Feeds

Microsoft's own chip design blamed for Xbox 360 RRoD

Should have gone to a specialist

The essential guide to IT transformation

The Xbox 360's infamous Red Ring of Death problem was the price Microsoft paid for attempting to save money by designing its own graphics chip for the console rather than buy one off a specialist supplier, it has been claimed.

Speaking at a chip conference in California, Gartner chief analyst Bryan Lewis said the software giant created the console's graphics engine itself in a bid to reduce the cost of producing the console, EETimes reports.

Had the company gone to a company like AMD or Nvidia in the first place, he suggested, it would probably have avoided the problem. A graphics specialst, he said, would have been able to come up with a GPU that pumped out a lot less heat.

Overheating was fingered early on as the cause of the RRoD failure.

In 2007, Microsoft said it would spend $1bn to fix Xbox 360s suffering from the RRoD.

Microsoft has never given specific details for the reason for the failure. When it announced the $1bn charge, Xbox chief Robbie Bach it said the issue was not related to the console's manufacturing and hinted it was the result of a "Microsoft-initiated design".

Lewis claimed that Microsoft subsequently called on a graphics chip maker - no, he didn't say which one - to fix the problem. It's believed that AMD got the gig, having acquired GPU maker ATI.

It was ATI's 'R500' GPU that was the basis for the Xbox 360 graphics engine. Certainly, ATI was always claimed to be the Xbox 360 GPU supplier - it said as much itself back in 2003.

"We selected ATI after reviewing the top graphics technologies in development and determining that ATI's technical vision fits perfectly with the future direction of Xbox," said Bach at the time.

When the 360 was finally released and able to be taken apart, pundits found both the console's GPU and CPU stamped with Microsoft logos. Essentially, Microsoft took ATI's design, added some extra bits and sent to out to manufacturing.

Last month, it was claimed that Microsoft ordered its first 65nm graphics chip, believed to be intended for use in a further revision of the Xbox 360, codenamed 'Jasper' and due this summer.

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Apple's iWatch? They cannae do it ... they don't have the POWER
Analyst predicts fanbois will have to wait until next year
AMD unveils 'single purpose' graphics card for PC gamers and NO ONE else
Chip maker claims the Radeon R9 285 is 'best in its class'
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Apple to build WORLD'S BIGGEST iStore in Dubai
It's not the size of your shiny-shiny...
Just in case? Unverified 'supersize me' iPhone 6 pics in sneak leak peek
Is bigger necessarily better for the fruity firm's flagship phone?
Steve Jobs had BETTER BALLS than Atari, says Apple mouse designer
Xerox? Pff, not even in the same league as His Jobsiness
Leak: Intel readies next round of NUC
Cheap boxen to get a refresh
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?