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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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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?"

"I f***ing cannot play Halo 2 multiplayer. I cannot do it." -- Bungie Technical Lead Chris Butcher

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