Xbox 720 to be as popular and last as long as the Xbox 360

f the next Xbox is to be as popular and last as long as the Xbox 360 – without the frankly appalling hardware failures which blighted its early days – it's going to need some reliable and powerful components.

Latest rumours suggest that the console will contain a revision of AMD's 7000 series graphics, which is based on its 28nm Graphics Core Next (GCN) Southern Islands tech.

Anonymous sources are being quoted on VG247 as saying that the graphics setup in the Xbox 720 will be "like two PCs taped together" which sounds like waffle to us. What does that even mean?

The same sources say that the two GPUs in the Xbox 720 "aren't structured as they are in a normal dual PC set-up," with each chip working separately to draw different items simultaneously.

Again, this sounds rather wooly to us, so let's try and make some sense of it...

Perhaps it depends what the source is referring to as different 'items'. The traditional usage of multi-GPU tech is Alternate Frame Rendering (AFR) where each GPU renders a frame in turn; if the source is saying that is not the case in the Xbox 720 then it will be a whole new usage of twin graphics chips.

It's possible this simultaneous rendering of different items could be referring to using the twin GPUs to display 3D outputs – where each chip is rendering a different angle of a scene to generate the 3D effect. This would then minimise the stress that 3D gaming puts on graphics chips.

Still, if that secondary GPU is lying dormant during non-3D gaming it would be rather wasteful, so the GPUs must surely still be used concurrently to render the games.

It's also possible the confusion here could be arising from the difference between AMD's old GPU architecture, used in the Xbox 360, and the new Graphics Core Next technology. The old Very Long Instruction Word (VLIW) architecture of AMD's last gen GPUs essentially batched up instructions before outputting them.

But GCN is made up of more independent microprocessors capable of carrying out more instructions concurrently.

Either way, the inclusion of AMD 7000 series graphics would put the new Xbox on a par with the current rumoured specs of the Sony PS4 which is in turn expected to also contain AMD Southern Islands graphics as well as an AMD x86 CPU.

It would put the two consoles on level footing in terms of performance as they will essentially contain the same hardware, though by the time they actually go on sale they would to be hopelessly out of date compared to modern PCs.

Are we really to believe that the 'next generation' of games consoles would essentially be out of date mini AMD PCs, with just the operating systems and scale of fun-sucking DRM the only levels of differentiation? We'll believe it when we see it.

From: techradar
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