The PlayStation 3’s Cell processor is indeed the most capable processor ever installed into a console. While the choice to use the CPU was very controversial at first it appears Sony gamble is paying off.
The original design of the PlayStation 3 did not include the NVIDIA graphics processor. The addition of the GPU was to make the system easier to develop for. Taking advantage of the Cell gives developers a huge advantage over the Xbox 360 since the rendering graphics using the power of the Cell in conjunction with the NVIDIA GPU can yield 2.0 trillion floating point operations per second, which is a far cry from Xbox 360’s 355 billion FLOPS.
First party Sony developers have been digging into the strange architecture with amazing results. Uncharted 2 represents a hallmark in graphical quality that wouldn’t be possible without the Cell. Recently some third party developers have been making some great headway with the GPU / Cell combo.
Pandemic’s Saboteur features a form of edge smoothing that while not new performs well on the PS3 and is absent from the Xbox 360 version (See Screenshots). Let’s hope this trend continues of third party developers using the PS3 to the best of its ability.