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Microsoft and IBM's franken-CPU detailed

Prior to this year's E3 event in Los Angeles, there were a number of photos leaked claiming to be pictures of the new 360 S motherboard.

These photos ended up being the real deal and the one major highlight was a single chip solution. Speculation at the time ran wild as rumors of a hybrid GPU/CPU in the new 360 model surfaced.

Moving to a single chip solution meant that Microsoft had been secretly working on a permanent fix to the RROD problem.

This week, Microsoft unveiled the specs of the new chip and it is quite an engineering feat.

The chip requires 60% less power and is 50% smaller than the original CPU/GPU. Less power consumption means less heat which SHOULD effectively solve the unfortunate RROD problem in older consoles.

There is one interesting detail to note here. The CPU contains an FSB (Front-Side Bus) Limiter. What this does is slows down the CPU to match the performance of the original 360 models. If this FSB Limiter can be "unlocked" by software for future titles, this may be Microsoft's ace up its sleeve for years to come.

Despite Sony claiming a 10 year life cycle for the current PS3 hardware, an article on Neowin.net suggests otherwise.

The Playstation 4 has been predicted by many gaming-industry analysts, and rumors suggest it will be  released in 2012 - when the current Playstation 3 turns 6.

While Sony and Nintendo are secretly working on new hardware, Microsoft just may have snuck in through the backdoor with a killer CPU/GPU combo. There's no word on the performance of the chip without the FSB limiter and it's effect on games however, it's nice to know there's a tank of NOS under the hood. Whether or not Microsoft decides to use the processing boost is the important question.

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