Friday, October 8

Xbox2 Preview: Monster Machine

The release of Xbox2 in about a year looks to be a significant event in the history of computing. The first Xbox, though impressive, was very much a console version of current PC technology. Xbox2, codename Xenon, will push computing power to levels not seen outside supercomputing facilities.

The PC world has seen clock speeds hover at the 3ghz mark for a few years now, with heat problems apparent at higher speeds. This would have been part of the motivation for Microsoft's shock switch to IBM and its Power processor architecture (as used by Apple, most recently in the G5 iMac).

The Xenon will feature three(!) Power5 processors and running at a total of over 10ghz. This will be combined with ATI's latest R500 chip, which they claim will be ready to ship Q1 2005. So late 2005 looks a cert for the next Xbox.

What will this mean for gaming? The first xbox got rid of the jaggies and allowed the best gaming ever. Halo2 anyone? The next will see something approaching a photorealistic look. Though the latest software tools make game programming easier, its going to be quite a challenge for game companies to "direct" games which more and more resemble the cinema.

But if Xbox2 is the most exciting product of 2005, Sony looks to steal the show in 2006, with the much anticipated cell processor. Cell architecture is completely new and if the hype is to be believed will make the fastest PCs of today look like pockets calculators (again).

And behind it all: IBM

Essential Links:
Xbox2 Inside & Out
Xbox2 Specs