Next time I go to visit some of my friends, I will pay more attention to their little black gaming devices, called PS3. It turns out the best computer processor of our times is used in it. It is the Cell Chip developed jointly by IBM, SONY and Toshiba. According to some very scientific study comparing the Cell Chip with conventionally designed chipset, the performance for chips with comparable clock speed are improved several folds. Compared to tens of thousands dollars for the blade system by IBM that uses the Cell Chip, the $600 dollar price tag of PS3 seems to be a better option for academic research.
Of course, it is not as simple as it sounds. The reason why the Cell Chip can be faster for high performance computing is its well-designed structure. I am not equipped with the right knowledge to explain this. It is said to be an IBM PowerPC processor with eight vector processor. I can only assume this means better paralell capacity and better efficiency in dealing with high volume computation. Therefore, it takes *VERY* professional programming to take advantage of its power. Until R was programmed to take advantage of such chips, I will keep my eyes on those Core Duo Quad chips.