Microsoft's newer, slimmer Xbox 360 250GB console is fast becoming old news, except that up until now, the software giant hasn't been particularly willing to detail the system-on-a-chip (SoC) that powers the device.
Details of the SoC were unveiled at the Hot Chips symposium yesterday, and it was there that Microsoft showed off the inner workings of the 45nm part produced by IBM and GlobalFoundries. Even if you're not a console gamer, you have to appreciate that this is essentially the first mass-market, desktop chip to squeeze a CPU, GPU, memory, and I/O logic onto a single unit.
Microsoft's new SoC boasts 372 million transistors, which would have been much more impressive five years ago when the Xbox 360 first debuted. The 45nm chip realizes a more than 60 percent power savings over the original 90nm chip from 2005 and measures 50 percent smaller.
One interesting thing about the new design is the inclusion of a "FSB Replacement" block. IBM/GlobalFoundries could have just connected the GPU and GPU with a low-latency internal connection, but doing so would have made the new Xbox 360 faster than previous versions. The FSB Replacement block actually adds latency to the mix and introduces a performance hit to keep the new model from outpacing older versions.
British chip designer ARM, which currently enjoys an almost unchallenged run in the mobile and embedded device markets, has announced a new deal with TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company). Termed the “broadest agreement” between the two companies that happen to go back a long way, it will yield nimbler and more power-efficient chips.
"I am pleased that ARM and TSMC will be working together to enable ARM processor based SoCs leveraging both companies' advanced technologies," said Mike Inglis, executive vice president and general manager, ARM Processor Division.
Intel has unveiled its new system-on-a-chip (SoC) offering for embedded systems. The Intel EP80579 microprocessors, based on the Pentium M core, will be integrated in a host of products that roughly fall under the umbrella of industrial robotics, security, storage and communication devices. Each of the new integrated processors has a CPU core, memory controller, IO controller and acceleration technology onboard.
Intel has not only curtailed the appetite for power of these chips by 34% but also reduced their size by 45%. Since this is only the first of the eight such chips, a lot lies in store in terms of improvements.It is known that Intel will soon – sometime next year – integrate the Atom’s core into its SoC products.
The company has literally made even highly diverse devices, which employ its new SoC products, more compatible with each other, as the revamped integrated processors are all based on its X86 architecture. The chip manufacturer has thrust its weight behind MIDs (mobile internet device) and the new crop of its integrated processors will be employed in them; besides an entire gamut of consumer electronics products.