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Emotion Engine. A look at the microprocessor at the center of the PlayStation2 gaming console. Charles Aldrich. The PlayStation2. Unlike many of the devices we have looked at, the PS2 seeks to do a specific task very well, namely 3D Gaming

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emotion engine

Emotion Engine

A look at the microprocessor at the center of the PlayStation2 gaming console

Charles Aldrich

the playstation2
The PlayStation2
  • Unlike many of the devices we have looked at, the PS2 seeks to do a specific task very well, namely 3D Gaming
  • As a result the construction of the platform is different from most computers
  • The EmotionEngine is also quite different as a result of this
the playstation21
The PlayStation2
  • EmotionEngine is specifically designed to handle several tasks (in order of importance)
    • Geometry Calculations
    • Behaviour/World Simulation
    • System Functions
creating graphics
Creating Graphics
  • The EmotionEngine is not responsible for creating and displaying graphics, rather it is responsible for passing a list of rendering commands to the graphics synthesizer
  • The graphics synthesizer, in the PS2 is a souped up video accelerator
emotionengine basic architecture
EmotionEngine basic architecture
  • MIPS III core
  • A Vector Unit (actually made up of 2, VU0 and VU1)
  • Floating Point
  • Image Processing Unit (does mpg2)
  • Graphics Interface Unit
  • RDRAM interface
  • I/O interface
  • DMA Controller (10 channel)
architecture cont
Architecture, cont.
  • All components are connected via a 128-bit internal bus
  • Toshiba, who developed the EmotionEngine (and licensed it to Sony) decided, early on, that the EmotionEngine was not going to be a general purpose microprocessor rather it was only going to be designed to run 3D games
  • This allowed the design team to determine the roles of the various internal devices during design
architecture cont1
Architecture, cont.
  • The idea was to set up the various components to work in groups to accomplish set tasks
    • CPU + FPU: basic program control, housekeeping, etc
    • CPU + FPU + VU0: behavior, physics calculations, etc
    • VU1: simple geometry calculations that produce display lists which are sent directly to the Graphics Synthesizer
    • IPU: image decompression
  • Next we’ll look at how each of these groups work together
cpu fpu vu0 group
CPU/FPU/VU0 group
  • Both the FPU and the VU0 have a dedicated 128-bit bus, so they do not need to use the shared system bus
  • The dedicated bus allows the VU0 to function as a MIPS III coprocessor
  • The VU0 and the CPU share the ScratchPadRam (16k of very fast RAM)
  • The SPRAM functions as a workspace where both the CPU and the VU0 work together on a piece of data before sending it out over the system bus
vu1 graphics synthesizer
VU1/Graphics Synthesizer
  • Similar to the VU0 and the CPU, the VU1 has a dedicated 128-bit bus connection to the Graphics Interface
  • Do not work as closely as the VU0 and CPU, neither controls the other
mips iii core details
MIPS III Core details
  • The EmotionEngine uses a specialized version of the MIPS architecture
    • 32 128-bit registers
    • 2 64-bit integer ALUs
    • 128-bit load/store unit
    • Branch execution unit
    • FPU Coprocessor
    • Vector Coprocessor
mips iii core details cont
MIPS III Core details, cont.
  • Cache
    • 16k instruction
    • 8k data
  • Capable of speculative execution
    • 2 part branch-prediction mechanism
    • Fairly simple
mips iii core details cont1
MIPS III Core details, cont.
  • Pipeline
    • Relatively short, 6 stage pipeline
      • 1. PC Select
      • 2. Instruction fetch
      • 3. Instruction decode and register read
      • 4. Execute
      • 5. Cache access
      • 6. Write back
  • FPU coprocessor is fairly standard
  • The emotion engine takes advantage of SIMD (Single Instruction stream, Multiple Data stream)
simd cont
SIMD, cont.
  • As the picture shows, parallel streams of data all have the same instructions done to it
  • The EmotionEngine supports (using both ALUs) 128-bit integer SIMD in several configurations
    • 16 8-bit ops/cycle
    • 8 16-bit ops/cycle
    • 4 32-bit ops/cycle
visual power
Visual Power
  • The EmotionEngine is best suited for precision graphics, and the power of the processor comes from the Vector Processing units
  • As we’ve discussed already, there are two vector units
  • The two are similar on an architectural level, but very different on a functional level
  • 128-bit SIMD/VLIW design
  • Works as a coprocessor with the CPU
  • Has its own set of 32 128-bit FPRs (floating point registers)
  • Also has 16 16-bit integer registers for integer operations
  • Has all the architectural features of VU0
  • Also has some additions which pertain to geometry functions in coordination with the Graphics Synthesizer
  • This includes the addition of the EFU (Elementary Functional Unit) which does basic math essential to geometric processing
basic stats
Basic Stats
  • Clock Speed - 300 Mhz
  • Transistors - 10.5 Million
  • Memory - 32MB (Direct RDRAM)
  • Memory Bandwidth - 3.5GB/sec
performance numbers
Performance Numbers
  • Floating Point - 6.2 Gigaflops
  • Perspective Transformation - 66 Million Polygons/sec
  • Lighting - 38 Million Polygons/sec
  • Fog - 36 Million Polygons/sec
  • Curved Surface Generation (Bezier) - 16 Million Polygons/sec
  • The EmotionEngine is clearly a very capable graphics processor, but its true power is most evident when placed in the context of the PS2 which was designed to take advantage of the processors specific architecture