The IBM Cell Broadband Engine (BE) is a novel multi-core chip with the potential for the demanding floating point performance that is required for high-fidelity scientific simulations. However, data movement within the chip can be a major challenge to realizing the benefits of the peak floating point rates. In this paper, we present the results of implementing Sweep3D on the Cell/B.E. using an intra-chip message passing model that minimizes data movement. We compare the advantages/disadvantages of this programming model with a previous implementation using a master–worker threading strategy. We apply a previously validated micro-architecture performance model for the application executing on the Cell/B.E. (based on our previous work in Monte Carlo performance models), that predicts overall CPI (cycles per instruction), and gives a detailed breakdown of processor stalls. Finally, we use the micro-architecture model to assess the performance of future design parameters for the Cell/B.E. micro-architecture. The methodologies and results have broader implications that extend to multi-core architectures.