The news today that the PS3 chip might be having a few fabrication snags brings a bit of deja-vu. Remember how much trouble IBM had getting the Apple’s G5 fabs up to decent volume? You might also recall that Steve Jobs was forced to apologize when when IBM didn’t come through on the promise to hit 3ghz by June 2004. Here we go again?
In most cases, this bad news for Sony’s console chip would be good news for console competitors Nintendo and Microsoft. Back in 2003, though, IBM won the contracts to produce the CPUs for all three next generation consoles. So, in this strange case, Sony’s pain has the potential to translate into pain for its competitors as well. Each of them have to be checking their watches, their wallets, and hoping that they aren’t stuck with another G5. Three more botched fabs makes four.
That’s worst case, though. To be fair, the Cell is pretty damn complicated and IBM did a great job with the Gamecube chip. Let’s hope it’s this IBM we see for the next gen chips. Bizarre as it is, if their fabs go bad this time nobody wins.