The Xbox 360 is one of the so-called “next-gen” consoles, the others being the Sony PS3 and the Nintendo Wii.
The architecture of the Xbox 360 is revolutionary, but it is not the hardware alone that makes a system. Most would say that the Xbox LIVE gives it a distinct advantage over its rivals. LIVE is an online matchmaking, marketplace, playground, all rolled into one.
Sins of the Predecessor
Back in 2000, the Design team of XBOX did not have the luxury of time, due to which they had to make up the XBOX with off-the-shelf parts – an Intel processor, memory, Seagate hard disk and an nVidia graphics chipset, in a huge cabinet. It wasn’t a pretty engineering feat, but it got the job done, with a bang – 24 million units sold. It outsold the Gamecube, and got a small but crucial lead over it. Mission accomplished, and the Xbox brand was etched forever into the minds of the millions of gamers. It was a launchpad for Microsoft, to launch the full-force attack that Xbox 360 is.
Origin of The Series
Immediately after launching the XBOX, Microsoft got to work on its successor, the 360. The luxury of time allowed Microsoft to correct a major drawback – they did not own the IP to the processor or the graphics chip of the XBOX. Thus, they had to rely on the two third-parties – Intel and nVidia, for components, depending on their whims and production capacity to reduce prices as necessary. With the 360, Microsoft owns the IP to both the processor and the graphics solution, and has the rights to set up new production facilities, throttle production and drop prices as necessary.
The Xbox 360 is unique in several ways. It is the first console to be launched in USA, Japan and Europe simultaneously. It employs the unified memory and shader architecture, from which DirectX 10 borrowed its Design cues.
Microsoft approached once-bitter rival IBM to Design the processor for the 360. Codenamed Xenon, it consists of three cores with 64KB L2 cache and a large 1 MB L2 shared cache. Xenon can process six threads simultaneously, two per core. This Design improves processing power drastically, since no part is left idle.
Microsoft awarded the contract for Xbox 360’s GPU( codenamed Xenos) to ATi, having had bitter experiences with nVidia in their previous endeavour of XBOX.
Xenos, like its neighbour Xenon, is unique. On a PC, GPU divides its real-estate into vertex and pixel shaders. In many s0