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PlayStation2 as a General Purpose Computer. (The Emotion Engine vs. general PC architectures). Can the PlayStation2 compete with the PC as a general purpose computer? . What’s the difference between the general PC architecture and the PlayStation2 architecture?

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Playstation2 as a general purpose computer l.jpg

PlayStation2 as a General Purpose Computer

(The Emotion Engine vs. general PC architectures)

Can the playstation2 compete with the pc as a general purpose computer l.jpg
Can the PlayStation2 compete with the PC as a general purpose computer?

  • What’s the difference between the general PC architecture and the PlayStation2 architecture?

  • How do these differences affect the performance of the PlayStation2 on general applications like word processing and running email clients?

Sisd vs simd l.jpg
SISD vs. SIMD purpose computer?

  • SISD – Single Instruction stream Single Data stream

    • Intel and AMD Processors

  • SIMD – Single Instruction stream Multiple Data streams

    • PlayStation2

    • Motorola's MPC7400 (the G4)

    • Sun's MAJC

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SISD purpose computer?

  • Takes advantage of instruction-level parallelism

    • Executes multiple instructions at once on the same data stream

  • Good performance depends on good cache performance

  • Very high clock speed (execute as many instructions as you can as fast as possible)

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SIMD purpose computer?

  • Takes advantage of data parallelism

    • Executes the same instruction on large amounts of uniform data all at once

  • Good performance depends on efficiently packing data into uniform format

  • Slower clock speed

  • Very high throughput

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SISD/SIMD purpose computer?

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SIMD on the PlayStation2 purpose computer?

  • The heart of the PlayStation2 is the Emotion Engine

    • Its main function is to calculate display lists and send them on to a Graphics Synthesizer which renders these lists into three dimensional objects

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SIMD on the PlayStation2 purpose computer?

  • Calculating display lists basically involves vector calculations

    • the kind of task a SIMD architecture is perfect for

    • It requires a relatively small set of instructions operating on massive amounts of uniform data

  • The most common operation is a tight loop iterating through sets of matrices

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Differences in cache implementation purpose computer?

  • SISD data caches tend to be large

    • Huge performance gains are achieved by reading in a big chunk of data and executing as many instructions as you can on it

  • This approach is terrible for SIMD architecture

    • Data is not referenced repeatedly

    • Vector calculations are performed and then the next bit of data is read

    • Nothing is gained by storing old data in cache memory

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Cache specs for the Pentium 4 purpose computer? (SISD architecture)

  • 12K µop 8-way set associative execution trace cache

  • 8K 8-way set associative data cache

  • 256K or 512K 8-way set associative Level 2 cache

  • The exact size of the L1 instruction cache is not clearly documented (8-12K would be a reasonable assumption)

Cache specs for emotion engine simd architecture l.jpg
Cache specs for Emotion Engine purpose computer? (SIMD architecture)

  • 16K 2-way set associative instruction cache

  • 8K 2-way set associative data cache

  • Two Vector Units (VU0 and VU1) each have a 16K instruction cache and 16K data cache

  • 16K SPRAM (Scratch Pad RAM - high speed memory shared by the processor and VU0

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Cache Specs purpose computer?

  • The PlayStation total cache size is smaller than the Pentium 4 by a factor of about 3 or 5 depending on the size of the Pentium L2 cache

  • Also, the caches are divided up into much smaller units on the Emotion Engine

  • The big difference is the lack of a L2 cache in the Emotion Engine

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Bandwith in the Emotion Engine purpose computer?

  • Designed with massive bandwith to maximize throughput

  • Memory bus bandwith: 3.2 GB/s

  • 16-bit bus connects two 128 MB RDRAM memory banks to the 10-channel Direct Memory Access Controller (DMAC)

  • DMAC allows up to 10 simultaneous data transfers on 128-bit and 64-bit buses

  • Much higher throughput is achieved because the system can service more requests simultaneously

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Emotion Engine Architecture purpose computer?

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Performance of the PlayStation2 purpose computer?

  • In multi media applications

    • Outperforms PC’s by far on tasks such as

      • mp3 encoding/decoding

      • mpeg encoding/decoding

      • graphics applications

  • In applications that have very little data parallelism (like word processing, email, or internet browsing)

    • Degenerates to a machine with very low clock rate and a terrible cache implementation

    • Cannot possibly compete with modern PC’s

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Can the PlayStation2 compete with general purpose CPU’s? purpose computer?

  • Not currently

    • The lack of a L2 cache makes it difficult to compete with SISD architectures on workloads with high data reuse

    • Even if we focus entirely on multimedia applications

      • Code would have to be re-written and re-compiled to take advantage of the Emotion Engine’s higher bandwith and vector processors

    • Not enough memory

      • Only supports a total of 32MB

    • Not enough permanent storage

      • Max storage capacity is 16MB (two 8MB memory cards)

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Some Necessary Improvements purpose computer?

  • Several improvements are necessary if the PlayStation2 wants to compete with general purpose PC’s in the future. For example:

    • Memory hierarchy needs to be re-designed to accommodate SISD workloads

      • A level 2 cache and a trace execution cache would substantially improve performance

    • A more powerful core CPU is necessary

      • Wider issue

      • Improved branch predictor

    • Programmers need to learn how to fully utilize the strengths of the Emotion Engine Architecture

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In the Future purpose computer?

  • The PlayStation2 will face tougher competition from PC architectures, like the G4, that are incorporating SIMD architectures into their design more aggressively

  • It will be interesting to see how these new architectures compete with the PlayStation2 as 3D gaming systems

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References purpose computer?

  • Jon “Hannibal” Stokes:

    • “Sound and Vision: A Technical Overview of the Emotion Engine”


    • “The PlayStation2 vs. the PC: a System-level Comparison of Two 3D Platforms”


    • “3 1/2 SIMD Architectures “


  • A microprocessor with a 128-bit CPU, ten floating-point MAC's, four floating-point dividers, and an MPEG-2 decoderSuzuoki, M.; Kutaragi, K.; et alSolid-State Circuits, IEEE Journal of , Volume: 34 Issue: 11 , Nov. 1999 Page(s): 1608 -1618

  • Vector unit architecture for emotion synthesisKunimatsu, A.; Ide, N.; Sato, T.; Endo, Y.; Murakami, H.; Kamei, T.; Hirano, M.; Ishihara, F.; Tago, H.; Oka, M.; Ohba, A.; Yutaka, T.; Okada, T.; Suzuoki, M.IEEE Micro , Volume: 20 Issue: 2 , March-April 2000 Page(s): 40 -47

  • Designing and programming the emotion engineOka, M.; Suzuoki, M.IEEE Micro , Volume: 19 Issue: 6 , Nov.-Dec. 1999 Page(s): 20 -28