In a new interview with Reed's Electronic News, Tom Reeves, VP of semiconductor and technology services at IBM, has spoken candidly about the future of microchip manufacturing, focusing on the IBM-co-designed Cell processor, which is used by Sony's PlayStation 3.
Concerning how the Cell will influence backwards compatibility, a growing issue within next-generation consoles such as the PlayStation 3, Reeves commented that: “Sony is very concerned about quality and backward compatibility. They want to get this right. They tested game after game after game. When there were about 40 PlayStation 1 games that didn’t work properly, that didn’t pass their criteria for quality.”
Regarding to the Cell itself, specifically concerning the fact that it will feature eight cores, of which seven will be used by the PlayStation 3, Reeves noted that should one of these cores fail: “It’s just like a reliability failure on your TV or DVD recorder. If it’s within warranty, you send it back. If it’s not, your game doesn’t work anymore.”
He added, as part of the full interview
, which also includes further information from IBM's microchip-orientated perspective: “You’ll always have choices about how reliable you want to make a chip with burn-in. Most chips that go into the consumer marketplace on things such as camcorders or DVD players aren’t burned in. But you can add burn-in and improve reliability 5x to 10x. It’s extra cost. Certainly, a company like Sony adds that in.”