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The new Sony PSP – iPad on steroids

Sony have been in the spotlight since they announced the hardware configuration of the upcoming Sony PSP.

The new Sony product will be using an ARM processor however it is significantly more powerful than anything else on the market right now. They are using the Cortex A9 core which is a quad core design. They are also using the SGX543MP4+ graphics processing unit from Imagination Technologies, which also is a quad core design.

This means that Sony are going to be releasing a gaming device with four time the CPU and GPU power of the iPhone 4. The problems with this design however are going to be the heat generated and the heavy battery drain, especially when compared with single core designs.

Linley Gwennap, an analyst with the Linley Group said “There are a couple of issues. One is the heat coming out of it. And the other is battery life,” Gwennap said. “Putting it in a tablet or smartphone, you might dial up a Web page, fire up the four cores, get the thing rendered, then shut them (the four cores) down again. “In a game environment, it’s going to be interesting to see how they manage that. When you’re playing a game you just don’t start and stop. So, they need to figure out a way to keep those four cores running without generating too much heat and without draining the battery. But you can always turn something on, turn something off. It depends on the needs of that particular game.”

Not only has the new Imagination SGX543 GPU got four cores, but it also has twice the shader throughput which should make games much more feature rich. Each of the cores has multiple shader pipelines. Each core has multiple shader pipelines. The 535 which Intel used originally in their Atom processor has two shader pipelines. The Samsung Galaxy S which uses a SGX540, it has four shader pipelines. The 543 has the same number of pipelines but each pipeline is twice as powerful. The quad-core graphics chip in the Sony machine would be roughly eight times as powerful as the Samsung Galaxy S.

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