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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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MS should keep the savings
By 9nails on 10/11/2007 9:45:11 PM , Rating: 2
For those of you who think that MS should lower the cost of the console with the money saved by producing the extra CPU's per wafer, I'd say that they should pocket the savings on the hardware sales and instead lower the fee's to license games.

Nintendo's President, Satoru Iwata, had said long ago that he would lower license fee's for the Wii as the console is cheaper to manufacture while MS and Sony had to raise theirs because their systems are more expensive to manufacture. Developers are complaining that it costs too much to develop HD ready games any ways. In the case of Capcom's Monster Hunter 3, it was said that the cost to develop was so significant that the platform switch from PS3 to Wii was necessary. Game developers need incentive. Proven with the Wii, next generation graphics are not a major selling point since gamers are also looking for inexpensive games too.

I'd continue to argue that the majority of console gamers don't have HD which would strengthen my argument against developing for it.

RE: MS should keep the savings
By afkrotch on 10/14/2007 11:31:35 PM , Rating: 2
And PC games sit stably at $50, yet provide much higher graphics quality than any console game. Not to mention, those games are created for multiple hardware platforms, as opposed to a single one.

Why is that? Maybe less work into optimizing games for a specific set of hardware. The pro and con of a console. A game can look better on lower hardware, but you have to put in a lot more time to make it so. Maybe cause most companies create their own game engines instead of simply licensing one out for their game.

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