Xbox 360 getting new CPU

Chartered Semiconductor announces new deal to make smaller 65mm-process chip for Microsoft's next-gen console.

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One of the most common consumer complaints about the next-gen console is that its graphics capability requires a central processing unit which needs to be cooled by a constantly running, less-than-stealthy ventilation system. In other words, its fan is loud.

Some disgruntled consumers have even compared the 360's fan to a Blackhawk helicopter. Those same consumers will welcome today's news that the Xbox 360 is getting a new CPU which runs at lower temperature. Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing has announced it will begin making the Xbox 360's CPU using a 65-nanometer (nm) Silicon-on-Insulator (SOI) semiconductor technology. Currently, the Singapore-based hardware manufacturer company makes 90nm Xbox 360 CPUs under an agreement with IBM, designer of the CPU. The first Xbox 360s with the new CPU will go on sale in 2007.

For laymen, the change means that the new 65mm Xbox 360 CPUs will have more chips per wafer--which means lower energy requirements, lower heat output, and cheaper chip production costs. That is music to Microsoft's ears. "We look forward to working with Chartered on the production of such an important component of our Xbox 360 system," said Larry Yang, General Manager of Xbox Console Development at Microsoft.

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