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"Zephyr" motherboard with added heatsink  (Source: wonderkins on NeoGAF)

The same 90nm Xenon CPU  (Source: wonderkins on NeoGAF)
New HDMI Xbox 360s are still Zephyr, not Falcon

When it was discovered that standard Xbox 360 Premium packages were coming equipped with HDMI output, the first question on many gamers’ minds is if this new box was indeed the quiet introduction to the much awaited and anticipated shrink to 65nm chips.

One brave soul on hardcore gaming forum NeoGAF decided to help answer that question for everyone and cracked open his new console for educational purposes. It appears those waiting for the 65nm die shrink will have to wait some time longer, as examination of the innards of the Premium box with HDMI reveals the identical “Zephyr” motherboard layout as originally discovered in the Xbox 360 Elite console.

The main differences between the previous Xbox 360 motherboard and the new “Zephyr” are mainly in power supply. As detailed in an earlier article with regards to a dissection of the Xbox 360 Elite, the new motherboard makes use of smaller capacitors arranged in slightly different arrangements. Microsoft has also reduced the amount of MOSFETs installed in the power supply section of the PCB. There are also fewer resistors located above the CPU as well. However, despite the power changes, the die size remains the same as with the HDMI-less Xbox 360.

One notable addition to the new Xbox 360 Premium console is the inclusion of added cooling measures not found in previous iterations of the console. A new heatsink with a heatpipe that leads to a secondary “daughter” heatsink helps to further cool the GPU.

For gamers waiting for an even cooler running box, the next step will have to wait until the arrival of “Falcon,” – the codename for the 65nm Xbox 360 GPU and CPU. Microsoft has not officially confirmed the production of its new, smaller, cooler chips, but industry experts are expecting “Falcon” to land sometime this fall.

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Makes Sense
By Warder45 on 8/15/2007 9:04:05 AM , Rating: 2
Supposably you have new 65nm chips showing up in 360 elites manufactured in July, so what does MS do with all the extra 90nm chips and MB's from the elites? Slap them in the premiums. But by doing this you add HDMI to the premiums, which is why we are seeing HDMI premiums enter the retail channels.

RE: Makes Sense
By Eurasianman on 8/15/2007 9:12:36 AM , Rating: 4
Supposably you have new 65nm chips showing up in 360 elites manufactured in July


RE: Makes Sense
By omnicronx on 8/15/2007 9:57:15 AM , Rating: 2
he maybe wrong about the july 65 nm thing, but i think hes right otherwise. MS needs to get rid of the remaining elite motherboards probably to move to 65nm, and the best way to do this is put it in the premium. Should increase sales a tiny bit too.

RE: Makes Sense
By Warder45 on 8/15/2007 10:10:58 AM , Rating: 5
RE: Makes Sense
By omnicronx on 8/15/2007 10:51:07 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, but just the Elites. The old stock of Premium and Core consoles have to sell out before we begin to see the new "Falcon" based consoles. The Elite is no different, expect that it is in high demand, unlike the other consoles. I would say you should start to see July manufactured Elites in stores sometime between mid-August and September. As you can see, MS did this just in time for the Halo 3 launch.
it is a forum, but interesting... nobody has taken apart a new elite(and posted about it heh), so it can not be ruled out.

RE: Makes Sense
By R Nilla on 8/15/2007 11:07:20 AM , Rating: 4
I don't understand why people quote forum posts as truth. This is the third place I've seen this thread referenced. The poster may very well be right, but until there is official word or confirmation it's all just speculation.

Gotta love the internet and it's ability to spread misinformation to the masses in a matter of seconds.

RE: Makes Sense
By omnicronx on 8/15/2007 11:24:05 AM , Rating: 3
and thats why the OP used the word 'Supposably' (supposedly should have been said) very carefully. Obviously forum information is not 100% correct, but there could be some truth to it, as i have not seen any articles of people dissecting their brand new Elite's

RE: Makes Sense
By Warder45 on 8/15/2007 12:06:02 PM , Rating: 2
Ah grammar, how I wish I had known thee better.

Anyways, omnicronx is right. Always take a forum post with a grain of salt, but it fits the with what we are seeing.

RE: Makes Sense
By deeznuts on 8/15/2007 12:59:46 PM , Rating: 1
What's funny is this article is based on ... a forum post. Lol.

Sometimes forum posts can be very very informative. Just have to wade through all the bullsheeyat. Inside sources love to post on forums because of the anonymity.

RE: Makes Sense
By deeznuts on 8/15/2007 12:59:48 PM , Rating: 1
What's funny is this article is based on ... a forum post. Lol.

Sometimes forum posts can be very very informative. Just have to wade through all the bullsheeyat. Inside sources love to post on forums because of the anonymity.

Not Great But Good
By JasonMick on 8/15/2007 9:04:44 AM , Rating: 2
Hey, they didn't bump it up to 65 nm, but they did improve cooling, so I suppose that is pretty decent! The price for the HDMI version is still a little steep, but its nice to see that they are looking to make improvements, albeit relatively minor ones.

While I say kudos to their effort, it should be interesting to see if it actually leads to less overheating/rings of death. It seems to me that their current board design must not be capable of handling the amount of heat their components generate, so I am not sure if just slapping on some more cooling will fix this, as cooling has decreasing returns generally.

I also think that Microsoft would be wise to put HD DVD directly in their system if possible. I think that many consumers, particularly parents, would just not go for buying a 100+ dollar peripheral for the system, considering the system's cost alone. I know the sales for the units have been a modest success, but if Microsoft strongly wants HD DVD to win, they should put the unit inside the system once the cost goes down, so ALL the installed base of new units has one. Not taking sides in the format war, just suggesting smart business tactics.

I do love my Wii and love how few problems the units have, but I might look to pick up a PS3 and XBOX360 when they fall in price...if I am not broke from college expenses that is!

RE: Not Great But Good
By omnicronx on 8/15/2007 9:10:47 AM , Rating: 1
what if BD wins the next gen player war, then all those HD-DVD drives become useless.

RE: Not Great But Good
By mdogs444 on 8/15/2007 9:22:19 AM , Rating: 5
Lets not start this pointless conversation again. Same if BD goes under, than all those standalones become useless.

Who cares. Right now, neither is going anywhere, and by the time one of them does, standalones will be so cheap that it won't matter if you have to buy another $100 DVD player.

RE: Not Great But Good
By omnicronx on 8/15/2007 9:35:12 AM , Rating: 3
I am not trying to get something going, i am just giving you the reason i think M.S is not putting HD-DVD drives in their consoles. They did not want to add 100$ to production costs just to please a few people. I for one cheer for HD-DVD but i think MS made the right choice here, let sony make the gamble.

RE: Not Great But Good
By mdogs444 on 8/15/2007 9:41:18 AM , Rating: 2
I dont think it would make the production costs $100 higher. In fact, the production cost for the HD-DVD drive is probably less than $75 (if that much). So they take away the $20 cost for the DVD drive, add in the HD drive, and your looking at maybe a $50 premium. Just my $0.02. But MS is trying to make the console cheap as possible to get it in everyones hands, then once its out there, the accessories will take off themselves, including the HD drive which can be had for less than any standalone drive out there.

RE: Not Great But Good
By omnicronx on 8/15/2007 9:51:09 AM , Rating: 2
very true, i never thought about the existing DVD drive cost.
I personally like the HD-DVD addon, neither my TV nor projector has HDMI, and i can not think of another High Def player offhand that will play at full resolution over component. Although TrueHD,LPCM7.1 capabilities are crippled, DTS works just fine for me.

RE: Not Great But Good
By afkrotch on 8/15/07, Rating: -1
RE: Not Great But Good
By omnicronx on 8/15/2007 1:20:40 PM , Rating: 3
HDCP is only over HDMI/DVI and is already 'implemented', do you mean AACS/ICT. High def player makers are not suppose to allow the transfer over component, but there is nothing in HDCP blocking it, its within the AACS encryption where the ICT fullrez flag is located, and no movie company plans on turning it on any time soon. Also if MS allows it, and decrypts the data within the 360, there will be no problem. People decrypt the hdcp signal all the time when using their 360 addon on their PC, it can be done, and if anyone can to do it, its MS

RE: Not Great But Good
By Rampage on 8/15/2007 1:25:01 PM , Rating: 3
You won't see that though, for a very long time. If ever.
They would have to win the format war before they even contemplated such a move. And win it undeniably huge.

Probably won't ever happen. But if it does, a standalone HD-DVD player will cost $100 by that time.
Not much to worry about.

it is clear
By Quiksel on 8/15/2007 8:58:09 AM , Rating: 3
Microsoft must be having a helluva time trying to get Falcon from StarFox to 'jump ship' from the Nintendo camp. I mean, he's been on their team for YEARS, so I know that MS has their work cut out for themselves. Good luck trying to "land that bird."



RE: it is clear
By helios220 on 8/15/2007 9:05:15 AM , Rating: 3
Do a barrel roll!

RE: it is clear
By sviola on 8/15/2007 9:34:17 AM , Rating: 2
This is why some people should not be allowed to get out of bed without taking their medicine.

RE: it is clear
By IceTron on 8/15/07, Rating: -1
RE: it is clear
By mxzrider2 on 8/15/2007 10:57:20 PM , Rating: 2
go look up falcon punch on urban dictionary. and you didn't hear it from me, but it is funny.

By therealnickdanger on 8/15/2007 9:07:06 AM , Rating: 1
It's funny how rumors get started and how much FUD seeps into everyday life. I can almost guarantee it's reached a point that any Gamestop or Best Buy you walk into, the salesman will tell you some combination of mistruths regarding die size, overheating, RROD, HDMI, "Condor", and heat sinks.

MS kinda brought it upon themselves with the RROD fiasco, but I would laugh pretty hard if all these people waiting for "Falcon" started getting BROD (blue ring of death) or something. People look to it as the Second Coming or something when they could just as easily buy a 360 today and very likely never have a problem... but to each his own.

RE: Sheeple?
By bplewis24 on 8/15/2007 9:29:38 AM , Rating: 2
but I would laugh pretty hard if all these people waiting for "Falcon" started getting BROD (blue ring of death) or something

I'm pretty sure that if the Falcon 360s began reporting Blue Ring of Death that Sony would file a patent infringement suit against them. Microsoft has to stick with red rings, Sony has the rights to the blu rings.


RE: Sheeple?
By darkpaw on 8/15/2007 9:33:54 AM , Rating: 2
MS does own the rights to blue screens though, they could go with tradition and generate a nice STOP error code instead of using any rings.

RE: Sheeple?
By omnicronx on 8/15/2007 9:39:10 AM , Rating: 2
thats all we need, the return of the BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH

By Mitch101 on 8/15/2007 4:01:52 PM , Rating: 3
As I read on the main problem is supposedly cooling causing solder joints to disconnect or the graphics chip overheats and dies. The problem mainly being caused by an inedequate heat sink because they wanted the case to have a slow profile and reduced the area of the heatsink to accomidate the low profile and DVD drive.

I have no problem with the case being bigger or it being more boxy if it will help the cooling and maybe reduce the fan noise as well. This would allow ample cooling of the chips and reduce the drag and airflow needed which would also reduce the fan noise. Im not hoping 65nm will save the day even if it does or doesnt how about a case redesign thats a little bigger instead?

Until then even though the 3 year warranty is generous I would prefer to have comfort in reliability and then I will purchase a 360 because I want the media center abilities. Im sure the heatpipe costs would offset the small increase in size.

By hr824 on 8/15/2007 10:42:47 PM , Rating: 3
I often though that too about the case. I am glad about the warranty as well, because I had to make the call to MS today about the funny blinking red lights on my 360 today. Without the warranty there would be a PS3 in my house now.

The sad thing about the call was the first question the rep gave me....."Is this your first time?"

Why is this a surprised?
By Eurasianman on 8/15/2007 9:09:32 AM , Rating: 2
C'mon now. I agree that the HDMI is a surprise, but not getting the 65nm die shrink... not surprised. If that were the case, wouldn't the price drop be a little better?

In all honesty, I've had 3 360s! The first one was a launch console and lasted 3 months, but that was partially my fault. The second console... still runs today with no issues and extended game play 4-8 hours. However, I sold it to a friend since I filled up the 20 GB hard drive. The Elite... runs a little quieter (and we should all know that it's probably a new DVD drive if anything). Cooler though? I think not. Overall, 360 runs fine if placed in a the right location ( such as areas that actually have ventilation ;) )

RE: Why is this a surprised?
By omnicronx on 8/15/2007 9:16:54 AM , Rating: 2
C'mon now. I agree that the HDMI is a surprise, but not getting the 65nm die shrink... not surprised. If that were the case, wouldn't the price drop be a little better?

as someone said before they are probably getting rid of the extra elite motherboards they have with hdmi. So really you are getting a free upgrade, I see no reason for them to drop the price even more because the cpu is not 65nm.
They are already losing money on the consoles, but when 65nm comes along, it should cut the costs of the cpu in half, which could mean another pricedrop :)

Fixed though?
By v1001 on 8/15/2007 11:30:27 AM , Rating: 2
How do we know that these new heatsinks didn't fix the RROD problem? It was just a solder problem wasn't it? I would think with the new heatsinks they must have fixed the problem while they were at it. I'm not as concerned if it's still 90nm as long as it's fixed now.

RE: Fixed though?
By deeznuts on 8/15/2007 1:03:12 PM , Rating: 2
Because ... you (meaning, I and everyone else) want to distance our console as far away from the RROD problem as possible. If that means new HSFs, new processors, new GPU, new whatever, whatever that may help minimize the risk, I want it, and I'll wait. I almost broke down and bought one anyway for bioshock, but I'll just get that for PC and hold out a bit longer. HDMI for the 360 isn't that useful in my situation (no HD audio passthrough from games or HD DVD).

Just some crazy talk
By cbo on 8/15/2007 1:29:42 PM , Rating: 2
HDMI was the only real difference between the elite and premium. What are the chances of MS throwing us a bone and sticking something really functional into new elites. Like wifi or HD DVD (if not integrated in the machine for heat issues, then bundled in a nice deal). That would be cool get a free wifi adapter or a hd dvd drive with your purchase of the elite.

RE: Just some crazy talk
By Deekity on 8/15/2007 2:15:41 PM , Rating: 2
This kid could have saved himself some time and just read the box. It says Zephyr right on the label...

Elite 65nm?
By dl429 on 8/15/2007 3:01:18 PM , Rating: 3
While in fact it does say Zepher on to side of the box of the new HDMI equipped premiums the real question is does it say Falcon on the side of Elites manf. after July 4?

By JasonMick on 8/15/2007 10:55:14 AM , Rating: 2
I love how posting a completely unbiased comment on a contentious issue yields my comment getting voted down.

I was suggesting the move in the long term, once HD DVD player prices come down, and once the XBOX360 hardware is profitable.

I do not see how someone would vote me down for suggesting a possible business move, but you would not vote down people who are commenting on the format war, which I explicitly stated I was not taking sides in. I would love to have and HD DVD player and a BluRay player so I could play whatever I bought/found.

I like how no one comments on the cooling comments, just purely on the HD DVD issue.

And as to that issue, I was commenting on the PRICE of the current peripheral. I feel tech oriented people, such as anyone reading this website would likely be okay with the price, if they like the XBOX360 in the first place (and if not, why would you be buying an accessory for one?). However, I don't feel that is a significant portion of the market that the XBOX360 has been sold to, the "non-dailytech" crowd. However, if these people had the drive included in it by default they would likely use it sometimes. Once the hardware is profitable the choice could become whether to upgrade the hardware and make a smaller profit or not to upgrade and make a larger profit. Since software sales account for most of a console's profit in a healthy console, I would THINK that Microsoft would be willing to pay this price in the future to try to help their favored format win.

Now in the future, if someone votes on one of my posts, please read the comment, not just saying "oh someone is talking about hidef formats/xbox--vote down! click!"

By supervillain on 9/3/2007 10:51:48 AM , Rating: 2
It's really hot in my country, then we have a Xbox 360.
My mom played it in weekends, and one day after 2-3 hours, it got RoD.

So my mom asked, what is the problem, I told her I researched it in the internet and it is caused by heat, yeah my mom agreed it's really hot in here.

Then we go to a mall to buy an airconditioner cooler!

Whohoo! my room is now fully airconditioned!

To make the story short, I never had the RoD problem again, it's close to 1 year now.

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