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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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RE: window of opportunity
By retrospooty on 10/11/2007 11:57:52 AM , Rating: 2
" This is going to seriously carve out some territory for wii and ps3 to grab up"

I dont know about that... Does anyone even have data on the failure rate with the falcon (65nm CPU and reworked cooling solution) at this point? 99.9% of Xbox customers couldnt care less if it's a 90 or 65nm GPU, they care if it fails or if it runs. If the new cooling solution resolves the heat failures, 65nm is irrelevant except for the lower cost for MS, and MAYBE that would make them drop the cost for consumers, but that is more driven by market competition than actual cost of the Xbox itself.

RE: window of opportunity
By Murst on 10/11/2007 12:05:58 PM , Rating: 2
I'll be getting a 360 pretty soon, and I'm under the impression (may be completely wrong) that MS has fixed the issues with the 360 already. If I thought the 360 was going to break, I certainly wouldn't be buying it.

I guess I would find it incredible that MS spent a billion dollars in replacement costs without actually fixing the issue in new models.

RE: window of opportunity
By Rampage on 10/11/2007 4:44:19 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, the time to buy a 360 is now with the bundle deal coming at the end of this month.

RE: window of opportunity
By Murst on 10/11/2007 4:58:13 PM , Rating: 2
Although the bundle is nice, it's not really what I was looking for as I already have M:UA for the PS3. However, I'm hoping that on black friday or so I'll be able to grab a 360 w/ an extra controller due to in-store promotions.

The only reason why I'm looking at the 360 right now is Mass Effect... if reviews for it don't turn out that great, I'll prob not get the 360.

RE: window of opportunity
By Rampage on 10/11/2007 7:41:02 PM , Rating: 3
I will probably order mine online and avoid paying tax. This almost equals out to an extra controller.
Unfortunately I can't look at manufacturing dates but by the end of this month I'm hoping most are Falcons.
I'm not incredibly excited about MUA, but its still another free game. Forza2 is well worth it and makes up for MUA easily.

Not that MUA is a bad game, from the reviews I've read its one of the best "RPGs" of the year. So I welcome its addition and will enjoy playing it I'm sure.

I'd rather have Dead Rising + Forza2 even though DR is at rock bottom pricing.

Forza2 + MUA is probably overall a bit better bundle considering I can pickup DR for $30.
I'm pretty proud of their ability to not give me some crappy soon-to-be last year's sports game.

IMO, Forza2 is a "must have" on 360 and MUA is 'merely' a Great Game.

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