In the Play Station 3, one SPE is locked-out during the test process, a practice which helps to improve manufacturing yields, and another one is reserved for the OS, leaving 6 free SPEs to be used by games' code.The relationship between cores and threads is a common source of confusion.An early patent version of the Broadband Engine was shown to be a chip package comprising four "Processing Elements", which was the patent's description for what is now known as the Power Processing Element (PPE).
A DMA operation can transfer either a single block area of size up to 16KB, or a list of 2 to 2048 such blocks.
One of the major design decisions in the architecture of Cell is the use of DMAs as a central means of intra-chip data transfer, with a view to enabling maximal asynchrony and concurrency in data processing inside a chip.
Over 400 engineers from the three companies worked together in Austin, with critical support from eleven of IBM's design centers.
During this period, IBM filed many patents pertaining to the Cell architecture, manufacturing process, and software environment.
This chip package was widely regarded to run at a clock speed of 4 GHz and with 32 APUs providing 32 giga FLOPS each(FP8 quarter precision), the Broadband Engine was shown to have 1 tera FLOPS of raw computing power.
This design was fabricated using a 90 nm SOI process.
Mercury Computer Systems has a dual Cell server, a dual Cell blade configuration, a rugged computer, and a PCI Express accelerator board available in different stages of production.
Toshiba had announced plans to incorporate Cell in high definition television sets, but seems to have abandoned the idea.
On June 28, 2005, IBM and Mercury Computer Systems announced a partnership agreement to build Cell-based computer systems for embedded applications such as medical imaging, industrial inspection, aerospace and defense, seismic processing, and telecommunications.