Updated: March 2, 2023 at 14.37
The PS3 is a Sony video game console that was launched in 2006 and remained popular until the early 2010s. It has now been succeeded by the much more common PS4 and PS5 consoles, but many gamers still hold the PS3 close to their hearts. Today we find out what CPU corresponds to PS3.
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What CPU does the PS3 use?
The PS3 uses a unique “cell” microprocessor that is very different from the x64 PC and console processors we are familiar with today.
The cell microprocessor consists of a single powerful processing core known as the PPE (Power Processing Element). This core provides the power behind the Cell microprocessor and can achieve a maximum clock speed of up to 3.2 GHz, which is actually quite impressive by 2006 hardware standards.
The PPE is supplemented by 8 additional SPEs (Synergistic Processing Elements), which can also be considered cores, but are secondary to the PPE.
These SPEs are also clocked at a maximum frequency of 3.2 GHz. 6 of the 8 SPEs help with general treatment. The 7th is designated for system and security, while the 8th acts as a backup processor in case one of the others fails.
The Cell microprocessor was incredibly powerful for its time. The only problem is that the unique CPU architecture meant that games had to be built on very hardware-specific code to squeeze all that performance out of the processor, giving Sony more headaches than they were comfortable dealing with.
As such, they switched back to a regular x64-based processor with the PS4.
If fed code optimized to run on its unique architecture, it could theoretically provide performance identical to many modern desktop processors.
Which CPU corresponds to the PS3’s CPU
It’s difficult to compare the PS3’s Cell microprocessor to a PC processor because both are built on fundamentally different architectures. That said, one processor that shares many similarities on the spec sheet as the Cell microprocessor would be the Intel Core i3-10100.
This is a 4-core, 8-thread processor launched by Intel as a 10th generation Core i3 processor. Although it doesn’t have as many physical cores as the 8-core Cell microprocessor, it has the same number of threads, bridging any potential gap in performance.
The Core i3-10100 has a base clock speed of 3.6 GHz and a maximum clock speed of 4.3 GHz. It also has a 6MB L3 cache, something the Cell microprocessor does not have.
Again, it’s hard to compare the cell to an x64 processor pound-for-pound, but the 10100 probably wins in raw performance, given that both processors are fed optimized code.
If you’re looking for a new processor for your PC, going with the 10100 might not be your best bet. The 10100 is a decent processor, but you’ll find that its older brother, the Core i3-12100F, gives you markedly better performance for about the same entry price.
Intel Core i3-12100F
The Core i3-12100F is a 4-core, 8-thread CPU with a maximum clock speed of 4.3 GHz. On the spec sheet it is almost identical to the 10100.
Intel Core i3-12100F
However, it outperforms the 10100 across the board due to its newer architecture, compatibility with DDR5 RAM, and improved IPC. It’s also compatible with DDR4 RAM if you want to save, making it a very budget-friendly processor.
We recommend going with the “F” variant of the 12100 processor if you plan to pair it with a dedicated GPU for additional savings.