The GScube is a digital entertainment creation and distribution device developed by Sony. Nicknamed "The Fridge", the GScube uses the EmotionEngine and Graphics Synthesiser processors found in the PlayStation 2, but on a much larger scale, using a parallel processing system. The prototype box that Sony displayed at SIGGRAPH 2000 featured sixteen EmotionEngine processors and another sixteen Graphical Synthesisers on top of that.
So, what is the reason for all this power? Currently, in the CGI movie industry, many hours have to be spent rendering frames and frames of complex scenes - some taking, on average, seven hours to render on even the most up-to-date SGI machines. One of the GScube's main features is to take graphical data from a host server, and render it in realtime, at close to render farm quality. To give an example, one of the demonstrations at SIGGRAPH was the real-time rendering of scenes from Antz (Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within was also shown). The GScube could render this in real-time, at a constant 60fps in progressive scan, at a resolution of 1920x1080 - twice the quality of the HDTV standard (the quality was so high that Sony had to use a specially developed monitor to display it).
As well as being a powerful tool for the development studios for the instant previewing of their work, Sony are also targeting digital cinema distribution and broadcasting. Another demo at SIGGRAPH showed how the GScube can work with an IMAX Digital Projection Lighting projector to generate real-time content for cinemas. There is the potential of using a GScube in conjunction with a broadband server (such as the SGI ORIGIN 3000) to digitally download films via a high-speed network connection.
|CPU||128bit EmotionEngine × 16 @ 249.912 MHz|
|GPU||Graphics Synthesizer 1-32 x 16 @ 147.456 MHz|
|Main Ram||2 GB (128 MB × 16) Direct RDRAM|
|Memory Bandwidth||50.3 GB / sec (3.1 GB / sec × 16)|
|Graphics Ram||512 MB (32 MB mixed load x 16)|
|Maximum Display Resolution||1,080 / 60p (1,920 × 1,080, 60 fps, progressive)|
|Audio Performance||EmotionEngine native audio = 16 Channels, 16 bits, 48KHz|
|Storage And Media||None but has Host Interface with 1024 bit for data / 32 bit parallel bus for control|
|Networking||Controlled externally by a host computer|
|Dimension||424 × 424 × 424 mm (width × depth × height)|
|Weight||Approximately 48 Kg|