Now that we have heard news that the Xbox One might be coming a week earlier than PlayStation 4, it was about time that another area of the next generation console be discussed. Microsoft has shared the technical details of Xbox One’s main processor and the Kinect image processor at a chip design conference in Palo Alto.
Obviously, all the marketing and all the lucrative deals will have a temporary effect and the real deal will trickle down to what the machine has in store for us. Whether it will face the Red Ring of Death as the Xbox 360 on its debut in 2005 or will it trade just as we expect it to.
The event was Hot Chips engineering conference at Stanford University where the chip architect of Microsoft, John Sell gave ample time to the details of the main processor of Xbox One which has been manufactured by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) and co-designed with Advanced Micro Devices.
With 5 billion basic components, 47MB of memory and 363 square millimeters of area, the main chip has small islands and gates within it to reduce the power usage. The chip is rather big in size and it has been remarked that the larger area might mean that it is more prone to damage.
The answer to this, by Microsoft is that they have build redundancies into the chip so that if a part is damaged, it doesn’t render the whole chip unusable but it is also being said that making such a large sized chip at such a level of intricacy means that it won’t be possible to churn out millions of these. Kevin Krewell a senior analyst is of a different opinion though who says that TSMC is already experienced in making chips of this size for Nvidia.
The 64 bit Jaguar cores CPU is a power house designed by AMD just like the fifteen special processors and data highways that can transfer data at a rate of 200GB per second. Microsoft’s next gen console will have 8GB of main memory as well as a 500GB hard disk. The console comes with a Blu-ray drive.
Patrick O’Connor, Microsoft engineer stated that Kinect senses movement on a technology acquired from Canseta. Based on light signals that are sent form the device it estimates the time taken for the light to come back and then based on the same light it calculates the shape of the object in front of Kinect in order to decide the type of the hit. The technology can measure things as small as 2.5 centimeters! In the words of O’Connor the device can “discern which way the child’s wrist is facing” at merely a 20 millisecond latency.
The technical insights look good, but there is still more to come. Stay tuned.