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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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360 Problems
By mmntech on 10/11/2007 12:53:59 PM , Rating: 4
I think one of the big problems with the 360 itself is the case design. It has two small fans for cooling. They look to be about 40-50mm ones mounted at the back of the case. Putting in some high airflow blowers or even a cool air intake fan would probably go a long way to cooling the console. It's well known that the PowerPC architecture and ATI's high end R500s are hot processors. Why would they expect that two tiny fans would be enough? PCs running similar hardware usually have big fans galore.

I don't think Microsoft has really solved any of the problems with the 360 yet, though they are making slow progress. This is one of the reasons I've kept away from the 360. In fact, Daily Tech reported back in July that failure rates could still be as high as 25-33%, or up to one in three units. When you consider that some 11 million have been sold, that's a lot. That's far from acceptable when the industry average is roughly 2-5%. Maybe my standards are too high, but when I put $400 down on an item, I don't want to play guessing games as to whether it's a lemon or not.

RE: 360 Problems
By FITCamaro on 10/11/2007 1:03:29 PM , Rating: 2
The heat issues are largely solved now.

My Elite isn't even a Falcon model and it runs fairly cool and quiet.

RE: 360 Problems
By softwiz on 10/11/2007 2:42:05 PM , Rating: 2

RE: 360 Problems
By 9nails on 10/11/2007 9:53:25 PM , Rating: 2
My Halo Edition 360 has ran flawlessly since it came home. I've put it through a few warm afternoons over 80° F in the living room, and it still ran like a champ. My home isn't likely to get that warm again since my AC unit needed a capacitor, and this is fixed now.

RE: 360 Problems
By afkrotch on 10/14/2007 9:18:33 PM , Rating: 2
Only took almost 2 years to get to this point and even then, those consoles are still failing.

Google Xbox 360 Halo rrod. Guess what? It's happening and we still are 1 year away from an actual fix. All these stupid duct tape type fixes for the system.

Well have 45nm PS3 before we have a complete 65nm Xbox 360.

RE: 360 Problems
By glennpratt on 10/13/2007 2:55:32 PM , Rating: 2
The fans are dual 60mm and they can move plenty of air.

The problem is serious but the fans, case design, etc aren't it. The CPU/GPU and heatsinks just aren't sturdy enough and they can seperate. More airflow would be a band aid at best.

Microsoft seems to have things under control at the moment as the Elite's and Halo editions don't seem to be going back in droves. Let's hope.

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