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
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
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.
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