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GAMING

Xbox 360: Before Next Gen
By: Developer Shed
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    2005-11-22

    Table of Contents:
  • Xbox 360: Before Next Gen
  • Features Good and Vile
  • The First Games Arrive
  • Next-Gen Too Soon?
  • We Still Have to Wait

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    Xbox 360: Before Next Gen


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    Microsoft’s next-generation Xbox 360 is due to release today, with responses so far ranging from enthusiastic to completely indifferent. The Xbox 360 touts some of the most impressive hardware we’ve even seen in a gaming machine, even putting some gaming PC to shame. Even so, many are wondering if all the extra horsepower of the 360 promises a truly better gaming system.

    Microsoft is unleashing their next-gen system, just in time for a holiday buying frenzy. They have foregone much normal publicity, but have certainly generated attention from their plans to have massive supply shortages. Press scares aside, the Xbox 360 offers a few improvements on the original Xbox.

    The Xbox 360 claims attention with a few new features. But primarily, it will be sold for the new hardware rig. It has some impressive hardware specs that could shame decent gaming PCs. To get the obligatory details out of the way, let’s take a look at the 360 hardware:

     

    Xbox 360

    Xbox

    Playstation 3

    Processor

    IBM PowerPC

    3.2 GHz
    1MB L2 Cache
    6 Threads (from 3 Hyperthreaded Cores)

    Intel P3 Celeron

    733 MHz
    128KB L2 Cache
    1 Thread (from 1 Core)

    Cell Processor

    3.2 GHz
    512KB L2 Cache plus 256KB for each of 7 SPEs
    7 Threads (from 7 SPEs)

    Memory

    512 MB (Shared with graphics processor)

    64 MB (Shared with graphics processor)

    256MB

    Graphics

    ATI Custom GPU

    512 MB (Shared with system memory)
    500MHz Core Clock

    Nvidia GPU based on NV15

    64MB (Shared with system memory)
    233 MHz Core Clock

    Nvidia RSX based on G70

    256MB
    550 MHz Core Clock

    Resolution

    480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i

    480p, 480i, 720p, 1080i

    480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p

    Hard Drive

    20 GB

    8 GB

    Removable Hard Drive

    Media

    Dual-Layer DVD-ROM

    DVD-ROM

    Bluray

    Supposedly, the new hardware configuration is supposed to give the 360 roughly 10 times the graphic power of its predecessor. While we know that raw power doesn’t mean great games, it does mean that Xbox 360 can handle pretty much anything game developers can throw at it for a while.

    The Playstation 3 will make another powerful next-gen system. Since both processors and graphics cards are essentially custom jobs and they use different memory configurations, it’s really not possible to say one will trample the other in all-out gaming specs. They are both strong looking systems at this point, and either one should play the next generation of games outstandingly.

    That said, these game systems will have a lot to prove initially. Many are asking if the Xbox 360 is really making games any better. So what else is Microsoft doing?

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