IBM's xBox Chip - What Could Have Been

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by rdowns, Oct 25, 2005.

  1. rdowns macrumors Penryn


    Jul 11, 2003

    SAN JOSE, CA--(MARKET WIRE)--Oct 25, 2005 -- At Fall Processor Forum in San Jose, California today, IBM announced the custom designed microprocessor built for Microsoft's Xbox 360 console is in production at the company's East Fishkill, N.Y. fab and at Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing in Singapore. Together, IBM and Chartered's common platform offers Microsoft a unique dual-source capability that provides the highest level of manufacturing redundancy and flexibility.......

    The chip features a customized version of IBM's industry leading 64-bit PowerPC core. The chip includes three of these cores, each with two simultaneous threads and clock speeds greater than 3 GHz. It features 165 million transistors and is fabricated using IBM's 90 nanometer Silicon on Insulator (SOI) technology to reduce heat and improve performance. The chip's innovative 21.6 GB/s Front Side Bus (FSB) Architecture was customized to meet the demanding throughput and latency requirements of the Xbox 360 gaming platform software.

    Other Xbox 360 chip features include:

    -- 3 identical multi-threaded PowerPC-based CPU cores operating at 3.2 GHz enhanced with specialized function VMX acceleration for gaming applications and a high speed 128-bit vector unit

    -- 1 MByte Shared L2 Cache with custom logic for high-speed data streaming for graphics and system applications

    -- 5.4 Gb/s per-pin Front Side Bus (with an aggregated bandwidth of 21.6 GBs)

    -- Highly configurable and programmable utilizing eFUSE technology
  2. FireArse macrumors 6502a

    Oct 29, 2004
    What MS software will be on there?

    Are they likely to run a smal OS on there? (xBox 360) What is the world coming to - Windows being compiled on PPC, and OS X being compiled on x86.

    I think its a shame the next PM isn't using a quad core quad chip PPC solution. Intel had better make some good chips......
  3. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus


    Jul 24, 2002
    It should be noted that those core are significantly less advanced than a single G5 core. They are (iirc) single issue in-order execution cores. This would dramatically reduce performance when used as a general purpose CPU.
  4. rosalindavenue macrumors 6502a


    Dec 13, 2003
    Virginia, USA
    I'm just glad to hear that IBM was able to get some kind of G5, no matter how limited, to 3 Ghz. :rolleyes: I also hope that microsoft paid plenty of attention to cooling; if the new xbox runs as hot as a G5 there are going to be lots of BTUs around dry Christmas trees this winter, if you know what I'm saying. :eek:
  5. dmw007 macrumors G4


    May 26, 2005
    Working for MI-6
    Sweet! :D
    I am definitely going to have to buy one of these things for Christmas! :)
  6. jane doe macrumors 6502

    Feb 18, 2004
    Its important to remember that this PPC chip that IBM produced for the Xbox does not contain all the instructions as the G5. Its not really the same chip.

    The problem is not producing a 3Ghz chip, its doing it in a way that makes it usable to Apple. Heat and power usage are the problems with a 3.0Ghz 970. IBM found its easier to make dual core, slower clocked to get the same performance then it is to ratchet up the clock speed and produce more heat.
  7. shadowmoses macrumors 68000


    Mar 6, 2005
    The 360 is gonna be one beast of a machine, although i am not going to buy and of the nextgen consoles until they have all been released for at least a year, so i can evaluate the situation....Besides my XBOX is tiding me over very nicely....

  8. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    See what million and million in unit volume buys you. :eek:

    While Apple got stuck with a hot/power hungry Rube Goldberg-like device, that had the embedded customers who came to look at the new chip run screaming for the hills when they found out what it would take to redesign a board for the new chip.

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