Feeds

IBM shows Xbox chip but won’t speak its name

Three speedy cores

IBM has helped Microsoft do the impossible and deliver a product on time. Big Blue today revealed specifications for the unnamed processor that will slot into Microsoft’s Xbox 360 game console due out on Nov. 22, at the Fall Processor Forum here.

The rather fancy, custom chip boasts three processor cores each running at 3.2GHz. The cores, based on the PowerPC design, connect into a shared 1MB L2 cache. Overall, the chip has 165m transistors, takes up 168 sq. mm of space and was built with a 90nm manufacturing process.

IBM is quite proud that it delivered the product in less than 24 months after signing a deal with Microsoft in the fall of 2003. With the new chip on its side, Microsoft has a serious workhorse for cranking through game code.

Both IBM and Chartered Semiconductors are fabricating the processors, which is an usual move but one that Jeff Brown, chief engineer of the project for IBM, said benefited the short delivery timetable. IBM could see which plant produced the best parts and figure out which errors were the result of the manufacturing process and which were design problems.

"Having two foundries actually gave us products back quicker than if we had gone with one," Brown said. "We were able to compare very precisely the results we got off of them and this improved the yields at both foundries."

Brown refused to disclose the code-name of the processor or to say how much power it consumed.

Microsoft expects to begin shipping the new Xbox at a price of $299. Its use of IBM chips serves as a nice win for IBM after it lost Apple this year to Intel. ®

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.