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.