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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 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.

"I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For [Paramount] to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks!" -- Movie Director Michael Bay

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