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Xbox 360 "Falcon" (w/ smaller 65nm chips) to dive-bomb PS3

Discussion in 'ATI' started by AirRaid, Jul 9, 2007.

  1. AirRaid

    AirRaid Guest

    http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=7972

    Xbox 360 to Get 65nm "Falcon" Makeover This Fall
    Brandon Hill (Blog) - July 9, 2007 2:17 PM

    "Yippee-ki-yay, Mr. Falcon." Microsoft prepares 65nm chips for Xbox
    360

    When it comes to Microsoft's Xbox 360, Dean Takahashi always seems to
    have the inside scoop.

    Today, Takahashi confirmed that Microsoft's upcoming 65nm die shrink
    for the Xbox 360's microprocessor and GPU will is codenamed "Falcon."
    Takahashi reports that Microsoft is currently qualifying the new
    Falcon chips along with a redesigned motherboard. The 65nm-equipped
    Xbox 360s are due to hit store shelves this fall.

    The new chips are not only smaller and roughly 50 percent cheaper to
    produce than their 90nm counterpart, but they are also cooler. Cooler-
    running chips coupled with a revised cooling solution would go a long
    way to eradicating the Xbox 360's fatal flaw: the Red Ring of Death
    (RROD).

    Heat has been a big problem with the Xbox 360 and has been the root
    cause of RROD cases around the globe. Microsoft has countered the RROD
    failures by increasing the warranty of the console, adding various
    "warranty enhancements" and beefed up cooling solutions on new
    production Xbox 360 units.

    Microsoft ultimately caved in to mounting pressure from the Xbox 360
    community on RROD failures and announced a $1 billion initiative to
    service Xbox 360s afflicted with the problem and extended warranty
    coverage for those machines to three years.






    http://blogs.mercurynews.com/aei/2007/07/microsofts_next_move_code-name_falcon.html


    Microsoft's next move? Code-name Falcon

    By Dean Takahashi
    Monday, July 9th, 2007 at 12:02 am in General.

    Here's a trade secret that Microsoft is unlikely to publicly
    acknowledge.

    Sony's cutting the price on the PlayStation 3. How will Microsoft
    react? We'll find out soon. But a key part of the strategy is going to
    be a project code-named Falcon.

    Falcon is the name for the latest internal electronics in the Xbox
    360. It will have an IBM microprocessor and an AMD/ATI graphics chip
    that are manufactured in a 65-nanometer production process. These are
    cost-reduced chips that do the same thing as their 90-nanometer
    predecessors, but they're smaller.

    With smaller chips, Microsoft gets a bunch of benefits. They won't
    generate as much heat. So the risks of overheating - one of the main
    reasons behind Microsoft's billion-dollar write-off for repairs and
    extended warranties - are much lower. The chips may also cost half of
    what it took to make them before because they use less material and
    fewer manufacturing steps to produce.

    Everyone knows that console makers cut the prices and costs on their
    consoles over time. But you may not be aware that the primary chips -
    microprocessor, graphics, and the Ana video processing chip - are the
    bulk of the cost of the machine. Microsoft started making the Xbox
    360s in August, 2005, with a 90-nanometer process. It is overdue to
    switch to the newest technology, 65 nanometers, but that day has
    finally come. It may be some time - a year, maybe two - before it
    moves on the a 45-nanometer process.

    But it's worth it. I recall that Ken Kutaragi said that by moving
    along the semiconductor manufacturing cost curve with the PlayStation
    2, Sony was able to reduce the size - and therefore cost - of the
    PlayStation 2's original chips to just 13 percent of the original over
    the life cycle of the PS 2.

    If you cut the costs on the chips, you can cut the overall cost of the
    system. You get ancillary benefits such as using a smaller
    motherboard, more air flow inside the console, and the ability to take
    the big giant power supply in the Xbox 360's power brick and put it
    inside the console.

    Microsoft is in the process of qualifying the new Falcon chips and
    motherboard this summer. I expect it will launch Xbox 360s with the
    new Falcon innards this fall. That is why the company has been able to
    say that it has solved its manufacturing quality problems. Microsoft
    is likely to spend a little more money on heat sinks to make sure that
    the overheating problem doesn't resurface with Falcon.

    The good thing about the smaller chips is that they will likely be
    easier to make in mass quantities and they shouldn't fail as often.
    Quality should automatically go up. That's what folks said about the
    90-nanometer generation. But the 65-nanometer production process is a
    known quantity at this point at places such as IBM for sure and
    possibly at other suppliers such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing
    Co. So rather than fix the problems with the 90-nanometer machine,
    Microsoft has the easier problem now of getting a 65-nanometer machine
    to work right. I suspect that is why Robbie Bach, president of the
    Entertainment & Devices group, said on Thursday on a conference call
    with analysts that the company has "its hands around it at the
    engineering level."

    But once this machine is in the field, Microsoft will have a few
    options. It can take the power brick and put it inside the same
    chassis. It can also make a smaller version of the core, but this
    involves considerable redesign and retooling resources. And it could
    also beef up the console and make room for more costly things - as it
    did with the Elite.

    It's anybody's guess as to what Microsoft will do with the Falcon as
    its base platform going forward. But Sony had better watch out.
    Microsoft is moving ahead of Sony on the cost-reduction curve. It
    would be risky for Sony to get into a price war with Microsoft.

    Now it's easier to see why Microsoft still expects to be profitable in
    fiscal 2008 with the Xbox 360 business. In this fiscal year, Microsoft
    will introduce a major cost reduction with the Falcon platform. It
    will launch Halo 3. And it has already written off in fiscal 2007 the
    costs of repairing consoles for the next few years.

    Falcon is a fundamental part of the strategy that Microsoft is using
    to try to beat Sony. Is it going to be good enough to beat Nintendo on
    costs? Very doubtful. Nintendo can play the cost-reduction game just
    as Microsoft can. Falcon certainly means that Microsoft can afford to
    cut the price of the Xbox 360 going forward. Whether it does so
    depends on how aggressive it wants to be at winning the lead market
    share in the business. But everyone knows that if you cut your
    hardware price too much, you lose money. After all, Microsoft lost an
    estimated $3.7 billion on the original Xbox.

    When I asked David Hufford, a Microsoft spokesman, about Falcon on
    Friday, he said I was telling him something new. When I asked Peter
    Moore, head of games at Microsoft, about Falcon on Thursday, he said,
    "We have a bunch of different projects that cost reduce and improve
    quality as you find issues, as does our competition. Once you get
    millions in the field, you learn about the box under all kinds of
    different circumstances, you can adjust and tweak what you do
    accordingly."



    http://www.gamesindustry.biz/content_page.php?aid=26521

    Microsoft develops new Xbox 360 chipset

    Mark Androvich 18:51 (BST) 09/07/2007

    Reduces overheating risk, cuts costs

    Microsoft has developed a smaller chipset for the Xbox 360, allowing
    the manufacturer to cut production costs.

    Dean Takahasi, writing in the San Jose Mercury News, reports that
    Microsoft's new chipset is code-named "Falcon."

    The new chipset has an IBM microprocessor and an AMD/ATI graphics chip
    that are both manufactured in a 65-nanometer production process. The
    original chipset was manufactured in a 90-nanometer process.

    The smaller chipset both reduces the risk of overheating and lowers
    the production costs associated with the Xbox 360.

    Microsoft has not yet officially announced an Xbox 360 price
    reduction, although the move is expected by many analysts, including
    Michael Pachter.

    The "Falcon" chipset redesign would certainly be a step towards a
    price reduction. The Xbox 360 has now been on the market for nearly 20
    months without a drop in price.




    http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=14609


    July 9, 2007

    Report: Microsoft Looks To Cheaper Chips To Lower Xbox 360 Costs

    Report: Microsoft Looks To Cheaper Chips To Lower Xbox 360 Costs San
    Jose Mercury News journalist Dean Takahashi has reported that
    Microsoft could be looking to a new internally redesigned Xbox 360,
    codenamed 'Falcon,' as a means to not only reduce production costs,
    but also reduce the console's price at the retail level as well.

    According to the report, Microsoft plans to replace its current 90-
    nanometer chip manufacturing process with a less costly 65-nanometer
    process, resulting in smaller, more efficient microprocessors and
    graphics chips for the Xbox 360.

    The result, according to Takahashi, will be internal electronics that
    generate less heat, and thus result in consoles that are less prone to
    the infamous 'red ring' general hardware failure error, the driver
    behind Microsoft's recent warranty extension. The 65-nanometer
    technology also makes for much more possible room within the Xbox 360
    hardware, which the report speculates could be used to house the
    console's current brick-style power supply in future models.

    In addition, as the chips themselves make up the bulk of the console's
    manufacturing costs, the savings from the shift to the new process
    could eventually be passed along to the consumer by way of a less
    expensive Xbox 360.

    When questioned about the Falcon project, Microsoft's Peter Moore
    declined to confirm such an initiative, instead telling Takahashi, "We
    have a bunch of different projects that cost reduce and improve
    quality as you find issues, as does our competition. Once you get
    millions in the field, you learn about the box under all kinds of
    different circumstances, you can adjust and tweak what you do
    accordingly."
    POSTED: 09.29AM PST, 07/09/07 - Jason Dobson




    http://news.teamxbox.com/xbox/13892/Codename-Falcon-Xbox-360-Gets-65nm-Chips/

    Code-name Falcon: Xbox 360 Gets 65nm Chips
    By: César A. Berardini - "Cesar"
    Jul. 9th, 2007 9:09 am

    E3 Media & Business Summit 2007

    Dean Takahashi has the scoop on the updated Xbox 360 system that will
    finally make use of the microchips built using the a 65-nanometer
    manufacturing process:

    Falcon is the name for the latest internal electronics in the Xbox
    360. It will have an IBM microprocessor and an AMD/ATI graphics chip
    that are manufactured in a 65-nanometer production process. These are
    cost-reduced chips that do the same thing as their 90-nanometer
    predecessors, but they're smaller.

    With smaller chips, Microsoft gets a bunch of benefits. They won't
    generate as much heat. So the risks of overheating - one of the main
    reasons behind Microsoft's billion-dollar write-off for repairs and
    extended warranties - are much lower. The chips may also cost half of
    what it took to make them before because they use less material and
    fewer manufacturing steps to produce.




    http://www.next-gen.biz/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=6298&Itemid=2

    Microsoft Readies Lower-Cost 360

    Microsoft is reportedly readying a revised version of the Xbox 360,
    codenamed 'Falcon', in a bid to reduce production costs.

    According to a Mercury News report, (a reputable source of Xbox news)
    Microsoft will switch to a 65-nanometer production process, meaning
    new consoles will feature smaller microprocessors and graphics chips
    as opposed to the 90-nanometer processors found in current models.


    The smaller, more cost-efficient 360 innards will add a range of
    benefits to the system, while lower production costs would also
    facilitate any plans for a future price drop.


    If these new production methods are implemented, overall console
    reliability would be increased. The risk of overheating, an issue that
    has strongly been linked to the three red lights of death failure,
    would also be reduced, while more space would be freed up inside the
    console itself. The report speculates that this new space could be
    used to house the current brick of a power supply that comes with
    360s.


    Microsoft is reportedly in the process of qualifying the new Falcon
    chips and motherboard, with 360s containing Falcon innards expected to
    hit retail this fall.


    "We have a bunch of different projects that cost reduce and improve
    quality as you find issues, as does our competition. Once you get
    millions in the field, you learn about the box under all kinds of
    different circumstances, you can adjust and tweak what you do
    accordingly," said Peter Moore, head of games at Microsoft, when
    questioned about Falcon.
     
    AirRaid, Jul 9, 2007
    #1
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