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As for SPU programming I was under the assumption assembly could be used but its not entirely required (like any code really) as i would imagine assembly would be required to push these things to their max and get every last bit of juice outta them.[/quote:27c5abbe78]
I’m not talking about the programming side – intrinsics should always be used instead of assembly as the compiler can schedule them better – but when it comes to optimization and profiling you need to be able to read assembly dumps so that you know what code is causing pipeline stalls, low dual-issue rates etc. I’d say you’re right in that many of the current PS3 titles don’t take full advantage of the SPUs, but it won’t stay that way for long.
As for needing assembly for shader development, it helps to know what the high-level compilers are generating alright, but I’ve found the Cg compiler we use to be fairly good at minimising the amount of assembly generated. Plus it can schedule ALU ops to hide texture fetches etc, which is something that a compiler is just better at doing. When it comes to shader debugging though you’ll have to know what the assembly is doing and what ops translate to what high-level code. But the number of commonly used instructions (or even the number of total instructions) is fairly small, so it doesn’t take long to learn.