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Print 104 comment(s) - last by robinthakur.. on May 15 at 5:30 AM

Microsoft preps 65nm GPU for cooler Xbox 360s

Chip process evolution is a usual thing in a console’s lifecycle, but rarely has it been as important as in the case of the Xbox 360.

Known for its relatively hardware fragility, the original design of the Xbox 360 would frequently fall to the “Red Ring of Death” failure, which Microsoft terms as the three flashing red lights. While improvements in cooling and a CPU die shrink to 65nm in the Falcon revision have surely improved the situation, the problematic GPU still sits with its 90nm process.

The 65nm drop for the GPU in the Xbox 360 revision codenamed Jasper isn’t expected until August, a time frame backed up by a report from CENS. Microsoft has contracted Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), Advanced Semiconductor Engineering Inc. (ASE) and Nanya PCB Corp. to build the chips that will ship with the Jasper consoles later this summer.

TSMC will produce the 65nm chips, ASE will package and test them, and Nanya will supply the flip-chip packaging substrates. Microsoft has supposedly booked a production capacity at TSMC estimated to be at around 10,000 300mm wafers.

Inventory of the existing Falcon chips are reportedly depleted, paving the way for the transition to Jasper. The next step for the Xbox 360 console is dubbed “Valhalla,” which will integrate both the GPU and CPU in a single package as a cost-cutting measure, isn’t expected until a year after Jasper.



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RE: Gotta Appreciate The Second Effort
By powerofpi on 5/9/2008 12:49:08 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
so, nothing they could have done to have it at launch other than delay the launch.


I'm sorry, I'm gonna have to disagree with you there. MS could have gone with a less hot and power hungry gpu design that was more realistic for their 90nm process. They made a choice, and up until August they will have to feel the ramifications of it.


RE: Gotta Appreciate The Second Effort
By SiN on 5/9/2008 3:43:35 AM , Rating: 5
I thought the RROD problems are more to do with ROHS and ignorance on MS part. Part of what your saying, but not the whole story. The other part would be bad cooling design.

I still can't beleive that hardware engineers would have overlooked the heat threshold of the new solder material. Bit of a joke, but that was the RROD for you.

I went through 4 Xbox's. I think.


RE: Gotta Appreciate The Second Effort
By yacoub on 5/9/08, Rating: 0
RE: Gotta Appreciate The Second Effort
By SiN on 5/9/2008 8:57:38 AM , Rating: 5
Either your sarcastic or you didn't read my post correctly. GPU + CPU heat was to be expected. The cooling design was flawed.


RE: Gotta Appreciate The Second Effort
By OrSin on 5/9/08, Rating: -1
RE: Gotta Appreciate The Second Effort
By robinthakur on 5/9/2008 10:37:50 AM , Rating: 5
I'm not sure how much you can blame Microsoft for this, as the design is farmed out to sub-contractors who then design the cooling system board layouts etc like Asus or TMSC. The PS3 cooling design, for example was not, developed by Sony in house. However, If I were considering putting my company's name on a product I'd make damn sure it wasn't basically flawed because that's just PR suicide. Don't be surprised when next generation early Xboxes sell worse on launch day because people aren't going to forget this experience...

I would imagine the majority of input MS had was from the specs perspective and designing the outer shell of the console plus other key requirements like cost, architecture and of course building the OS.

Ms is not stupid enough to *set out* to design a console that will fail due to heat, but in being overly aggressive in terms of the specs which they wanted from lower yield chips and the need to run more voltage through them to compensate for this they are ultimately responsible for the way in which this turned out. Failure specs are well known (or should be) well before a product gets put on sale to the consumer. Their handling of the situation (still) does not say to me "We've radically altered the design to fix the cause of the problem." It says "Our product will likely fail due to defective manufacturing/design, when it does fail, if its within 3 years, we will pay to send you out another previously defective console which we fixed!" Why don't they just recall the early models? Because it would again be pr suicide.

Corners were cut and we're left with a situation now where people's faith in MS to design a reliable console is severely dented to this day.


RE: Gotta Appreciate The Second Effort
By Locutus465 on 5/9/2008 10:44:06 AM , Rating: 1
I'm not sure what to think about this... I can't say your point is invalid, it is entirly valid. However the 360 has maintained (and still does) an advantage on gaming content. Additionally it's extreamly clear that 360 owners buy games and play them, more so than PS3 or Wii owners. So at the end of the day I could see the end user experience (while the console is functioning) winning out. Plus there's the fact that microsoft isn't a stupid company, I think we can all feel assured that microsoft won't be one to repeat a mistake.


RE: Gotta Appreciate The Second Effort
By BladeVenom on 5/9/2008 11:07:18 AM , Rating: 2
360 owners buy 4.7 games per year, while PS3 owners buy 4.6 games per year. Hardly a difference worth mentioning. The only advantage the 360 has is it has been out a year longer.


RE: Gotta Appreciate The Second Effort
By Reclaimer77 on 5/9/08, Rating: 0
RE: Gotta Appreciate The Second Effort
By Aloonatic on 5/9/2008 12:10:07 PM , Rating: 2
That's the sort of post that you I just love DT for and always brings a smile to my face.

A years head start always helps with sales numbers of course, and people having to buy another machine because their old one has died doesn't seem to have done the figures any harm either. (yes, not ever RROD xBox360 was replaced under warranty)

I must admit that the games sales rate does seem a little high when you consider the attachment rates, but again you will notice that they stated per year

There are plenty of games out there to buy if you want to for both consoles (and that other one from Nintendo) and you have the funds.

One last thing, PS3 has (apparently) taken over the xBox in europe, which you could argue is the only even playing field in the "console wars"

No jingoistic purchasing patterns as found in the US and Japan with teh xBox and PS3 respectively.

In Japan the PS3 is kicking the xBox's virtual ass I believe?

I don't really care however, I have all 3 of the latest consoles so it matter's little to me :p

I sleep like a log =D


By omnicronx on 5/9/2008 1:27:59 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
In Japan the PS3 is kicking the xBox's virtual ass I believe?
In Japan the Wii is kicking the PS3's and the 360's butt.. They have only sold 2 million PS3s in Japan, considering the success of the PS2, and that Sony is a Japanese company, I would consider that territory a total flop for sony.


RE: Gotta Appreciate The Second Effort
By murphyslabrat on 5/9/2008 12:20:28 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
MS is not stupid enough to design a console that would fail.

quote:
I bet that really gets to you people apparently.


I am glad to see the MS fanboys are here in strength, but the PS3 fanboys are taking their sweet time.


RE: Gotta Appreciate The Second Effort
By Reclaimer77 on 5/9/2008 12:32:28 PM , Rating: 1
Actually I don't even own a 360. I'm just tired of the PS3 kiddies spewing all kinds of crap ( 33% failure rate ) and jumping at every opportunity to slam MS and the 360 with their own inflated sense of consumer pride or whatever is driving them.

I think its just overcompensation when someone can't just be happy with what they have and feel a need to ruin something for everyone else.

I mean really, look at who gets downrated into oblivion on these threads. If all the MS fanbois are here in strength, why does every rational pro 360 person have a 1 or 0 ?

And those poor Wii guys. I love how the PS3 crowd on DT flames them into the pits of hell for daring to buy a cheap little fun console and having the audacity to talk about it. The idea that someone could enjoy a console not built around Blu-Ray is apparently revolting to some 'gamers'.

I can understand, not condone, Ms haters. But I think its kind of hypocritical to be an MS hater while singing the praises of a Sony product. To use a laymans term, Sony is every bit the 'douchebag' that MS is.


RE: Gotta Appreciate The Second Effort
By Locutus465 on 5/9/2008 1:22:55 PM , Rating: 3
Excellent post... Really there are fanboi's on both sides of the high def console "war" (nintendo thus far seems to not suffer this problem) and they're all irritating.


By murphyslabrat on 5/12/2008 10:07:54 AM , Rating: 2
No, it's just that the Wii Fanboys are too busy actually playing their games.


By robinthakur on 5/15/2008 5:30:33 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not a fanboi, I own all three consoles. I have the 360 sitting next to the PS3 and can give an accurate account of my experience of both. Why so defensive of MS and the 360 Reclaimer77? You've shown such overwhelming confidence in the product that you don't even own one? As such I think you're the biggest hypocrite on this site. When I state that I find the console unreliable and loud it is based on fact, it is not a made up percentage. The stats absolutely don't matter if you've paid a not inconsiderable amount for a console that 33% (roughly) of the time does not work as it should. MS refuses to fix it under warranty, and i'm unlikely to purchase a second one. MS fanbois are just as annoying as PS3 fanbois its just that there aren't as many PS3 fanbois since the launch flopped so badly that it was obvious even to them. Its just that MS fanbois include alot of the demographic which used to buy PC games and are generally mouthy teens from the US. The actual failure figures are only anecdotally known because MS refused to release or confirm them. For them to have taken the drastic action they took re the warranty and also for Bill to mention it, it was a serious problem.


By BladeVenom on 5/9/2008 2:10:47 PM , Rating: 2
You're the one taking it personally. I don't even own a PS3.


By deeznuts on 5/9/2008 3:45:52 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Heat issues. Reliability issues. No current Blu-Ray support, and its still kicking the PS3's ass. I bet that really gets to you people apparently.

News flash, it isn't early 2007 anymore. 360's 8-10 million lead is shrinking, fast. It is doing anything, but kicking the PS3's ass.

360 shot it's load last year with good games, Bio, Halo, Mass effect. But that did nothing for console sales. PS3 has already overtaken 360 in europe, after only being released about one year, compared to 2 years and 5 months for the 360.


By RubberJohnny on 5/12/2008 11:26:51 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I can barely think of 4.6 games total worth playing for the ps3
Fanboi alert!

quote:
and its still kicking the PS3's ass

Maybe in the US, what about the rest of the world...we'll have to wait and see who 'comes second' this generation ;) I own a 360 and have considered trading it in on a ps3 many times simply out of frustration with poor quality hardware - mostly the fan and drive noise.


RE: Gotta Appreciate The Second Effort
By Locutus465 on 5/9/2008 1:26:09 PM , Rating: 2
Not trying to knock the PS3, I think it's a great console... But much like with bluray v. HD DVD, the 360 consistantly outsells the PS3 on every multiplatform game available... At some point your "1 year advantage" argument is going to wear out, personally I think it already has. The PS3 should have taken off, but in reality it's only just starting to look like it's trying to compete. I'm curiose to see what the official sales #'s for GTA4 are... Despite not being that into the game if MS has their claimed 2:1 sales advantage I think that says one whole hell of a lot about the current state of the console wars.


RE: Gotta Appreciate The Second Effort
By omnicronx on 5/9/2008 1:32:52 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I'm curiose to see what the official sales #'s for GTA4 are... Despite not being that into the game if MS has their claimed 2:1 sales advantage I think that says one whole hell of a lot about the current state of the console wars.
Went to go buy the 360 version yesterday, Sold out.. plenty of PS3 versions of the shelf though..

I was actually going to buy the PS3 version, as it was originally thought that because they are compressing the textures on the 360, that the ps3 version would look better. All the reviews seem to think that they look almost identical, so I changed my mind in favor of the extra content and the fact that online play seems to be better on the 360.(in my opinion)


By Locutus465 on 5/9/2008 1:56:51 PM , Rating: 2
I did rent the 360 version and I have to say that it is indeed one good looking game. Not quite a halo 3 or gears of war but very good looking none the less. I may eventually buy it, but it might be a while. Frankely GTA4 lost out to Mario Kart Wii in my home.


RE: Gotta Appreciate The Second Effort
By Reclaimer77 on 5/9/2008 1:57:13 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I was actually going to buy the PS3 version, as it was originally thought that because they are compressing the textures on the 360, that the ps3 version would look better. All the reviews seem to think that they look almost identical, so I changed my mind in favor of the extra content and the fact that online play seems to be better on the 360.(in my opinion)


Exactly another misconception by the PS3 crowd that gets under my skin. The idea that because it has more graphical power than the 360 and has Blu-Ray, it automatically translates into a better experience for the end user. This is simply not the case. Games are not just going to magically " look better " on the PS3 over the 360 because of hardware.


By Locutus465 on 5/9/2008 2:13:37 PM , Rating: 2
Perhaps I'm wrong or my info is out of date but I thought it was generally accepted that the 360 has a better GPU bet less over all CPU power... Wouldn't things pretty much even out? Sort of like ME-109 v. spitfire?


RE: Gotta Appreciate The Second Effort
By omnicronx on 5/9/2008 2:44:22 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Exactly another misconception by the PS3 crowd that gets under my skin. The idea that because it has more graphical power than the 360 and has Blu-Ray, it automatically translates into a better experience for the end user. This is simply not the case. Games are not just going to magically " look better " on the PS3 over the 360 because of hardware.
Do some research, in order to fit the entire game on a DVD-9 rockstar had to compress the textures. This process was not needed on the PS3 because of the extra space BD provides. In theory uncompressed textures should look better, but it seems rockstar did a very good job, and as it turns out, the difference is negligeable. Hats off to rockstar on this, this only shows that DVD9 still has some life it it.

quote:
This is simply not the case. Games are not just going to magically " look better " on the PS3 over the 360 because of hardware.
Sure it does, but Microsoft got the 360 into the market first, thus it now has a larger userbase and more people to buy games. When talking about cross platform games this is a very important variable. I have always found that a crossplatform game is limited by the weakest console, especially when the weaker console has a larger userbase. Just consider the PS2, devs would make games for it then port the it to the Xbox because it had a much larger userbase. Although less and less games are being directly ported, the full potential of the PS3 has yet to be reached.

I personally think that MS's decision automatically add 4x AA to any game regardless of how the dev programs it has given it a major advantage. Half the PS3 games I own have terrible jagged edges as though it was directly ported from the 360 version.. Live08 comes to mind as a terrible culprit.


RE: Gotta Appreciate The Second Effort
By Reclaimer77 on 5/9/2008 3:57:01 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Hats off to rockstar on this, this only shows that DVD9 still has some life it it.


DVD9 is the dominant format in all console and PC gaming. Yeah, I should say it has " life left " in it. This might shock you but Blu-Ray isn't taking the world by storm.

quote:
Sure it does, but Microsoft got the 360 into the market first, thus it now has a larger userbase and more people to buy games.


Huh ? You just admitted GTA4 doesn't look better on the PS3. Again, stop with the " 360 was first " crutch argument.


By robinthakur on 5/12/2008 5:44:17 PM , Rating: 2
Its inevitable that higher capacity formats will start to take a foothold in the market. If you doubt this, look at history. Or do you think the next Xbox will come with a dvd9 drive still? ITs just more likely to be a data limitation which drives the format adoption and not hi-def video as was thought.

GTA4 doesn't look significantly better on PS3 than 360, I know because I bought both versions. The point he was making, which flew clear over your tiny head, was that Rockstar had to work around the limitations of the 360 by decompressing the textures on the fly (hence the odd bit of pop-in visible) The fact that the 360 launched a year and a bit earlier than the PS3 IS indisputable. However, it didn't stop Nintendo from cruising past the 360 sales wise or am I not allowed to mention that, as your brain clearly runs on Vista? Yes Nintendo is the world leader. They sold more consoles. They won this round. The 360 lost. Keep on whining about attach rates and try not to imagine the money bleeding out of Redmond straight into Nintendo's treasure chest.

Sony's arrogance might well be its undoing, but to be fair both MS and Sony have made slip-ups this time around. MS the defective hardware and a not very diverse range of titles and Sony for launching an expensive product too late and too many SKU's.

I've noticed a trend in your posts which is to slam people that criticise MS, slam people from Europe and generally just be spoiling for a reaction. Maybe get some anger management and get off your knees once in a while.


By Fusible on 5/9/2008 3:45:08 PM , Rating: 2
Your dead wrong, the attach rate for 360 is 8.8 per year and PS3 thus far is 5.1 up to this point. Sure that will change, but so will 360's.


By masher2 (blog) on 5/9/2008 10:50:14 AM , Rating: 5
> "I'm not sure how much you can blame Microsoft for this, as the design is farmed out to sub-contractors who then design the cooling system "

I don't believe your point follows. Microsoft farmed the work out, but the ultimate responsibility still lies with them. They choose the contractors, and its their responsibility to ensure the work product is up to snuff.

However, having said that-- I think Microsoft has bent over backwards to rectify the situation. A free three-year warranty to every buyer is a powerful inducement, and virtually unprecedented in the industry.


RE: Gotta Appreciate The Second Effort
By mmntech on 5/9/2008 10:43:15 AM , Rating: 2
The design was flawed since the 360's cooling system was inadequate for it. Two tiny heatsinks and a pair of 60mm fans wasn't enough. That's why they redesigned it after Falcon came out. The PowerPC 90nm processors run very hot. Look at the cooling system they had in the PowerMac G5 and that was only for two cores.

Anyway, it's good to see the Jasper cores finally coming out, even if it is better late than never. This should solve the cooling issues and prevent a lot of RRODs.


By Locutus465 on 5/9/2008 11:13:48 AM , Rating: 2
PowerPC cooling issues have already been fixed, falcon only deals with the GPU. Changes made to Falcon really did help out quite a bit, my 360 is very quiet and doesn't seem to get terribly hot as far as I can tell. I've also left the sucker on all day downloading video store content with no issue.

Though my 360 also sit's out in the open. Milage may very here (and as hotly debated as the noise/heat issues my guess is it does very greatly)


By afkrotch on 5/9/2008 1:15:01 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The design was not flawed. The manufacturing was. MS is not stupid enough to design a console that would fail. The problem is MS has almost no hardware experience. They just have no clue how to over see the manufacturing process. The design was good the implementation when mass produced failed.


MS was sure stupid enough to allow the Xbox 360 to go through QC and hit mass manufacturing.

I think they simply ignored the flaws just to push their product out first. So consumers received dvd-roms that were noisy or scratched discs. That or a hot product that killed itself.

If MS were to have gone back to fix the many issues plaguing their system, it would have released around the time of the PS3's release. It'd probably also be larger to fit a bigger heatsink design.

MS sure didn't have a problem with the original Xbox's hardware. They just had a problem selling them.


By SiliconAddict on 5/12/2008 7:30:39 PM , Rating: 2
Umm what are you talking about? MS designed the 360 in house. Its been documented, I think on DailyTech even, that MS cut corners on the development of the 360 by rushing it to market to beat the PS3 and by the lack of staffing. Hell its been suggested that MS KNEW about the heat issues at the time of launch but did nothing. Google it. All of this is out there.


By Fusible on 5/9/2008 3:39:29 PM , Rating: 2
Actually when a fabricator is producing 90nm chips they can't just stop and start producing 65nm. All their equipment for upgrading to 65nm has to be upgraded itself. Once the amount of chips they were hired to make for them is up. Then it upgrades it's equipment for the next phase. It just doesn't work that way.


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