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"Yippee-ki-yay, Mr. Falcon." Microsoft prepares 65nm chips for Xbox 360

When it comes to Microsoft's Xbox 360, Dean Takahashi always seems to have the inside scoop. He was the first to spill the beans on Xbox 360 IPTV and provided confirmation on the existence of the Xbox 360 Elite.

Today, Takahashi confirmed that Microsoft's upcoming 65nm die shrink for the Xbox 360's microprocessor and GPU is codenamed "Falcon." Takahashi reports that Microsoft is currently qualifying the new Falcon chips along with a redesigned motherboard. The 65nm-equipped Xbox 360s are due to hit store shelves this fall.

The new chips are not only smaller and roughly 50 percent cheaper to produce than their 90nm counterpart, but they are also cooler. Cooler-running chips coupled with a revised cooling solution would go a long way to eradicating the Xbox 360’s fatal flaw: the Red Ring of Death (RROD).

Heat has been a big problem with the Xbox 360 and has been the root cause of RROD cases around the globe. Microsoft has countered the RROD failures by increasing the warranty of the console, adding various "warranty enhancements" and beefed up cooling solutions on new production Xbox 360 units.

Microsoft ultimately caved in to mounting pressure from the Xbox 360 community on RROD failures and announced a $1 billion initiative to service Xbox 360s afflicted with the problem and extended warranty coverage for those machines to three years.

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RE: Price cut?
By Mithan on 7/9/2007 2:49:26 PM , Rating: 2
I am pretty sure that original Xbox hardware never got an update, except for a few minor changes. MS didn't own any of the IP for the components and couldn't lower costs as they can with the 360, due to using off the shelf products.

RE: Price cut?
By Slaimus on 7/9/2007 3:11:40 PM , Rating: 2
They did shrink the CPU from a Coppermine to a Tualatin, IIRC.

RE: Price cut?
By AstroCreep on 7/9/2007 5:31:23 PM , Rating: 2
There was also the thing about the GPU costing less to produce, but nVidia and MS didn't have any kind of stipulation in their contract(s) to revise pricing after die shrinks for the GPU, and a nasty battle ensued.
That's why MS is using ATI for the CPU this time around, and why MS is actually producing all of the hardware themselves and merely licensed the hardware from ATI, IBM, etc.

RE: Price cut?
By MGSsancho on 7/10/07, Rating: -1
RE: Price cut?
By fenderkb76 on 7/9/2007 6:47:26 PM , Rating: 3
There were actually quite a few changes. I think there were at least 3 or 4 different DVD drives and the motherboard had versions up to 1.7 I believe, although one of those revisions wasn't actually ever produced. The power supply changed as well. Version 1.0 had a plug that wasn't close to ATX, the pins were all on one row. Later versions were basically ATX plugs with pins moved around. There was also standby and reverse voltage on one of the pins. The branding and size of the hard drive also varied between 8 and 10 GB. I think they also changed the video output chip (not the GPU). They changed the heatsink design. I think the CPU always had a passive heatsink, but the GPU started out with a crappy heatsink and fan and ended with a better passive heatsink. There was actually quite a bit of hardware revision with the majority of it being made to stay one step ahead of the modchip community. However, all the of the modchips kept making designs to defeat the changes on the mobo. If you look at an original Xbox mobo, there are also blank spots where more memory could be added. I think they decided last minute to use 64 MB instead of 128 MB. You can have people add 64 MB in those spaces, but it's only good for Linux as no games would even know it existed.

RE: Price cut?
By FITCamaro on 7/10/2007 6:55:47 AM , Rating: 2
Thats not true. I have 128MB of RAM on my Xbox and I've noticed better performance from Halo than before I had it. It also helps with streaming video to my TV through XMC.

RE: Price cut?
By fenderkb76 on 7/10/2007 6:15:26 PM , Rating: 2
I can understand the improvement in XBMC since it's third party, but that's surprising that Halo plays better. I hope you didn't pay too much for that mod. Did you get the mod with the 1.4 MHz celeron too?

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