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Old 10-21-2007, 11:03 AM   #1
shorty_boy
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Can the PS2 hardware be accessed on PS3 with Linux?


Just wondering, because i really want a PlayStation 3 because i am a CS major and the hardware seems interesting. Also I know that the RSX chip cannot be used and the SPE's can do some limited rendering, but i wonder if i can use the PlayStation 2 hw to render stuff, or even combine the GS chip with the SPE's. People did some pretty amazing things with the PlayStation 2 Linux set.

Also i am in need of a new computer and rather spend 600 on a PlayStation 3 than build a new one. My current betsie is about 6 years old and while she will continue to be my work horse, the PlayStation 3 will be my more portable (hey check this out, etc) computer. Plus i would like to really get more involved in the linux community and i think that it would be better to start of in my own niche.
 
Old 10-21-2007, 11:13 AM   #2
MS3FGX
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No, there is no hardware rendering available on the PS3 under Linux. Sony's official stance is that they are working on the drivers, but it seems more likely that they don't want to include hardware accelerated graphics as it could conflict with PS3 hardware sales (why buy games for the console when you could just play Linux games). Not that the system is moving any software in the first place...

I would have to suggest against getting the PS3 as your full time computer. The machine is very powerful on paper, and indeed when running native software (PS3 games) there is an absurd amount of processing power available, but that just doesn't translate over to a general purpose operating system like Linux; it also doesn't help that Linux is run in a VM on the machine, and doesn't actually execute on the bare hardware.

Just because the Cell is very powerful doesn't mean your desktop experience is going to be incredible, a $600 PC would easily outperform the PS3 doing day to day tasks. You also have to take into consideration the fact that the machine only has 256 MB of RAM.

Basically, you don't use a machine designed for parallel processing as a standard computer and reap the benefits of the hardware; it just doesn't work that way. If you are looking into working with parallel software, then get the PS3 as a relatively inexpensive testbed (though you could cluster together old machines for cheaper) but get a real computer to do your normal tasks on.
 
Old 10-21-2007, 11:12 PM   #3
shorty_boy
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Well to be more specific...

i appreciate your input but i don't think you really understood my question.

I asked about the ps2 hardware because that was a deal breaker between buying the 80gb US version with GS chip versus getting the cheaper 60gb US version with GS emulation. But the ps3 would be my testing area for working with cell and would also allow me to truly give back to the Linux community (no matter how small of a ps3 community that there may be). (encoding/decoding,transcoding, etc)

I participated in the ps2 linux community limitedly and understood how it all worked on that hardware. The ps2 is extremely powerful but as a day to day pc, it is really crippled (64mb ram) but when you think about it, it was designed from the ground up to play games. I don't expect the ps3 to be a general purpose pc, i want a powerful hardware that i can customized to make it do things very well. Besides, it will perform adequately enough as a high end g4 mac or a low end g5 mac as its ppc core is closely related (with a nice window manager, it comes with e17). The ps2 hardware come into play because i know how to render things on there, possibly i could help to make a workaround for hardware rendering support on ps3 with legacy ps2 chips. Or just settle with using the SPE's to render graphics.

Like i said though, my current computer would still be my work horse as she has been for the last 6+ years or so. but the ps3 would be my new computer because of its sheer power and potability. When my bestie was as windows box in 2000, it was a media center pc before xp existed and i think it would be easier for that to work out with the ps3 as cell is designed for multimedia (and the there is every connection that i would ever need). Not only that but the ps3 is ideal for hd video and audio. The only downfall in my opinion towards the ps3 is the limited memory. But as you can see with some of the games, optimization makes that problem a little less apparent (plus the memory is ridiculously fast).
 
Old 10-23-2007, 12:47 PM   #4
fobbio
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The PS3 has a lot of benefits to using it. As the both of you said, it's not intended to be used as a general purpose machine and rather as a Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC), like the BlueGene/L in a smaller scale.

The RSX was locked out by default to keep people from software piracy. The GameOS is locked down pretty tight and SONY probably didn't want to take the chance.

As far as I can tell, the Emotion Engine and GS aren't available to Linux. The SPEs are excellent Vector Processors, which is similar in nature to a GPUs Pixel Pipelines. You might be able to port OpenGL to it with better acceleration than it currently has, but that would be a mammoth project.

Go for the 60GB version, if you ever intend to run PS2 software, the software emulator isn't there yet. It will likely get much better in time though.
 
Old 11-02-2007, 02:54 PM   #5
shorty_boy
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thanks fobbio

that's what i wanted to know.

I heard that Sony is planning on going to a 65nm die in the future so that the ps3 consumes less power and what and some of the hw can be smaller and cheaper(maybe a slim ps3?), if i were to dev for th current ps3 with ee chip, would that code still work on a ps3 without ee chip or even the 65nm version?

I personally would like a ps3 that consumes 69watts versus a ps3 that consumes 129watts.

knowing how sony is, i wouldn't be surprised if the 65nm ps3s had the 8th spe.
 
Old 11-02-2007, 08:46 PM   #6
MS3FGX
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Obviously the new version (if there is one) is going to run code the same as the old one did; it would sort of be a problem if the 65nm version couldn't run software written for the release model.

As for the EE, as already said, you have no access to it, so don't worry about it being missing in the newer PS3s.

Also, you aren't going to see the 8th SPE unlocked, as that is disabled due to quality assurance concerns. Sony feels the chances of one of the SPE's being DOA is large enough that software is only allowed to access 7 of them; so even if your PS3 ships with a dead one, it can still function (and they don't have to replace it). They might improve their ability to put out 100% functional Cells in future PS3 runs, but that isn't going to help the ones already in consumer's homes, so lifting the SPE limit isn't likely to happen anytime soon.
 
Old 11-02-2007, 11:48 PM   #7
fobbio
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The move to 65 nm isn't going to have that dramatic of a power reduction. A current PS3 uses approximately 200W in operation. With a die shrink, it may go down to 190W or 180W. It's not going to be a fifty percent cut, but every little bit helps.

A slimmer PS3 isn't likely until much later in the production run. The PS3's components are much bigger when compared to the PS2. They may get it down somewhat, but a dramatic size reduction is unlikely. Keep in mind that it has a PC quality graphics board, the array of ports, the media card reader and a notebook sized hard drive. In addition to having more memory chips on the board and a larger CPU. If they could have shrunk it before, they would have. The PS3 was intended, according to Katuragi, to be a future proofed system that could survive longer in the market. Companies don't make money on hardware, they make it on software. SONY is already loosing a substantial amount of money on each PS3 sold.

The current 80 GB versions as stated before do not include the Emotion Engine and GS chips. These are only useful if you are running legacy software, they can not be accessed under Linux from all current research. They won't likely be opened up to Linux, because Sony is phasing out the inclusion of them for lower cost units, as you're aware.

Sony's not going to be too ambitious with regard to enabling the 8th SPE. Current owners will be furious and the system already has five to ten times the processing power of a state of the art Intel Quad Core chip and is twice as powerful as Microsoft's XBox 360. It's got more than enough power in it already.

They are more likely to continue making incremental upgrades to the XMB interface and extend it's software functionality, such as bringing Home online. Additionally, continuing to make the PS3 a more able Multimedia PC as Microsoft is doing with their XBox.

Last edited by fobbio; 11-04-2007 at 05:56 PM.
 
Old 11-05-2007, 09:03 AM   #8
shorty_boy
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Talking thank you... again

this is why i love this forum, because of people like you. Well i think i am going to go for a 60 gb ps3 then, cause the hd is easily upgradeable and i can play my ps2 games as most of those are better than the current games for ps3.There are 5 refurbs, at one of my local game stop for about 449.

Thank you for the information guys. And as far as linux for the PS3 goes, i think that it will be a good way to get my hands wet and get more involved in the community. If you or anyone else are interested in my endeavors, just let me know and i'll keep you posted once i get a ps3.
 
Old 11-05-2007, 11:10 PM   #9
fobbio
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It's a worthy purchase for sure. The Cell Processor has a lot of potential. Good luck and keep us posted on what you're doing. There should be a PS3 development forum somewhere. And glad we could help.

Last edited by fobbio; 11-05-2007 at 11:16 PM.
 
  


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