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Toshiba creates powerful Cell-based chip

Just days after the likely-to-be-true rumours that Sony is selling its Cell processor business, we have the probable buyer, Toshiba, announcing a new high-end chip based on the very technology it is about to inherit.

The company's new SpursEngine features processing cores based on the Cell CPU it developed with Sony and IBM and is intended for powerful video processing in future consumer products.

Real-time rendering

When it goes public at October's CEATEC trade show in Japan, the SpursEngine will be used in the kind of demonstrations typical of such video-centric chips, such as rendering virtual changes to clothes, hair and facial expressions in real time on human models and drawing videogame scenarios on the fly.

Toshiba says the SpursEngine uses only half the Cell's cores, but includes MPEG-2 and H.264 video encoding and decoding hardware to create a balance between processing muscle and power consumption. It plans to put the new chip in its own products after the show and also to sell it to other companies.