Microsoft and IBM finally revealed how the new two-in-one Xbox 360 chip looks like. It’s built using a 45nm manufacturing process, has 372 million transistors and is smaller, cheaper and less power hungry.
The latest Xbox 360 core packs both the GPU and the CPU on its board. The new chip, codenamed Vejle, uses a FSB replacement block instead of high-bandwidth connection between the CPU and GPU. Its purpose is to create the exact latency and bandwidth as the previous bus connection between the older and separate GPU and CPU chips. Otherwise the new Xbox 360 would have been faster but will create unwanted segmentation in the Xbox family.
Here is a scheme of the new Vejle two-headed chip:
The new Xbox 360 consumes only 135W of power, compared to the previous Jasper and Falcon generations, which consumed 150W and 175W respectively. The original Xenon revision required at least 200W power supply.
Let’s wrap it up – Vejle dual-head chip packs both the GPU and the three-core CPU, connected via limited bandwidth FSB. It’s small, cheaper, requires less power and is more capable of its predecessors in theory, but equaled to them because of the crippled CPU/GPU connection.
Here is the evolution of Xbox 360 hardware since 2005:
It’s unclear what will be the future of Xbox 360 hardware. I’m not sure if there will be a next one. Microsoft claims there is a lot of juice on Xbox 360 and it’s nowhere near the end of its lifecycle, so I guess we’ll be seeing more upgrades.