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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

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
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
SISD vs. SIMD
  • 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
slide4
SISD
  • 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)
slide5
SIMD
  • 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
simd on the playstation2
SIMD on the PlayStation2
  • 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
simd on the playstation28
SIMD on the PlayStation2
  • 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
differences in cache implementation
Differences in cache implementation
  • 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
cache specs for the pentium 4 sisd architecture
Cache specs for the Pentium 4 (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
Cache specs for Emotion Engine(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
cache specs
Cache Specs
  • 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
bandwith in the emotion engine
Bandwith in the Emotion Engine
  • 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
performance of the playstation2
Performance of the PlayStation2
  • 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
can the playstation2 compete with general purpose cpu s
Can the PlayStation2 compete with general purpose CPU’s?
  • 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)
some necessary improvements
Some Necessary Improvements
  • 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
in the future
In the Future
  • 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
references
References
  • Jon “Hannibal” Stokes:
    • “Sound and Vision: A Technical Overview of the Emotion Engine”
      • http://www.arstechnica.com/reviews/1q00/playstation2/ee-1.html
    • “The PlayStation2 vs. the PC: a System-level Comparison of Two 3D Platforms”
      • http://www.arstechnica.com/cpu/2q00/ps2/ps2vspc-1.html
    • “3 1/2 SIMD Architectures “
      • http://www.arstechnica.com/cpu/1q00/simd/simd-1.html
  • 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
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