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  * Microsoft Xbox 360 Specifications Leak
Time: 15:51 EST/20:51 GMT | News Source: | Posted By: Robert Stein

2 types of Xbox Live:
Xbox Live Silver (no subscription required)
Xbox Live Gold (subscription benefits)

Features for Gold service
* Also for Silver
# Also for Offline

- Seamless transition to Xbox Live account from Xbox to Xbox 360
- Access to MMOs (additional fees may apply) *
- Free Xbox Live weekends *
- Multiplayer online gameplay
- Avatar for gamer profile * #
- Motto for gamer profile * #
- Personalized look for Xbox System Guide * #
- Offline achievments * #
- Online achievements *
- Access to other players' Gamer cards via Live *
- Cumulative gamer score * #
- Location/language profile * #
- Reputation *
- Enahnced matchmaking using above
- Skill level matchmaking
- Gameplay style profile (casual, competitive, etc.)
- Recent players list *
- Free and premium download game content *
- Free and premium downloadable movies, music, tv *
- Downloadable demos/trailers *
- Microtransactions *
- Custom playlist in every game * #
- Play music from portable devices * #
- View images from digital camera * #
- Strem media from Windows XP * #
- Interactive screen savers * #
- Track info for CDs * #
- Communication with voice, video or text *

360 Hardware:
1. Support for DVD-video, DVD-Rom, DVD-R/RW, CD-DA, CD-Rom, CD-R, CD-RW, WMA CD, MP3 cd, JPEG photo CD
2. All games supported at 16:9, 720p and 1080i, anti-aliasing
3. Customizable face plates to change appearance
4. 3 USB 2.0 ports
5. Support for 4 wireless controllers
6. Detachable 20GB drive
7. Wi-Fi ready

Custom IBM PowerPC-based CPU
- 3 symmetrical cores at 3.2 GHz each
- 2 hardware threads per core
- 1 VMX-128 vector unit per core
- 1 MB L2 cache

CPU Game Math Performance
- 9 billion dots per second

Custom ATI Graphics Processor
- 500 MNz
- 10 MB embedded DRAM
- 48-way parallel floating-point shader pipelines
- unified shader architecture

- 700 MNz DDR

Memory Bandwidth
- 22.4 GB/s memory interface bus bandwidth
- 256 GB/s memory bandwidth to EDRAM
- 21.6 GB/s frontside bus

- Mulitchannel surround sond output
- Supports 48khz 16-bit audio
- 320 independent decompression channels
- 32 bit processing
- 256+ audio channels

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#1 By 9589 ( at 5/9/2005 5:15:43 PM
I am not a gamer myself, but an investor in Microsoft. This XBox is obviously technically superior to anything on the market today and will debut 4-6 months ahead of Sony's new game box. Microsoft is in 2d place with 15% of the gaming market (Nintendo is a wisp behind at 14% accroding to IDC). Microsoft hopes to garner 30-40% of the market with this new XBox. If they are succesfull, it will pull them almost even with Sony. That is impressive given this is their 2d generation offering. Of course, the games themselves drive this market and while Microsoft had the #2 game last year, new game acceptance is never a sure thing. Nevertheless, IDC gauges this market at $24B with it growing to $40B by 2008.

It would terrific if Sony got their butt handed to them. They've been kicking ours for several decades in every market that they have entered.

#2 By 37 ( at 5/9/2005 6:04:27 PM
Those specs and Live details are beyond awesome.

#3 By 23275 ( at 5/9/2005 6:15:10 PM
The specifications are astonishing....I expect to see all five RFC for UPnP provided for - means one will have wireless KB and pointer and Video/Voice IM capabilities sans the trouble with most NAT configs and regardless of FW configurations.

I mention this because a lot more than just gamers are going to get a lot of use from this platform.

Astonishing - nothing short of it.

#4 By 23275 ( at 5/9/2005 8:38:27 PM
#4, Have you used XBox Live....Media Center Extender for XBox....etc...? These are extremely well executed. The new XBox 360 promises to deliver even more and certainly the best console gaming experience yet available.

The development of new titles is not only easier for most devs, but more profitable as the tools, and API's available are so much easier to work with it costs less to write for the platform - a very similar strength shared by Microsoft's other development environments.

The hardware in XBox 360 is hardly the same as on a G5 - the architecture as announced/revealed is very specific and designed to weight resources a lot differently than a PC. I especially don't get your assertion about a lack of support...for what specifically?

#5 By 9589 ( at 5/10/2005 1:11:18 AM
I am surprised that no one has commented on the selection of the IBM CPU that Microsoft has chosen. On the one hand, you have to hand it to Gates and Company for creating an operating system on what for Microsoft is a completly new CPU and the development tools that game developers will use to create the games that will spell success or failure for the new platform.

On the other hand, what does this portend for Apple that is using a similiar IBM CPU? Will it mean that Microsoft will begin writing (and presumably the rest of the gaming industry) games for the Apple platform? If there has been one long standing complaint from the Apple crowd it is the dearth of great games.

Also, how does this square with the long standing relationship that Microsoft has forged with Intel - despite Intel's attempt to help skewer Microsoft at Microsoft's monopoly trial? Is this payback?

Many interesting developments . . .

#6 By 2459 ( at 5/10/2005 1:44:45 AM
PowerPC is not a new architecture for MS. NT up to version 4 ran on PPCs. CE also used to.

The Xbox 360 uses a PPC core but it's not a G5. It's a custom CPU w/ added/removed instructions. IBM has an IHV program that allows you to license PPC cores (and other technologies) and customize them as you see fit.

MS' relationship w/ Intel shouldn't be affected by this any more than building Windows and various devices on rival hardware. NT started out (publicly) on x86, Alpha, MIPS, PPC and probably one other CPU. Internally, it was developed and tested on others. Again, same w/ CE. With x64, IA64, etc., NT is returning to multiple architectures. Whether another desktop NT for PPC comes out of this is anyone's guess, but it's not a unique situation for MS or Intel.

As for XB360 games receiving Apple ports, my guess would be that not many more than currently get ported will be ported in the XB360 era. The devs are still using Visual Studio and the APIs make porting between XB360 and Windows easier, not Mac.

#7 By 2459 ( at 5/10/2005 2:06:21 AM
Preliminary specs from 2004:

Xenon is powered by a 3.5+ GHz IBM PowerPC processor and a 500+ MHz ATI graphics processor. Xenon has 256+ MB of unified memory. Xenon runs a custom operating system based on MS® Windows NT®, similar to the Xbox operating system. The graphics interface is a superset of MS® Direct3D® version 9.0.


The Xenon CPU is a custom processor based on PowerPC technology. The CPU includes three independent processors (cores) on a single die. Each core runs at 3.5+ GHz. The Xenon CPU can issue two instructions per clock cycle per core. At peak performance, Xenon can issue 21 billion instructions per second.

The Xenon CPU was designed by IBM in close consultation with the Xbox team, leading to a number of revolutionary additions, including a dot product instruction for extremely fast vector math and custom security features built directly into the silicon to prevent piracy and hacking.

Each core has two symmetric hardware threads (SMT), for a total of six hardware threads available to games. Not only does the Xenon CPU include the standard set of PowerPC integer and floating-point registers (one set per hardware thread), the Xenon CPU also includes 128 vector (VMX) registers per hardware thread. This astounding number of registers can drastically improve the speed of common mathematical operations.

Each of the three cores includes a 32-KB L1 instruction cache and a 32-KB L1 data cache. The three cores share a 1-MB L2 cache. The L2 cache can be locked down in segments to improve performance. The L2 cache also has the very unusual feature of being directly readable from the GPU, which allows the GPU to consume geometry and texture data from L2 and main memory simultaneously.
Xenon CPU instructions are exposed to games through compiler intrinsics, allowing developers to access the power of the chip using C language notation.

(more at above link)

#8 By 12071 ( at 5/10/2005 6:07:41 AM
#4 "I don't understand why you all seem to think Micro$oft is so good... "
People like lketchum will praise and buy anything as long as it has Microsoft on it (and I do mean anything!).

"Sony has been doing this for years and they still know how to deliver."
The same was said of both Nintendo and Sega before Sony had formed any plans on releasing a console. Only Nintendo has survived but it's market share is definitely not what is used to be. Having said that, the 3 main console makers have very different market shares in Europe, Asia/Japan and the US.

"Unless of course you consider yourself a 'l33t H4x0r' and want to install Linux (or now Mac OSX) on your Xbox."
You can install Linux on your PSX too if you like - why you'd want to is a completely separate point!

As for this specs pissing contest - realise it's nothing more than that. The majority of people purchase the gaming console which they consider to have the best games (which may or may not be the highest spec'ed system). I'm sure you purchased your PSX because you considered it to have the best games at the time or the largest library of games (or because it was easy to pirate games for it - there are many people who bought it for that exact reason) whichever is more important to you and I'm sure your next purchase will be based for similar reasons - not so you can join in the pissing contest. So let's see what games it will have - I doubt it will disappoint, but perhaps you will find one of the other consoles to have better games (or maybe you'll just have to buy more than one console!!).

#9 By 2960 ( at 5/10/2005 8:40:24 AM
"7. Wi-Fi ready"

Cool, but does it support WPA?

I've had to turn away from 5 or 6 hardware devices I wanted because while they tout 802.11g compatibility all over the box, it's not until you dig deeper that you find they only support WEP encryption.

I'm not taking the security of my entire network down a notch just to use a media player or Game Console.

And I've never seen manufacturers work so hard as they do hiding the fact they don't typicall support WPA in their devices.

It's uncalled for, and stupid at this stage in the game.

So... I hope it supports WPA...


#10 By 2332 ( at 5/10/2005 11:59:56 AM

Intel/AMD/x86 != Microsoft.

PPC != Apple.


Microsoft makes software. They make their software work on the platforms which will make them the most money. PPC makes Microsoft no money because nobody uses it.

Microsoft felt that a tri-core PPC config was better than the corrisponding x86 design. Why? We have no idea. Speed might be the reason, but chances are it was as much a business decision as anything else. (Maybe IBM gave them a good deal.)

So could everybody who has no idea what they're talking about please shut up. Thanks.

#11 By 2459 ( at 5/10/2005 1:33:30 PM
The FPS shooter "Close Combat First to Fight" came out first for the current Xbox last month, then for mac a week later and the pc version is yet to be released (at least it's still not available on Amazon).

The key phrase is "at least it's not available on Amazon". You'd have found the PC version if you checked more than one store.

The release dates were apparently:
XBOX - 04/07/2005
Mac - 4/15/2005
PC - 04/19/2005

Very close together. The game was developed simultaneously on Mac, PC and XBOX. The difference in release dates was likely due to the different publishers used for each platform -- Take2/2KGames for XBOX and PC and MacSoft for Mac. MacSoft is a part of Destineer, so proximity/process integration could've affected the release date or maybe not. This still isn't an example of a great uptrend in the number of games ported to the Mac.

Destineer has a history as a Mac game dev, BTW. It was founded by the former EVP of Bungie, Peter Tamte. Before Bungie, he was senior director of worldwide consumer marketing at Apple. He also created MacSoft, which his new company, Destineer, acquired.

#12 By 7754 ( at 5/10/2005 1:37:54 PM
- Play music from portable devices * #

I wonder if the iPod would be on that list... I'm guessing no?

#13 By 23275 ( at 5/10/2005 8:42:34 PM
#14, great considerations and not just because of security - but yes, WPA-PSK with TKIP.

Phased shift keying provides for not only stronger types of encryption, but the nature of the signal allows far greater throughput while using insignificantly greater amounts of power. This allows less bandwidth to be used to support the same amount of data - allowing whatever band that is available to transport more. Using the same type of modulation, one could also use AES, which has even better cryptographic properties. I was really happy [over a recent period of experimentation using many products] to note that even the cheapest Linksys WAP has WPA-PSK. Many, even very costly commercial systems do not.

BTW, XBox 360 will use Microsoft's WPA2, which makes support for WPA-PSK as easy as an 8 character key to implement - very slick and it sets the standard for combining ease of use with good security and a great, albeit aging signal type - Gaussian and a little more power would be pretty awesome.

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