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Upcoming Xbox 360 hardware to have cooler IBM CPU, but not the revised ATI GPU

The Mercury News’ Dean Takahashi reports that the first Xbox 360 CPUs manufactured on the 65nm process are now on ships in the Pacific bound for North America. Should the consoles, which are made in China, arrive soon, then they could be on retail shelves sometime this fall.

Last month, Takahashi reported that the 65nm Xbox 360 chips would come in a revised hardware version that Microsoft has coded “Falcon.” The new chips are not only smaller and roughly 50 percent cheaper to produce than their 90nm counterpart, but they are also cooler – and presumably less prone to the Red Ring of Death defect.

Those expecting the 65nm die shrink to affect the two main chips inside the Xbox 360 will be disappointed to learn that only the console’s main processor will be the manufactured on the new process.

“Falcon is the name for the board that houses the 65-nanometer microprocessor from IBM,” wrote Takahashi. “The board does not include a 65-nanometer version of the ATI graphics chip for the Xbox 360. That version of the graphics chip is coming later.”

The new 65nm chip from IBM will work with both the current 90nm and the future 65nm iteration of the 65nm ATI GPU, according to Takahashi.

Oddly enough, it appears as though the main culprit behind the Xbox 360 reliability woes may be linked to the ATI GPU rather than the IBM CPU. As part of a recent fix to all 90nm-based consoles, Microsoft has been adding additional cooling measures into the Xbox 360. Found first in a repaired European Xbox 360 was a new heatsink with a heatpipe that leads to a secondary “daughter” heatsink helps to further cool the GPU.

The latest Xbox 360 Premium consoles with the HDMI-enabled “Zephyr” motherboard also features the extra heatsinks, providing further evidence that an overheating GPU is the main cause behind the Red Ring of Death.

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By kelmon on 8/28/2007 5:51:57 AM , Rating: 2
All I'm interested in is whether the consoles still suffer from the Red Ring of Death. The article notes that this should reduce the potential but I'm looking for confirmation that these consoles don't die (or at least have a failure rate of around 1%). Between the PS3 and 360 I'd prefer the 360 at this time due to the price but I won't buy something that has such a high potential for failure.

By mdogs444 on 8/28/2007 6:38:50 AM , Rating: 4
I think since the newer versions have been available with upgrading cooling and revised mobo layout including HDMI, the RROD topic has cooled off. I, for one, have not yet heard any complaints of the Elite system, nor the revised premium system, being sent back because of the RROD.

By jrbrewin on 8/28/2007 8:17:39 AM , Rating: 2
I second that..
and any people looking at buying a xbox360 (a handful at the moment), i've advised them to wait until the zephr models make their way to britain purely because of that.

By peritusONE on 8/28/2007 8:23:34 AM , Rating: 2
I also have heard a LOT LESS reports of Elite systems dying, and today marks their 4-month anniversary. Microsoft was stupid to let a huge problem like this get through the QA/QC process when the console first launched, but they aren't stupid enough to continue sending and selling defective units almost two years after the launch.

IMO, it doesn't appear to be affecting sales all that much, though. As some of you know, I work part-time at a Gamestop, and we've not been able to keep Premium and Core systems in stock since the price drop, nor have we been able to keep used systems. In fact, as of this past Sunday, all of my district is out of used 360 consoles, and the premiums are VERY hard to find....Cores are impossible to find. I get other stores calling my store all the time trying to find a premium in stock for a customer.

By herrdoktor330 on 8/28/2007 10:48:38 PM , Rating: 3
Well, to iterate the Microsoft strategy, the big plan was to rush XB360 to market as fast as humanly possible to get the leg up on Nintendo and Sony. As they say, "You can't make an omlette without breaking a few eggs." The broken egg in this equasion was build quality. It's not a favorable way of doing business, but it must have been decided in Redmond that the release time advantage would be acceptable in the face of RROD problems customers have experienced so far.

Not disagreeing with the QA process statement, but MS wanted to get their installed base built quickly. You cut corners where you can to reach those kind of goals.

By Slaimus on 8/28/07, Rating: 0
By omnicronx on 8/28/2007 11:43:54 AM , Rating: 5
No its not, its both, 'the motherboard is attached to the case by its edges rather than being properly pinned in the center, allowing it to flex and warp as the temperature inside increases. This, combined with the way the already inadequate heatsinks - big metal grills that dissipate heat from the chips - are attached to the board places stress on the corners and edges of the CPU and GPU, which gradually lifts the chips from their mounts, leaving you with a bunch of broken contacts and three red lights.' Furthermore the cpu gets a lot hotter than the gpu, so really it the problem was more with the cpu rather the the gpu.

There are already ways to fix this yourself of course, i did a crappy job of it, but many people modded their 360's before MS extended the warranty to 3 years and it has essentially fixed the problem, so you would think MS probably fixed this issue with the new elite motherboards.. hopefully.

So people with elites are probably safe compared to the old design. I really dont know what the fuss over 65nm is, chances are.. the problem has essentially been fixed ;)

By ViperROhb34 on 8/28/2007 3:33:18 PM , Rating: 3
Id also like to add the 360's being repaired ( at the Tx Facility ) are for sure being upgraded with the new cooling.. my cousin got his back from there 4 weeks ago.. I got mine back last week.. we both got our 360's 2 yrs ago within a month of each other... and both of them got RROD's within 2 weeks apart two yrs later !

Also the systems run MUCH quieter ! The DVD Drive sound is now virtually unheard as well !

By ViperROhb34 on 8/28/2007 3:34:40 PM , Rating: 1
Oh yeah.. one more thing.. they used to feel anywhere very warm to moderately hot to touch.. I amazed at how now they hardly even feel warm !

By dilmonen on 8/28/2007 6:23:44 PM , Rating: 1
Sadly I just got a replacement from McAllen two weeks ago for my original box that lasted 8.5 months before failing.

Watched 1.5 hours of downloaded TV content & inserted a game disc. I never even got past the "reading disk" comment on the game blade before the system locked up.

Rebooted to the RROD. The unit even had the new beefed up cooling in it.

I'm hoping I just got a bum replacement, but the guys at the UPS Store where I dropped it off said "XBOX" in stereo as soon as they saw what I was carrying in. Pretty sad since the box they provide is a plain white box to boot.

By One43637 on 8/28/2007 8:06:37 PM , Rating: 2

[Collapse Comment] RE: RROD?
By ViperROhb34 on 8/28/07, Rating: 3
By ViperROhb34 on 8/28/2007 3:33:18 PM , Rating: 3
Id also like to add the 360's being repaired ( at the Tx Facility ) are for sure being upgraded with the new cooling.. my cousin got his back from there 4 weeks ago.. I got mine back last week.. we both got our 360's 2 yrs ago within a month of each other... and both of them got RROD's within 2 weeks apart two yrs later !

Also the systems run MUCH quieter ! The DVD Drive sound is now virtually unheard as well !

Too bad they didn't fix the loud fan noise as well. I just noticed that the fan is also on even though the console is off if you're charging a controller through the Play and Charge kit.

By ViperROhb34 on 8/29/2007 7:56:50 PM , Rating: 2
Loud Fan Noise ?

The only noise that was loud on my 2yr old Xbox before I sent it in was the Enormous roar of the DVD drive.. The two 60mm fans in my unit were never that loud before.. AND now on the upgraded unit they seem to run less or at a lower RPM - thus quieter as well..

By Locutus465 on 8/28/2007 3:14:53 PM , Rating: 2
My new "Zypher" console is cool enough... I'm thinking that the (new) current HDMI design should be adequate to keep RROD from occuring.

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