CES 2001: Microsoft Unveils the Xbox Console

Bill Gates and Microsoft roll out the final design for the Xbox console.

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Microsoft has officially unveiled the final design of its Xbox console at a press conference held during the ongoing Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. At his keynote speech this morning Microsoft chairman Bill Gates showed the finished design of the Xbox console and controller. As seen in the screenshots, the practically boxy design of the console itself is highlighted by a sprawling, dark X, which covers most of the area on the topside of the unit. The four controller ports and the roll-out loading tray is on the front panel, while the rear of the console houses an Ethernet port, a digital video output, and power ports.

"Xbox is the future of video gaming," Gates said. "With its breakthrough technology and incredible graphics capabilities, Xbox will set the standard in gaming for years to come. It enables game designers to create a whole new world of game playing experiences that will captivate the imagination and competitive spirit of gamers like no other console."

Peripheral features on the Xbox includes complete Ethernet and broadband support, the ability to create custom game soundtracks using regular music CDs and perhaps downloaded MP3 files, available V-chip-like parental controls, and downloadable game extras such as new tracks, levels, or characters using the console's hard drive.

Inside the box, the console houses an Intel 733MHz Pentium III CPU and Nvidia NV2a 250MHz graphics processor. Additionally, it has 64MB of unified RAM, 8GB hard drive, 256 audio channels and 64 3D audio channels, HDTV movie and game support, 1920x1080 max resolution, the support of four simultaneous textures with 4.0GB/Sec pixel fill rate, and MIDI and DLS support. According to Microsoft, the Xbox specifications have been finalized and the company does not expect to make further performance tweaks. The Xbox is reportedly capable of delivering 125 million raw polygons per second.

GameSpot will have continuing coverage of the Xbox hardware from CES. In the meantime, you can discuss the Xbox design and specifications at the new GameSpot Xbox forum.

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