Next Xbox's 32nm CPU enters production - Report

Tech news site indicates IBM, Global Foundries now manufacturing "Oban" chip for dev kit delivery by April.

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Industry chatter has died down on Microsoft's Next Xbox for, well, a couple of weeks at least, with the most recent scuttlebutt suggesting the device will debut at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo. That rumor may have been bolstered in recent days, as tech news site Fudzilla reports that Microsoft began production on 32nm processor chips for developers' Next Xbox debug consoles in December.

Expect the Next Xbox's computer chip to look mostly like the Xbox 360's latest chip.

According to Fudzilla's sources, the Next Xbox's chip is a joint venture between IBM and Global Foundries, and it bears the code name Oban. The report goes on to note that the Next Xbox will have a PowerPC CPU that is integrated with an ATI Southern Islands graphics processor. The GPU is reportedly a modification of ATI's 7000 series cards.

Fudzilla's sources indicate that development kits will be available to game studios by April. Microsoft had not responded to a request for comment on this report as of press time.

Of note, earlier this month, IBM and Global Foundries announced that they have partnered to manufacture chips based on IBM's 32nm Silicon-on-Insulator technology. The announcement noted that IBM had recently begun initial production on these chips, and the two companies plan to ramp up production during the second half of 2012.

This particular chip is noteworthy, given that Global Foundries touted the technology by saying that it "vastly improves microprocessor performance in multi-core designs and speeds the movement of graphics in gaming, networking, and other image-intensive, multimedia applications." The chip's SOI process was used in IBM Watson, better known as the victorious Jeopardy! contestant in early 2011.

Discussion

234 comments
mlavinder
mlavinder

@GodOfSyn I understand that concern but it is also import to note we are talking about IBM Power Chips, and they are sort of in a whole different league than your standard, consumer level AMD/Intel chips. They are business class chips and the Power7 architecture is used in high-end servers around the world, including IBM Watson, as the article points out.

GodOfSyn
GodOfSyn

At least its a step up, but I'm surprised to see them go with a 32nm process instead of the new 24 nm that is the new standard... Basically the xbox will be entering the market with an already out of date processor build.... granted the size of a processor is of smaller importance, but does help reduce heat, and increase the frequency the cpu can run at, and just makes it that much better and powerful... Then again, I suppose they need to make it as affordable to the end user as possible. Either way, I'm still pumped. I'm interested to see what processor the PS4 will have, should be interesting!

DitchyJ
DitchyJ

Whatever it has in it, it will be a mega upgrade, and MS are not stupid enough to have the RROD again........remember, no console is perfect.

RitsukoEX
RitsukoEX

@Phazevariance but will 3rd party developers make money off it? thats really the big Question about the Wii-U... besides its specs. which its just rumors like the next Xbox specs.

blackace
blackace

I'll wait for it. I have no plans on getting the next XBox at launch anyways. They'll have to have a serious must have exclusives for me to sell out dough for it. I'm not talking about Halo 5 or Forza 5 either.

moviequest14
moviequest14

@Sigil-otaku : My mistake,I misunderstood what you meant.Personally I also appreciate what is done with the Kinect (much more creative than Sony's attempt at cashing in on motion control..whether move was thought first or not..) having a creative approach to motion gaming...but I just am not up to literally always being up and about while gaming.To me..I don't really think a next-generation change is needed for any of the other of the big 3..Nintendo needs to because Nintendo has/is dying/died it is necessary to change to the wii-u..but ps3 and 360 are really realizing their potential..and at least imo it would be cutting off the potential both systems still have.Call me cynical..but I tend to believe that,for the most part,the only thing being held back right now are dev's holding their own creativity back..I don't really know of anything that can't be done now that can be done later on...if neither are going to go out and take risky,yet,innovative steps (which I understand but still..) then the only change we need is more innovation in individual game producers.

RPG_Fan_I_Am
RPG_Fan_I_Am

Wow... this article is getting crazy, But I feel the need to point someout out that just mind f*cked me. I mean I read this and I sh*t bricks.... paranormalnut: "The wii-u is really a 360 with 20% more power than 360 and PS3.. " ok so my math is kinda funny here. so a=B a being wii u and b being 360. yet a=1.2b? at the same time? and then which is it more powerfull then? they both have a 3.2 Ghz cpu, but the 360 has a 500Mhz graphics card, while the PS3 puts up 550Mhz... To your math by processor the processor will be putting out 3.84Ghz which isn't = 3.2 Ghz.... *assuming by power you ment processor* and the tech demo showed graphics comparable to the PS3. /Rumors. I'm telling you Bricks are being shat.

wowwow27
wowwow27

if Microsoft didn't learn anything from the rrod mistake, well, they would have to be retarded.i expect the next system to be more geared to generating money and less geared towards product failure (meaning it will not incorporate technology cutting edge enough to overheat). Remember they initially lost money on launch day! that won't be the case this go round, I assure you.

godzillavskong
godzillavskong

Nice! I'm interested. Hopefully they'll do plenty of R & D this go round, and not fall victim to the early debacle they had with the 360. This is why I think it is good that Microsoft entered the gaming market. Sega left and Microsoft entered, and having the financial backbone that they have their able to open up the checkbook to get some of the most advanced tech.It will be nice to see in the upcoming year or two how these games actually look and play.

wowwow27
wowwow27

@mark_1313_13 no, i didn't get it backwards, it already takes 5 years to program good games (ie. skyrim,GTA V, etc.). with the new technology it may even take programmers longer, and by then something else will be out. just because hardware is capable of something, doesn't mean programmers are capable of taking advantage of it, especially at a systems launch!

Phazevariance
Phazevariance

WiiU will play games that look a lot better than ps3 and 360, and ps4 and 720 (or whatever they get called) will be more powerful than the WiiU, but either way, games are going to look a lot better all around.

BestJinjo
BestJinjo

paranormalnut, Here is a link to support my claims further: http://alienbabeltech.com/abt/viewtopic.php?p=41174 The Radeon HD6670 in the next Xbox is only as fast as the Radeon HD4830, the slowest possible RV770 graphics card. Actually, the next Xbox being only 20% faster than Wii U seems very reasonable based on their graphics cards because the GPU so far quoted for the next Xbox is no better than it is in the Wii U. The 20% faster part might be related to Xbox's faster CPU.

Sweendrix
Sweendrix

Dear Microsoft: Give Kinect 2 the ability to accurately and precisely read the position of a laser in 3d space. The body control in Kinect combined with customizable, cheap to produce, game specific controllers would be incredible.

Sweendrix
Sweendrix

I don't know why everyone is arguing about power. All the systems are going to be fantastic. The systems today are pretty great. These systems are going to blur the line between reality fantasy and reality.

BestJinjo
BestJinjo

paranormalnut, "The wii-u is really a 360 with 20% more power than 360 and PS3.. " No. CPU: The CPU inside Wii U is based on an all-new, Power-based microprocessor on IBM's Power7 architecture. The Xenon CPU in Xbox 360 is based on IBM's PowerPC architecture that's at least 7 years old. Saying that the 2 CPUs are more or less the same is akin to claiming that Core 2 Duo from Intel is the same CPU as a dual core 2012 Sandy Bridge microprocessor because they both have 2 cores.....Because the CPU is based on an entirely new architecture, each core itself can perform much more operations per clock. Also, the Xbox only has a Tri-core CPU with each core capable of performing 2 threads per clock cycle. That's nothing special since each of those cores are very slow by today's standards. GPU: The rumored GPU in Wii U is based on Radeon RV770. There are only 3 GPUs ever made on that architecture: . Radeon 4830 = 640 SPs Radeon 4850 = 800 SP Radeon 4870 = 800 SPs The rumored HD6670 GPU in next Xbox is actually SLOWER than both the Radeon HD4850 and HD4870. Assuming, Nintendo used the weaker HD4830, then the 20% faster GPU speed of the next Xbox seems reasonable since HD6670 is barely better (if at all) than the HD4830, the slowest RV770 graphics card! It's probably important to understand the hardware first before making claims that Wii U is barely faster than the Xbox360 because such claims are completely unsubstantiated based on the hardware comparisons.

Sigil-otaku
Sigil-otaku

@moviequest14 I'm not stating Wii U will be bad or anything and I'm personally looking forward to it, I think the Wii U looks innovative in a good way (i,e. allows you to play in a traditional and a new way without compromising any functionality) and I appreciate the odd feature too but nowadays games consoles are too often being looked at just for features and not games. Often it hinders them such as PS3 where it was practically marketed as a blu-ray player in the first year. I've thought about features for the Wii U as well such as having to move the controller around infront of the screen to be used as a scanner in metroid or it having tons of virtual buttons to solve puzzles or whatnot. Either way my point wasn't about the wii u being bad, it was about the next xbox not really needing innovation. I don't believe every system needs a key selling point of uniqueness as it ends up just being done for the sake of it if all console makers go for the same goal. I am very much interested in the Wii U and think it innovates in a very smart way, my problem is I don't feel MS would innovate in such a way. Like kinect which I pointed out is good but not for everyone.

paranormalnut
paranormalnut

@moviequest14 tech has made big jumps from 2005 and if you look at what is inside the PS3 and 360, the tech is much older than 2005.. Well not the blu-Ray drive in the PS3. The cell in the PS3 or was is older than the 3 core 360's CPU. The cell came out in the mid 90's. The Cell inside the PS3 is a updated cell that is very fast. So most of the tech in all the big 3's is very old in the world of tech.

moviequest14
moviequest14

@paranormalnut : It is from the exact same source that says it will be ''6 times more powerful''..almost any news article (aside from gamespot considering this article isn't really 'about' that) notes that.It isn't a safe bet to assume the graphics/power will be _________ times better because it was so in the past..it is one thing if we are talking about events,etc. but this is progression...why has really new technology pretty much come to a standstill today? It was blazing a while back.There have been leaps and bounds in progress because technology was so far back..now graphics/power are to the point that they are so good only small changes can/should be made.I would be more skeptical if this was Nintendo claiming this in defense of the wii-u or something but this is from the same source that said it would be 6times more powerful...you either take it all or leave it all but picking and choosing what to believe out of the same statement won't lead to realistic expectations ful-filled.

aj_marquez
aj_marquez

Wow, if this is true, then Next-gen consoles are already lagging behind. Bad news for PC players. Again.

paranormalnut
paranormalnut

@moviequest14 The wii-u has the same CPU that is inside the 360. It has a updated Ati chip that is inside the 360.. The wii-u is really a 360 with 20% more power than 360 and PS3.. That is where you or where ever you got the news is wrong. The Next gen xbox has a 6 core CPU and from what I hear, I do have friends that do work for game makers is it will have a 2 GPU chips. The wii-u from what I hear will have 700+ of system mem. The next gen xbox will have at lest 2 gigs. Looking at the past, game systems have always been 50% more powerful than it's last gen or up to 40x more powerful. given how fast tech has been changing, PS4 and loop should be 100x more powerful but that is paper numbers. Just because they say they are do not mean it is or can.

moviequest14
moviequest14

@Sigil-otaku : While I get where you're coming from...there are a LOT of dev's (pretty big-dev's too) that really like the innovation wii-u brings to the table.If we already have 80 different ideas about what the wii-u-mote will do than it wouldn't be innovation...and we would be the ones coming up with games and development.Even being the consumer I am I can think of several uses..what about for the next sports game having the game going on in the tv and the plays/plan on your remote? What about the next say...Tomb Raider where you can use the wii-u-screen as a type of ancient manuscript? Maybe the next Arkham World where you solve the Riddler's touch based puzzles on the screen? Maybe Elder Scrolls V where the remote is your universal hub to pull up inventory,spells,character leveling/progression,or map? How about the next Gta where you use the remote to track drug-sales,star-level,map,radio,etc.? Even settle uses like map or inventory are innovative and can save a ton of precious screen-space.What I'm saying is...wait until 3 or so years from now when dev's actually release their titles to say whether it has been innovative or not.

moviequest14
moviequest14

@paranormalnut : Really? Because according to the same source that boasted of 720's power said it is only 20% more so than wii-u (the tech-demo wii-u even..not the finished product)..maybe I need go back and retake my basic mathematics and calculation but I could've sworn that 20% isn't a lot....

paranormalnut
paranormalnut

@BestJinjo The next gen xbox is gonna be a lot more powerful than wii-u. The Wii-u is just as powerful as the 360.. The next gen 360 will have dual GPU's.

BestJinjo
BestJinjo

Sigil-otaku, I understand that standalone controllers are sold separately. But the advanced controller will be a part of the Wii's price (and it's rumoured at $349 or more). Therefore, the controller cannot be cheap based on its complexity. I don't know what the console will cost with certainty; that is true. However, it's reasonable to estimate if the next Xbox is only 20% more powerful than the Wii U, then its CPU/GPU can't be that much more expensive. Think about this. The HD6670 is only $80 in retail today. That means by end of 2013, MS will for sure be able to manufacture it for less, let's say $60. If a console costs $299-399, what else are they allocating their budget on? BluRay drives have also come down in price. So adding BluRay won't cost hundreds of dollars as was the case with the original PS3. That's my point. Either the console will be much cheaper than $399, the rumor of such a weak GPU is incorrect, or MS will spend the $ somewhere else. It makes no sense to spend so little on the GPU, especially in the context of the previous Xbox360. The GPU, designed by ATI Technologies to provide high-definition (HD) graphics, costs an estimated $141, including embedded DRAM from NEC. http://www.xbitlabs.com/news/multimedia/display/20051123214405.html The last Xbox360 cost $399 at retail and had a $141 cost to manufacture GPU. You are telling me the new Xbox will have a GPU that costs less than $80 by 2013? So where exactly is MS spending the rest of the $?

nima_metal90
nima_metal90

I have a ps3 now and with just these & mostly economical reasons I won't buy this so I think just new buyers or xbox360 or Xbox users will buy it.

Sigil-otaku
Sigil-otaku

@BestJinjo You realise controller costs are generally separate to console costs? You have to buy them separately other than the first one being supplied but that will be factored into the cost anyway. The next xbox could be cheaper than the Wii U making any need to add value redundant because it's already cheaper. We don't even know the cost of each system as they will be retailed for so how are we judging there relative value? As for 'key' selling points, we'll have to wait on that but ultimately a natural progression in technology is enough of a feature. It'll run more advanced games and be able to run more stuff on screen etc, pretty common place but what are you really after? You either like gaming as it is and enjoy games or you're just looking for minor innovations. Like you even said, kinect doesn't have a lot of appeal for most hardcore gamers but it is currently the key selling point of the 360 and very popular. It's not progression to just change and swap stuff around though, kinect may stay or it may not. I think true HD (1080p on every game) will be more likely a selling point as coonsoles are leaning toward that resolution more now. Most people will buy them just because it will have the next lot of games on though, you don't need random features all the time to get you to want games.

santinegrete
santinegrete

Now I'm curious about the heat-sink and cooler details. If not more. You know what happened when the first 360 came out, and I knew how to fix it (strappin' a bunch of coolers in the right places and directions)

BestJinjo
BestJinjo

Here is another thing that doesn't make sense to me. If the next Xbox is only rumored to be 20% faster than the Wii U, but Nintendo is going to integrate a complicated and expensive controller into their console, then what is Microsoft going to spend the rest of their console budget on? Adding a very fast CPU with a weak GPU makes little sense. Adding a weak / cheap GPU ($79 retail today) leaves too much of the remaining budget (because you no longer need as large of a power supply, as potent of a cooling system, etc.). In terms of incremental hardware costs, adding 20% more performance on top of the Wii U would probably cost less than it costs Nintento to integrate the advanced Wii U controller. In other words, in the absence of a controller with a 6 inch screen in it, that leaves MS with a lot of $$$ left over to spend on something else.....what is it? Assuming the rumor is true, if they are not going to have a much faster GPU than Wii U, nor the advanced controller, then they are either going to spend that $ on some other features we don't know about OR price the console lower than the Wii U OR this rumor is probably. incorrect. I can understand why Nintendo decided to scale back on the graphics card because their strategy is to innovate the gaming experience/aspects (the "Nintendo way" so to speak). But if the next Xbox is only 20% faster, what exactly is its KEY selling feature? Kinect? If MS is going to allocate more of their console cost budget towards Kinect style features, that may make their console more mainstream and actually less appealing to the hardcore gamers. If Kinect is integrated into every console, it would eat away into the console cost without providing a tangible benefit to most hardcore gamers that find very few Kinect-style games to be worth playing. However, if Kinect is not integrated into the console and continues to sell as a stand-alone accessory, then you are back to square 1, where you have too much of your budget still left over after the low-end GPU is considered. Something doesn't add up.

RPG_Fan_I_Am
RPG_Fan_I_Am

@NeoJ4K3 I only know of the PS3 supposing to have a 10 year life cycle and so far it seems to be on track. As far as I know of the PS4 isn't even supposed to come out for like 2 more years, making the PS3 like 7 years old. you figure the PS2 ran strong after the PS3 release, I'm assuming Sony will hope for the same thing, Letting the PS3 run for another 3 years after the PS4 release. probably like the PS2, be the best time to own a PS3. But again this is just my opinion based off what I know. I could be wrong.

dawnofhero
dawnofhero

E3 can't come any sooner. Of course, that's what I said last year and the year before that...

RitsukoEX
RitsukoEX

@nurnberg the PS4 has rumors too! just like this!

Raziel_0
Raziel_0

to soon Ms, to soon.....were fine right now.

ydnarrewop
ydnarrewop

This is exciting. I'm looking forward to the next gen systems. I hope they are backwards compatible though :)

nurnberg
nurnberg

No word about the PS4 yet? Is Sony letting Microsoft having a head start for next-gen?

AMD1290
AMD1290

@RossRichard I was replying to other posters asking for dual GPU on next gen xbox

Soothsayer42
Soothsayer42

Something in my head keep telling me that the next xbox is still going to have RROD. The slim version was improved , but they still have RROD (which was rare to occur) Don't make launch mistakes anymore...

Soothsayer42
Soothsayer42

That is really unexpected. Im really hoping that the next gen will be released at 2014-2015.... please?

GamerLegend10
GamerLegend10

@mellow09 Well I was talking about when the xbox360 was just released (sorry, i didn't make that clear), they began selling them far below the cost of producing them. Yes I do know that since release they have been able to significantly reduce the costs, but i didn't realise they had been making profits from them for so long. Assuming your right, thanks for correcting me.

AMD1290
AMD1290

Why in the world would they use dual GPU on console? It’s completely unnecessary for console which runs in fixed resolution and framerate. it'll add more heat, power consumption, potential headache for developers. Single powerful GPU is always better than multi GPU.

brkdwnxx
brkdwnxx

i have a hard time believing we're going to be getting the next xbox yet what with the new dashboard they JUST made and all.. unless they're going to be going the Wii U route, just updating hardware but making it still fully backwards compatible. new console generations are always a scary time... what will i do with all these 360 games? will they still work? will they be supoorted? eek.

alfaresalasmar
alfaresalasmar

ill gladly pay that extra 150 buks for the gpu plz provide me with a dual gpu crossfire consle for the love of god.

ecs33
ecs33

So I guess the PC I have now is pretty close to the next generation consoles. I'm looking forward to seeing these things debut.

Supabul
Supabul

AMD and retailers rip folk off with these ATI 7970 graphics cards the cheapest I found was 540 MS can probably get these mass produced in high quantities a lot cheaper and sell the next Xbox for 399

guitarist1980
guitarist1980

Interesting.. Well heres hoping they can squeeze a 7950ish GPU in there.. There is no way in hell there getting a full blown 7970 in a console box. It will be probably be more along the lines of a 7850.. if even that. I am glad they went the PowerPC route instead of an AMD x86 cpu. Rumor was they were going AMD for cpu also.

Ravenoussd
Ravenoussd

sooner the better...pc games are being held back graphically by these consoles