn't take advantage of the Cell, too.

Sony is also pushing power efficiency as a big plus of its platform, with the entire unit drawing 330W. That might sound a lot, but compared to rival platforms - say a pair of Intel Xeons at 135W a processor regardless the rest of the system's draw - it's pretty good. The first ZEGO product, named the BCU-100 and packing a Cell processor and an RSX chip into a 1U rack-mount system, is expected to launch before the end of the year, at an unknown price.

While I doubt anyone reading this (and definitely not the person writing it) will ever actually own one of these systems, it is interesting to see the Cell being put to uses other than playing games.

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