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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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Too optimistic
By jeromekwok on 5/9/2008 2:15:32 AM , Rating: 0
Microsoft should have made XBox 360 from already available components just like the original XBox design. Throw in a Pentium M and Radeon 9700 to make a console. Fully compatible with original XBox games as well as Linux. It is also cheaper to make and maintain.

RE: Too optimistic
By SiN on 5/9/2008 3:06:44 AM , Rating: 3
What, so you mean to say buy the parts from a brand manufacturer and at full price that isn't price copetative with subcontracting out your own co-developed silicon?

Isn't that the reason the original didn't come down in price much. And the reason it was so able to accomodate homebrew, which these console manufacturers dont want.

RE: Too optimistic
By FITCamaro on 5/9/2008 10:44:30 AM , Rating: 2
The original Xbox dropped in price far faster than the PS2 did.

RE: Too optimistic
By yacoub on 5/9/2008 8:20:38 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, oh my what a powerful, state-of-the-art system that would be @__@

RE: Too optimistic
By FITCamaro on 5/9/2008 9:13:54 AM , Rating: 2
They largely did. The CPU in the 360 was an available design that IBM had available. The GPU is just an adaptation of the X1900 series. Add 512MB RAM, DVD drive, and 2.5" 5400 rpm hard drive.

As far as compatibility, they'd have had to use an Nvidia GPU and another x86 CPU. They would've needed an X2 (P4 would have been too hot) which would have been too expensive. And the 360's ATI GPU is far better than the PS3's Nvidia GPU.

RE: Too optimistic
By Draco on 5/9/08, Rating: -1
"If you can find a PS3 anywhere in North America that's been on shelves for more than five minutes, I'll give you 1,200 bucks for it." -- SCEA President Jack Tretton

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