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Hardware  » Looking for help discerning who is supplying '720' with cpu/gpu.

4 posts found
  adam_nox

Hard Core Member

Joined: 7/31/06
Posts: 2088

 
OP  3/06/13 2:59:33 PM#1

The speculation seems to be AMD.  Hoping someone here could clarify on this matter.  I mean the xbox 720/durango nextbox etc.  Is AMD for sure the cpu maker for it, and what about the gpu?

 

It seems a bit odd to me for AMD to be making the chips for two competing consoles. 

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13756

3/06/13 3:35:07 PM#2

Xbox 720 or whatever it's called rumors point toward it it using essentially the same CPU as the PlayStation 4, with eight AMD Jaguar cores, as well as an AMD GCN GPU with somewhere in the ballpark of 2/3 of that of the PlayStation 4.  The memory system is supposedly going to be very different, with quad channel DDR3 instead of GDDR5, but partially making up for the difference in memory bandwidth by using some sort of external cache, likely through a silicon interposer.  Presumably when the chip does a die shrink a year or so after launch, it will switch from DDR3 to DDR4.

As for knowing for certain, that doesn't come until Microsoft makes the official announcement.

Why does it seem strange for competing consoles to use the same hardware vendors?  There are only so many vendors out there, and if one offers the best deal for one console, why couldn't it offer the best for another?  In the last generation, both the Xbox 360 and the Wii used an IBM PowerPC processor together with an ATI video card.

  adam_nox

Hard Core Member

Joined: 7/31/06
Posts: 2088

 
OP  3/06/13 4:29:53 PM#3

I don't really count wii as a direct competitor. 

 

From what I've read, the cpu is not as similar as some think.  There's supposedly 8 cores in both, but the xbox will have 2 modules with 4 cores each.  What I read was technical and made my eyes glaze over, but apparently the one thing it couldn't be is jaguar, according to commenters, something to do with what plant they were rumored to be produced at.

 

I just want to know if amd is supplying them to MS for the durango, and either people don't care, or it's just a given due to the rumored specs, or something, because it's just never really spelled out anywhere.

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13756

3/06/13 4:44:29 PM#4
Originally posted by adam_nox

From what I've read, the cpu is not as similar as some think.  There's supposedly 8 cores in both, but the xbox will have 2 modules with 4 cores each.  What I read was technical and made my eyes glaze over, but apparently the one thing it couldn't be is jaguar, according to commenters, something to do with what plant they were rumored to be produced at.

Unless it's being manufactured by Intel (in which case, that would tell you who is providing the hardware), knowing where it is being manufactured doesn't rule out AMD Jaguar cores.  One of the distinguishing features of the Jaguar architecture (and its predecessor Bobcat) is that, unlike most other x86 cores, it's designed to be (relatively) easy to move from one process node to another, rather than being carefully hand-tuned for one particular process node.

The main penalty for doing things that way is that it means that the cores can't be clocked as high.  AMD decided that was a worthwhile tradeoff, as Bobcat and Jaguar cores were never meant for markets that need something clocked high.

-----

If the next Xbox is going to have the CPU and GPU built into the same chip, then that greatly restricts the options.  You can't have AMD CPU cores together with Nvidia graphics in a single chip, for example, unless you can get AMD and Nvidia to work together on it.  That means that you either need a single company that can provide both the CPU and GPU or you need the CPU and GPU vendor to work together.  The former means you're limited to AMD, Intel, and ARM--of which only AMD can offer high graphical performance or a modern GPU architecture.

If you want to use different vendors for the CPU and GPU but need them to work together, then that opens up ARM cores as a possibility on the CPU side and a variety of vendors on the GPU side.  ARM is still only 32-bit, though, so that would cap you at 4 GB of memory, which is undesirable.  The GPU vendors with a modern architecture are AMD, Nvidia, and probably soon Imagination.  Imagination has never built a high-performance GPU, though, so betting on their very first effort at it to be good would be quite a risk.

There would still be the option of having separate chips for the CPU and GPU.  At launch day, that might not seem so bad.  But a few years down the road, it will stick you with massively higher costs than if you could put everything into a single chip, so you don't want to go that route unless you have to.