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Microsoft Corp. has quietly started shipments of its Xbox 360 Arcade video game system with 512MB of local storage. The expanded amount of flash memory will hardly allow owners of the most affordable version of Xbox 360 to store lot of content on the system itself and resembles just a technical optimization rather than an intention to improve user experience.

The Xbox 360 Arcade 512MB, which doubles local storage compared to typical Arcade model, is based on the code-named Jasper mainboard design and the only difference compared to the previous-version is a new flash memory chip from Samsung Electronics that has higher capacity, reports Xbox-Scene web-site. Apart from a more capacious memory chip, there are no differences compared to similar consoles.

The code-named Jasper design of the Xbox 360 game console uses ATI Xenos graphics and memory controller hub (GMCH) made using 65nm process at TSMC as well as IBM Xenon central processing unit (CPU) produced at IBM’s 65nm nodes. The new system design is consumes less electricity, use less complex cooling systems, produce less noise and is believed to be cheaper to manufacture compared to previous-gen versions.

Since makers of flash memory discontinue older memory chips in favour of newer that have higher capacity, it looks like Microsoft just had to switch to 512MB (4Gb) memory chip. Therefore, the company will hardly enable any new features with the new version of the Arcade.

Microsoft Xbox 360 console is based around triple-core microprocessor developed by IBM, high-definition visual processing unit designed by ATI Technologies, I/O controller engineered by SiS and some other key components. The gaming machine provides a broad set of multimedia capabilities in addition to games. Currently Microsoft Xbox 360 is available for $199, whereas more advanced Pro and Elite versions with hard disk drives are sold for $299 and $399, respectively, in the USA.

Tags: Microsoft, Xbox, Jasper, 65nm

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