Poor Linux Performance on PS3

When news about Linux support on PS3 was coming in a few months earlier, honestly, I was excited a little too much and started saving money for my console. A home computer running on a 9 core processor is no doubt a drooling proposition for any tech enthusiast. I even drew up a plan to use my PS3 as:

  • my main computing machine (I can happily relegate the Centrino to my Wife)
  • media center after installing mythtv on it (using a USB tuner)
  • and as a game console too.

Now that news about actual performance of Linux on PS3 has started pouring in, there is very little to cheer about.

  • The architecture is such that Linux cannot take advantage of all the cores in the system
  • The system compares in performance only to a low end G5
  • Initial reviews and comparisons do not show a better gaming experience than the XBox360.

So what next? Without second thoughts, I quickly dropped my plans for a PS3 and decided to build a media center PC over the weekend. And what a fun filled weekend it was! My Windows XP Media Center PC coupled with a Samsung 940BW wide screen has suddenly changed the TV viewing/multimedia experience at home! I have detailed post coming up later today with full details on how I built a Windows MCE PC from scratch.


8 thoughts on “Poor Linux Performance on PS3

  1. What are you going to do about High Definition content on your Media Center PC?

    I was hopping to do the same, build and MCE machine, but it seems the powers that be won’t let us watch over the air HD content.

  2. @pepe. This isnt a problem were I live. We dont have OTA HD content as of date. Here it is more of IPTV (gettiing deployed currently) and Satellite dish. So MCE is good enough for me.

  3. I took a look at the page where you were getting your statistics… as you’ll notice, they weren’t utilizing -any- of the Cell processor’s SPEs. If they had been compiling with a compiler that optimizes for the Cell processor, the results would have been much more impressive. IBM has such performance analysis on their Cell Processor website. IBM has a compiler package (look for CBE SDK, and you’ll find it) that does a very good job of utilizing the SIMD parallelization, which means that as long as you’re compiling your code instead of installing binaries, you’ll see better performance.
    Progress with linux on the PS3 is going to be gradual, but it would be a shame to have enthusiasts be turned away by a misunderstanding of the facts. The Cell processor is pretty amazing, but the PS3 has yet to be proven as a great homebrew media center (that i’ve seen).

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