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IBM CELL PROCESSOR
A chip with one PPC hyper-threaded core called PPE and eight specialized cores called SPEs.The challenge to be solved by the Cell was to put all those cores together on a single chip. This was made possible by the use of a bus with outstanding performance
The Cell processor can be split into four components:
Ø external input and output structures,
Ø the main processor called the Power Processing Element (PPE)
Ø eight fully-functional co-processors called the Synergistic Processing Elements, or SPEs,
Ø a specialized high-bandwidth circular data bus connecting the PPE, input/output elements and the SPEs, called the Element Interconnect Bus or EIB.
Overview of the architecture of a Cell chip
POWERPC PROCESSOR ELEMENT:(PPE)
Ø The PowerPC Processor Element, usually denoted as PPE is a dual-threaded powerpc processor version 2.02.
Ø This 64-bit RISC processor also has the Vector/SIMD Multimedia Extension.
Ø The PPE’s role is crucial in the Cell architecture since it is on the one hand running the
OS, and on the other hand controlling all other resources, including the SPEs .
Ø The PPE is made out of two main units:
1: The Power Processor Unit
2:The Power Processor Storage Subsystem (PPSS).
PPE Block diagram
It is the processing part of the PPE and is composed of:
Ø A full set of 64-bit PowerPC registers.
Ø 32 128-bit vector multimedia registers.
Ø A 32KB L1 instruction cache.
Ø A 32KB L1 data cache.
All the common components of a ppc processors with vector/SIMD extensions (instruction control unit, load and store unit, fixed-Point integer unit, floating-point unit, vector unit, branch unit, virtual memory management unit).The PPU is hyper-threaded and supports 2 simultaneous threads.
This handles all memory requests from the PPE and requests made to the PPE by other processors or I/O devices. It is composed of:
Ø A unified 512-KB L2 instruction and data cache.
Ø Various queues
Ø A bus interface unit that handles bus arbitration and pacing on the Element Interconnect Bus
SYNERGISTIC PROCESSOR ELEMENTS:SPE
Each Cell chip has 8 Synergistic Processor Elements. They are 128-bit RISC processor which are specialized for data-rich, compute-intensive SIMD applications. This consist of two main units.
1: The Synergistic Processor Unit (SPU)
2:The Memory Flow Controller (MFC)
The Synergistic Processor Unit (SPU):
This deals with instruction control and execution. It includes various components:
Ø A register file of 128 registers of 128 bits each.
Ø A unified instruction and data 256-kB Local Store (LS).
Ø A channel-and-DMA interface.
Ø As usual, an instruction-control unit, a load and store unit, two fixed-point units, a floating point unit.
The SPU implements a set of SIMD instructions, specific to the Cell. Each SPU is independent, and has its own program counter. Instructions are fetched in its own Local Store LS. Data are also loaded and stored in the LS
The Memory Flow Controller (MFC)
It is actually the interface between the SPU and the rest of the Cell chip.MFC interfaces the SPU with the EIB. In addition to a whole set of MMIO registers, this contains a DMA controller.
Bus design and communication among the Cell
1: The Element Interconnect Bus:
This bus makes it possible to link all parts of the chip. The EIB itself is made out of a 4-ring structure (two clockwise, and two counterclockwise) that is used to transfer data, and a tree structure used to carry commands. It is actually controlled by what is called the Data Arbitrer. This structure allows 8 simultaneous transactions on the bus.
2: Input/output interfaces:
The Memory Interface Controller (MIC).:
Ø It provides an interface between the EIB and the main storage.
Ø It currently supports two Rambus Extreme Data Rate (XDR) I/O (XIO) memory channels.
The Cell Broadband Engine Interface (BEI):
Ø This is the interface between the Cell and I/O devices,such as GPUs and various bridges.
Ø It supports two Rambus FlexIO external I/O channels.
Ø One of this channel only supports non-coherent transfers. The other supports either coherent or noncoherenT.
Key Attributes of Cell
Ø Cell is Multi-Core
Ø Cell is a Flexible Architecture
Ø Cell is a Broadband Architecture
Ø Cell is a Real-Time Architecture
Ø Cell is a Security Enabled Architecture
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