Nvidia GPU to power PlayStation 3

Sony announces a deal with the California-based company to develop the graphics processor for its next-generation console.

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TOKYO--Today Sony Computer Entertainment and Nvidia announced that they are codeveloping the new graphics processor that will be used in Sony's next-generation console, generally referred to as the PlayStation 3. The custom graphics processor unit (GPU) will merge Nividia's next-generation GeForce technology with SCEI's system solutions. The two companies will also work together in making the development tools and middleware that will be used for PS3 development.

According to Nvidia president and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang, the two companies' collaboration has been going on for some time. "Over the past two years Nvidia has worked closely with Sony Computer Entertainment on their next-generation computer entertainment system," he said. "In parallel, we have been designing our next-generation GeForce GPU. The combination of the revolutionary Cell processor and Nvidia's graphics technologies will enable the creation of breathtaking imagery that will surprise and captivate consumers."

The Sony-Nvidia deal is a broad agreement that will see the GPU being used in other digital consumer electronics products from Sony, with Nvidia collecting royalties. It is also a coup for the California-based company, whose main rival in the graphics-processor market, ATI, is working with Microsoft on the GPU for its next-generation console. Executives at Nvidia must also be feeling a more personal form of satisfaction, since the company previously had an agreement with Microsoft to make the GPUs that run in current Xboxes. According to some reports, the two firms ended said agreement on poor terms after a dispute over royalty payments.

Also of some note is that the joint statement refers to the PS3 as a "next-generation computer entertainment system" rather than a next-generation video game console, so the machine will almost certainly do more than play games, just as the PS2 can run DVDs and CDs and the PSP can play movies and MP3 audio.

Sony and Nvidia's custom GPU will be manufactured at Sony's Nagasaki factory and at Oita TS Semiconductor, Toshiba and Sony's joint fabrication facility.

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