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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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RE: Gotta Appreciate The Second Effort
By JustTom on 5/9/2008 11:36:15 AM , Rating: 3
I am really tired of hearing about the supposed "33% failure rate" because frankly there is no evidence on what the real failure rate is. Of course this is MS's fault for not releasing verifiable documented numbers but it doesn't change the fact that this number is meaningless. In case you weren't around here is the origin of that famous number.

“The real numbers were between 30 to 33 percent,” said former EB Games employee Matthieu G.,

I am sure Mathieu G. is a nice man, good to puppies and pays his taxes but at best this is an estimate of the failure rates of EB Games sold 360s, and more likely the failure rate of one particular store. Worst case scenario is it is some disgruntled ex-employee pulling numbers out of his arse.

I could cite a "Joseph W." who states at Best Buy the dailure rate was 3% and it would mean nothing. Even if Mr. W. existed, even if he was telling the truth and his number represented the actual failure rate for his store.

In closing my rant I propose we go simply with too damn effen high when discussing 360 failure rates since there are no valid statistics available.

By AlphaVirus on 5/12/2008 10:33:41 AM , Rating: 3
"Oh, people can come up with statistics to prove anything, Kent. 14% of people know that." -Homer Simpson

"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007

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