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The current era of SIMD processors grew out of the desktop-computer market rather than the supercomputer market.As desktop processors became powerful enough to support real-time gaming and audio/video processing during the 1990s, demand grew for this particular type of computing power, and microprocessor vendors turned to SIMD to meet the demand.Another advantage is that the instruction operates on all loaded data in a single operation.

Sun Microsystems introduced SIMD integer instructions in its "VIS" instruction set extensions in 1995, in its Ultra SPARC I microprocessor. The first widely deployed desktop SIMD was with Intel's MMX extensions to the x86 architecture in 1996.

This sparked the introduction of the much more powerful Alti Vec system in the Motorola Power PC's and IBM's POWER systems.

SIMD instructions can be found, to one degree or another, on most CPUs, including the IBM's Alti Vec and SPE for Power PC, HP's PA-RISC Multimedia Acceleration e Xtensions (MAX), Intel's MMX and iw MMXt, SSE, SSE2, SSE3 SSSE3 and SSE4.x, AMD's 3DNow!

, ARC's ARC Video subsystem, SPARC's VIS and VIS2, Sun's MAJC, ARM's NEON technology, MIPS' MDMX (Ma DMa X) and MIPS-3D.

This parallelism is separate from the parallelism provided by a superscalar processor; the eight values are processed in parallel even on a non-superscalar processor, and a superscalar processor may be able to perform multiple SIMD operations in parallel.