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Microsoft Could Be Prepping XBox 360 Refresh

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News Posted: Wed, Mar 17 2010 8:58 PM
The hardware specifications for the components in the XBox 360 or Playstation 3 may not have changed since launch day, but semiconductor manufacturing has advanced significantly. Supposedly leaked photos of a new XBox 360 motherboard indicate that Microsoft could be poised to take advantage of that fact. If the image is real (and it might not be), Microsoft has redesigned the XBox's motherboard from the ground up.


Image by Kotaku.com

Above we have the leaked photo, below we have the XBox 360 motherboard as its more-or-less appeared to date.



The major difference between the two is the position of the GPU. We've known Microsoft was working on a combined-package for the CPU+GPU for awhile; the jump appears to have substantially cut the necessary motherboard size. Note that this marriage of CPU and GPU is often inaccurately referred to as 'on-die.' IBM has almost certainly opted for an 'on-package' approach in which distinct physical chips sit side by side. This is the same approach Intel currently uses for its Core i3/i5 processors.

There's always the risk that bringing the two parts closer together could create heat problems (again), but the chances of that happening are small. Both the Xenon CPU and ATI's Xenos GPU will be built on a 45nm process and will consequently generate much less heat than the original XBox 360, in which both parts were built on 90nm technology. Unit power consumption (and fan noise) should both drop as well, but it's too early to predict how much.

It's possible that we'll see a new XBox Slim debut simultaneously with Project Natal when Microsoft launches it later this year.
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slugbug replied on Wed, Mar 17 2010 9:12 PM

The way I see it there is no point in releasing a slim version unless it has something new like blu ray and accepts a standard 2.5" SATA hard drive.

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acarzt replied on Wed, Mar 17 2010 9:16 PM

I like how RROD is a tag lol

But more on topic, if that is the new board, it's about the size of a micro ITX board which will make the 360 tiny! Which would be pretty great.

I'd pick one up... if my Elite dies lol

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la_guy_10 replied on Wed, Mar 17 2010 9:42 PM

I like the new Motherboard it has a much cleaner look to it. I agree there should be no more RROD with the GPU and CPU going from 90nm to 45nm. Also it does not hurt to have that big quality name cooler master supplying the heatsink.

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I wonder, how will this go over with older gen 360 owners? Maybe we can have a trade-in deal if these pics are legit. 

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Kyouya replied on Wed, Mar 17 2010 10:17 PM

I'm gonna say it is too little too late for Microsoft to make these changes. If they made these changes earlier, they could have gained tremendous market share over Sony. They won't admit it but RROD hurt them pretty badly...about more than 1 billion times over.

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Inspector replied on Wed, Mar 17 2010 10:44 PM

they better have trade in deals xD i want the latest tech (Xbox) :P

The RROD thing did affect them and lost sales because of this. Looking foward to see if this is legit and if they have some trade in deals :P

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Microsoft most likely wouldn't have had RROD issues if they would have done better R&D on their product. But they just HAD to launch the 360 before the Wii and PS3 hit the markets to get that share holder spot. 

It bit them in the ass. I've been through five 360's already. I swear I got so frustrated at points because I thought it was a conspiracy. Every time my Xbox would fail it would be within weeks after my warranty expired. 

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gibbersome replied on Wed, Mar 17 2010 10:57 PM

Five?! Wow, all caused by RRODs?

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The first Xbox 360 I bought was at Circuit City, it was dead right out of the box. It was a failure straight out of the factory. I've had three RRoD and 1 Disc Drive failure. 

I am on my 6th Xbox. I bought the newer gen version with the HDMI just before Circuit City caved. I still have a year or two of warranty left. 

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acarzt replied on Thu, Mar 18 2010 12:17 AM

"I am on my 6th Xbox."

They keep dying and you keep buying them... I'd say microsoft's market share must be doing just fine lol

Regardless of the crappy hardware people will still buy them like crazy.

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rapid1 replied on Thu, Mar 18 2010 12:45 AM

I don't get a ref on this, why not make a new one the Xbox has been out for years now. Yeah they've done upgrade models etc, but I mean a whole new model, and maybe one which does not die at the 30-40% ratio.

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acarzt:

"I am on my 6th Xbox."

They keep dying and you keep buying them... I'd say microsoft's market share must be doing just fine lol

Regardless of the crappy hardware people will still buy them like crazy.

 

Microsoft has actually lost more than they are willing to say due to millions of Xbox's biting the dust. I have received over $200 in return money because of their screw ups with the systems. Basically, they had to overhaul then entire manufacturing method, which cost them a pretty penny. I may be on my 6th Xbox, but I haven't actually bought 6 of them. 

My data may be off, but I think they suffered a 40% profit loss in 2008 due to the growing manifestations of broken 360's. 

 

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AKwyn replied on Thu, Mar 18 2010 7:48 AM

I'm bought an Xbox 360 in 2006 and I've only had it RRoD once, guess I'm one of the lucky ones.

Still, a more reliable, quieter, cooler Xbox 360 sounds so much cooler then my 4 year old Xbox 360 but the ironic dilemma is that mine still works strong as the day I bought it and by the time it finally dies, the Xbox 720 will be out in store shelves.

 

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Oh I'm sure their working on the next gen Xbox rapid, the same as Sony is working on the PS4 and Nintendo is workng on their next system. The thing is, as games take longer and longer to make and advanced systems cost more to design and sell at a larger lose when they are released, the systems have to be on the market for longer to make profits. The Wii, well it is fine. The PS3 and 360 are a different story.

If I remember right the target was 8~10 years for the 360. You can start hoping for a replacement to come out sometime in late 2012. Project Natal might push that back to 2014, depending on what it offers.

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3vi1 replied on Thu, Mar 18 2010 8:08 AM

This is a game that Sony has always played well. In addition to the smaller form-factor PS1 and PS2's, the boards in each of the original systems were simplified multiple times to move components to one side and simplify the design for cost purposes.

I personally won't be buying the next gen MS console. My original XBox had one of the crappy Phillips drives that failed, and my 360 had the RROD (and I paid them to fix it before they ever acknowledged that as a mass problem). Their other hardware peripherals might be good, but I don't think they put enough consideration into longevity of their consoles.

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TaylorKarras:

I'm bought an Xbox 360 in 2006 and I've only had it RRoD once, guess I'm one of the lucky ones.

Still, a more reliable, quieter, cooler Xbox 360 sounds so much cooler then my 4 year old Xbox 360 but the ironic dilemma is that mine still works strong as the day I bought it and by the time it finally dies, the Xbox 720 will be out in store shelves.

Sounds like you're in the same boat as I.  Mine Red ringed once and it was replaced fairly quickly through the return process, however I got a beat up 360 in the place of my perfect condition one, which pissed me off because I take care of my gear.  But all in all, I don't plan to buy another 360 and mine is also from launch day.

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"This is the same approach Intel currently uses for its Core i3/i5 processors."

I don't know how great THAT will work out; a recent PC Magazine article I read benchmarked the GPU on the i3, and it got a zero score on 3DMark or something like that...

"My original XBox had one of the crappy Phillips drives that failed"

True that! I went through three of those things, and guess what made me replace? Yup, each single one has had a disc read failure by now! (But, slightly off-topic, if you want a really crappy optical drive maker, try Samsung. They've got great LCDs but pretty crappy optical drives.)

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slugbug replied on Thu, Mar 18 2010 2:42 PM

I'm on my 6th as well. All have failed with the RROD problem and replacements seem to last no more than 4-5 months.

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I think if i had one that rrod on me, i would be pissed! and after 3 i would just give up. I still have my gen 1 PS3 though 

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acarzt replied on Thu, Mar 18 2010 7:20 PM

I had a launch day 360 that lasted me until the Elite came out and then it RROD'd. I bought an extended warranty on my 360 because I was smart enough to anticipate potential failure of a BRAND NEW technology lol.

I was sent a gift card for the original purchase price of my 360(minus the warranty of course) Put it towards and elite and paid the difference.

:-)

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AKwyn replied on Thu, Mar 18 2010 11:29 PM

The Xbox 360 has a Xenos GPU. The Intel CPU has Integrated Graphics that aren't really as powerful as a high-end or even middle-end GeForce or Radeon. But still, it'll work out because they've got a pretty powerful GPU there.

 

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RyuGTX replied on Fri, Mar 19 2010 5:00 AM

It would be great if it fixed all the heating issues and brought the cost down a lot. If costs go down, then it might be more in line with the Wii. Kind of like what Sony did with their PS3 Slim. Microsoft can replace units that suffer from the RROD with this new version that has a (hopefully) far lower rate of failure. Thus they lose less money. If this new design brings down costs, Microsoft can get more people to buy, like people that are on the fence for a new system. I'm sure there are a lot of people like me who still don't own a Xbox 360 and something like a price drop would incite me to finally buy one. The PS3 Slim did that for me.

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Is the xbox360 worth buying

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rapid1 replied on Fri, Mar 19 2010 11:39 AM

Yeah but my argument here is this, if the design is bad, and the company has to replace at a minimum 1 out of every 3 devices sold, they will never get it to profitability. That is no matter if it takes 10 years or one on the initial outlook. This is because there are more on store shelves of any specific item ever sold. That is of course until they close it out, and withdraw support. After that happens they don't have to replace failures anymore, plus the devices are already owned by whatever retail outlet has it.

However; with a design failure ratio this high (and it may even be more like 1-1 which is 50% rather than 33%), this device will not gain profitability as long as support is active on it. It will just keep loosing money. So if they made a new version that was solid (which they could have been doing R&D on from day 1 of year 2), then withdraw support for old models, and or replace failures with the new model. They would draw positive somewhere between the third quarter to the second year second quarter for all devices.

This is because with a solid device they would not have the loss to figure in. Plus you know how it goes when a devices components become old, and are no longer used in any other current device they get more expensive. I imagine that started on day sometime in year two for this one, as fast as products have been replaced by the market in the last 5 years.

So Microsoft will never catch up to a positive ratio on this as long as there putting them out. As for buying anything over 2 of any device I have ever bought that died like these do I can only ask why. If I bought anything even a specific Calculator model from a certain manufacturer, and it failed like these I definitely would never buy another one, and most likely would quit using the specific brand as well.

I very rarely hear of a PS3 failing. I also don't do consoles so it is no big deal to me anyway. Buying that many of a death trap device like these makes no sense to me. I mean if you just like giving away money I can give you my address, from what I've heard Bill Gates will never miss it anyway.

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RyuGTX replied on Fri, Mar 19 2010 4:23 PM

twistedfate:

Is the xbox360 worth buying

It really depends on you. If you have enough games that you think you would like that are Xbox 360 only, then it could be worth it.

Personally, I don't have a game that I can name that is Xbox 360 exclusive that I really want to play.

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la_guy_10 replied on Fri, Mar 19 2010 10:13 PM

Yea twistedfate I would say they are good to go. They did a refresh on them, I believe it was last year where they changed a few things around to provide better cooling. I think with this major refresh and the recall behind them the kinks are pretty much ironed out.

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RyuGTX replied on Sat, Mar 20 2010 5:16 AM

la_guy_10:

Yea twistedfate I would say they are good to go. They did a refresh on them, I believe it was last year where they changed a few things around to provide better cooling. I think with this major refresh and the recall behind them the kinks are pretty much ironed out.

 

Yup, they introduced "Jasper" at the end of 2008.

Here's a nice little chart I copied about the Xbox 360 revisions.

Xbox 360 Revision CPU GPU eDRAM
Xenon/Zephyr 90nm 90nm 90nm
Falcon/Opus 65nm 80nm 80nm
Jasper 65nm 65nm 80nm

 

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Now if it had a BR player and 3D capabilities and didn't red ring all over the place, I would buy one!

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serious96 replied on Sat, Mar 20 2010 8:26 PM

somehow the leaked motherboard is just to simple, and have less capacitor than the old board.

and the place of the cooler to, so that mean there will be a vent on the top of case huh?

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RyuGTX replied on Sun, Mar 21 2010 12:22 AM

animatortom:

Now if it had a BR player and 3D capabilities and didn't red ring all over the place, I would buy one!

It would also cost more too. How much are you willing to pay for those extra features?

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Joel H replied on Sun, Mar 21 2010 7:34 PM

Serious96,

That's the entire point of a process shrink when you arent' changing any of the hardware. You're able to do more with simplified layouts.

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Wow, Microsoft likes to keep dishing out new motherboards, I wonder what miracles this new motherboard can achieve. I wonder how long it will be until these motherboards start being shipped with the new xboxs.

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Fargbus replied on Tue, Mar 23 2010 5:34 PM

I've owned three Xboxes and I have had a red ring of death on all three of them, but was able to fix the last one.

 

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