Print 53 comment(s) - last by BWAnaheim.. on Oct 17 at 11:13 PM

The Xbox 360's toasty GPU won't get a reprieve until late 2008

For those of you hoping to get an Xbox 360 with both a 65nm CPU and GPU, your wait is going to be a bit longer. The Mercury News' Dean Takahashi first brought us news of the Falcon motherboard that houses a 65nm CPU and 90nm GPU in July. Takahashi the following month reported that Xbox 360 consoles featuring the new motherboard and revised processor would begin shipping this fall.

While Xbox 360 consoles are starting to trickle into the retail market with 65nm processors and revised cooling, a new 65nm GPU die shrink won't arrive until late 2008 according to Takahashi.

The new Xbox 360 consoles coming late next year feature both a 65nm CPU and GPU will be codenamed Jasper. This would mark nearly a three-year gap between when the Xbox 360 was first released until a solution is finally presented for what has arguably been one of the most troublesome aspects of the console's design.

Many people have reported of DVD drives damaging game discs or failed HDDs, but the overwhelming majority of Xbox 360 failures have come at the hand of the dreaded Red Ring of Death (RRoD) which often points towards an overheated GPU.

"I don’t know why it will take Microsoft essentially three years to cost reduce the size of the graphics chip through a manufacturing shrink," said Takahashi. "Microsoft has had to divert a lot of engineers to debugging problems with Xbox 360 reliability. Even so, you would think that they would have moved faster, since the move to 65-nm graphics chip will likely be one of the best things they can do to improve the reliability."

Microsoft contends, however, that the new cooling solution provided with Falcon is sufficient to provide sufficient cooling for all internal Xbox 360 components. The Falcon cooling solution may be better than on previous Xbox 360 designs, but the solution to the main heat problem is nearly a year away.

"The Falcon board will likely give off less heat," continued Takahashi. "But the real serious heat saver looks like it will come with Jasper."

Reduced thermals aren't the only benefit of the upcoming Jasper-based Xbox 360s. Switching to the 65nm CPU has allowed Microsoft to reduce manufacturing costs for the consoles and cut costs for consumers. Making the move to a 65nm GPU will cut costs even further and could lead to another round of price cuts according to Takahashi.

"If I were Microsoft, I would try to pull in the date of Jasper as soon as possible," Takahashi added. "What they need right now is a lower cost so that they can be more competitive against the Wii and so they leave no openings for Sony."

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Not so sure about this
By Bioniccrackmonk on 10/11/2007 9:24:53 AM , Rating: 5
Switching to the 65nm CPU has allowed Microsoft to reduce manufacturing costs for the consoles and cut costs for consumers

The only way MS will cut prices further is if Sony comes in with another. From what I have seen so far, MS has just been trying to keep a lower price then Sony has had.

Disclaimer: I seem to get voted down when I only talk about the article at hand and not mention every other company in the world that operates using this business model. So here it is, every company in the world that is in competetion with the same type of products usually operate on this model.

RE: Not so sure about this
By The Sword 88 on 10/11/2007 9:46:10 AM , Rating: 2
I agree with you MS does seem to try to keep its prices below Sony's but I think it is time for them to try and undercut the Wii and truly dominate this generation of consoles

RE: Not so sure about this
By Lonyo on 10/11/2007 10:21:28 AM , Rating: 3
They already have undercut the Wii in the UK.
The Xbox 360 Arcade(?) is priced lower than the Wii, and the Premium can be hard (or has been available) for little more than the Wii (albeit at a sale price) recently.
£174 for the 360, £180 for the Wii, £195 (sale price) for the 360.

RE: Not so sure about this
By FITCamaro on 10/11/2007 10:24:53 AM , Rating: 3
For the Core yes I'm sure their ultimate goal is to be priced lower than the Wii. For the high end they will want to stay cheaper than the PS3. But with a 40GB PS3 looming with a $400 price tag, they will need another price cut as the Elite is $450. They will need to get the Elite down to $400 or cheaper which means the Core and Premium will take another cut.

I think the prices should be $250 for the Core, $300 for the Premium, and $350 for the Elite. Also the Premium needs to get a bigger hard drive. Bump it to 40GB and you've got the same as the cheaper PS3 for $100 less. So Core to Premium you're paying for wireless controller, headset, and hard drive. Premium to Elite you're paying for style(black color) and larger hard drive.

RE: Not so sure about this
By joemoedee on 10/11/2007 11:00:43 AM , Rating: 1
You really cannot compare the Elite with the new 40GB PS3.

Here's how I see the marketing angle...

The new Core "Arcade" system, designed to compete against the Wii.

"Premium" goes up against the 40GB PS3.

"Elite" goes up against the 80GB PS3.

In all circumstances, the prices are currently quite comparable. (Excluding the whole Blu Ray vs HD DVD angle, just gaming system to gaming system)

The only one that needs to drop in price is the Arcade model to be comparable in price today to the Wii in the US.

The difference of hard drive is IMO not big enough for the price difference between the Premium and Elite. I'd personally like to see a bundled extra controller, game, and WiFi adapter for the Elite model.

RE: Not so sure about this
By FITCamaro on 10/11/2007 11:20:22 AM , Rating: 2
Well for the holidays we're already getting two games with the Elite and Premium. The wi-fi adapter wouldn't be a bad addition though. I personally don't care about wifi though. I don't need my internet connection getting interrupted when someone uses the phone (assuming 2.4GHz cordless phone) or the microwave. Both interrupted my connection in college at my apartment with roommates.

RE: Not so sure about this
By Murst on 10/11/2007 11:57:06 AM , Rating: 2
Why would you buy a 2.4 GHz cordless phone if you have wi-fi set up?

Its not like it isn't advertised. I just went to best buy the other day to look at phones, and they had charts all over the phone section about what phone to get if you have wireless networking installed. The phone prices seem to vary with the features too, not really with frequency.

Personally, I find wireless a great thing. It would be a complete pain to rewire my house so that I can get a cable down into the living room.

I guess in a college situation where one person brins a router, another brings a phone, and a third person tries to use it... you could run into conflicts. But I'm guessing such situations are more the exception rather than the rule.

RE: Not so sure about this
By afkrotch on 10/14/2007 9:04:20 PM , Rating: 2
Doesn't even have to have all ppl in the same room. It could be the guy next door with a 2.4 ghz phone.

I stick with wired, simply for higher speeds. Not such a big deal for consoles, but for comp to comp transfers, 1000 mbps is ftw!

RE: Not so sure about this
By clovell on 10/11/2007 11:58:33 AM , Rating: 2
That's why I ditched my 2.4 GHz phone and went with DECT (1.9GHz) - too much interference on the line. The phones are awesome, too - all digital.

RE: Not so sure about this
By BWAnaheim on 10/11/2007 12:38:14 PM , Rating: 2
The XBOX360 WiFi adapter includes 802.11b/g (2.4GHz) and 802.11a (5.8 GHz). I have a wireless access point that handles both A and G, and run the XBOX at 5.8 GHz. This reduces the interference potential with our 2.4 GHz phones, Bluetooth, and microwave ovens. I have seen people complain about the list price of the WiFi adapter, and I think that they overlook the fact that it is a dual-band device.

Perhaps if Microsoft released a single-band device for less money or included a single-band device in the Elite, people would complain less. However, I like being able to run at 5.8, because no other 802.11a systems are visible in my neighborhood. Sure, I would have liked a lower cost, but I also had to pay more for my access point to achieve what I thought was a more optimal wireless solution.

If I am not wrong, the WiFi adapter in the PS3 is 2.4 GHz only, which means that it would be more prone to interference.

RE: Not so sure about this
By softwiz on 10/11/2007 2:47:39 PM , Rating: 2
Why not just get a 5.8Ghz phone instead ?

RE: Not so sure about this
By 9nails on 10/11/2007 9:59:30 PM , Rating: 2
That's what I did!

But I also ran a CAT5 cable to my Xbox 360. Problem solved, and improved upon for free. (The cable was included!)

WiFi is a simplex network with too many collisions to be good for gaming. My Wii is using the WiFi, but I don't go on-line with that other than to download VC games.

RE: Not so sure about this
By BWAnaheim on 10/17/2007 11:13:32 PM , Rating: 2
I have other 2.4 GHz devices in the house, and due to the terrible layout of this KB home, where the tv needs to reside is virtually impossible to reach with a CAT-5 cable (outside wall, no basement, no accessible attic space in that area). WiFi 5.8 was the simplest solution to minimize the overall interference profile. Besides, the 2.4 GHz phones were not broken...

RE: Not so sure about this
By wallijonn on 10/11/2007 6:17:06 PM , Rating: 2
The new Core "Arcade" system, designed to compete against the Wii.

They could start by including 512MB of internal RAM (just like the Wii, I believe) to save games. Then one wouldn't need to keep buying external mem sticks. So long as you need to buy memory the Wii will Wii in the consumer's mind.

RE: Not so sure about this
By Locutus465 on 10/11/2007 10:50:29 PM , Rating: 1
Honestly I think this is where microsoft is better... True you only get the 256MB card, however with the Wii the 512MB is shared between OS and everything else, so you effectivly get less than the 512MB... Also, the SD card slot on the Wii is virtually worthless... You really can't tell your system to save games there, you really can't store VC games there... It's stupid, I hope nintendo fixes this oversite soon. With x-box from day 1 you've been able to simply choose whatever storage device to put arcade games/save games on... much better solution IMO.

RE: Not so sure about this
By afkrotch on 10/14/2007 9:09:23 PM , Rating: 2
Ya, you can tell it memory card or hard drive. Let's leave out USB devices, cause if someone can easily connect an external 1 TB hdd and save everything to that, they wouldn't buy the overpriced 120 gb hdd. With Xbox 360 from day 1, you've been grabbing your ankles with storage options.

RE: Not so sure about this
By Murst on 10/11/07, Rating: 0
"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov

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