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Microsoft Corp.'s next-generation Xbox known as "Loop" will feature a custom ARM architecture-based processor along with Windows 9 core, according to an unofficial report. The main intention of the software giant is to ensure that the Xbox Loop is less expensive in manufacturing than the current Xbox 360.

The Xbox Next is projected to feature an ARM-based heterogeneous system-on-chip (SoC) with  multiple dedicated assistive cores for graphics, AI, physics, sound, networking, encryption and sensors, according to MS Nerd blog. The SoC will be designed by Microsoft and two yet-to-be-named partners. The new console is projected to feature operating system that will be based on Windows 9 core. The whole gaming machine is expected to be smaller and less expensive to manufacturer than its predecessor.

Such high amount of integration of the SoC will let Microsoft to greatly reduce internal design complexity of the initial console. The first and second generations of the Xbox 360 sported a number of key chips inside, which did not allow Microsoft to quickly reduce the manufacturing costs and pricing even as semiconductor manufacturing processes became thinner and allowed such a possibility in theory.

In case Microsoft decides to sustain backwards compatibility with Xbox 360 without substantial IP development licensing, then the company can hire AMD (its ATI graphics division) to create a new custom Radeon graphics core for the Xbox Next and then integrate it into the "Loop" silicon. Should Microsoft drop compatibility, it will have a chance to use ARM-, PowerVR- or Nvidia-developed cores.

Since a lot tools will be shared between Windows 9 and Windows Phone 9/Windows 9 Mobile platforms, usage of the Win9 core on the Xbox Loop is completely justified. This will not only ensure higher efficiency of the operating system compared to the X360, but will also make development easier.

Microsoft is projected to launch its Xbox Loop next-generation video game console in 2013.

Microsoft did not comment on the news-story.

Tags: Microsoft, Xbox, Xbox Next, Xbox Loop


Comments currently: 46
Discussion started: 11/08/11 10:17:32 AM
Latest comment: 11/23/11 02:36:45 PM
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finally xbox ->to toys area
i only hope developers will bring back hi end games to pc
this situation (look cod mw3)sux big time
low/mid dx9 engines ,kill pc gaming all together
they say piracy, yea right !
make really great game in dx11+ with good story
and u will sell
u wont need pepsi deals ,and children adverts uh new cod yeaaa
4 0 [Posted by: skvx  | Date: 11/08/11 10:17:32 AM]
- collapse thread

Totally agree. Games designed for console then ported to PC has really harmed PC gaming. Most games I've seen lately also totally lacking in story line.
4 0 [Posted by: Prosthetic_Head  | Date: 11/08/11 12:52:11 PM]
If next generation of consoles is weak and developers start putting millions of dollars into next generation of PC games / game engines, I am all for it. I dream of the day when PC has the best looking and the most # of exclusive games.

However, the counter to that may be 99% of console ports with crippled graphics and even more stagnation on the PC.
0 2 [Posted by: BestJinjo  | Date: 11/08/11 09:27:35 PM]

show the post
1 4 [Posted by: s23e7h4kf936hklnf7y8b  | Date: 11/08/11 10:32:59 AM]

maybe for soc ,but ms sign deal with amd for gpu
5 0 [Posted by: skvx  | Date: 11/08/11 11:13:00 AM]

Breaking the backward compatibility is not nice.

If they go ARM, I'm seeing a big relationship with Windows Phone.

Nonetheless, it would be interesting to see a console based on ARM architecture.
1 1 [Posted by: Filiprino  | Date: 11/08/11 11:21:55 AM]
- collapse thread

ARM is pretty weak. Even the best ARM design will get destroyed by a $130 Core i3-2120 CPU from Intel. Having more weak cores isn't a solution - just look at the 8 core Bulldozer. You really think ARM cores will be able to handle advanced physics effects in next generation of games from 2013 to 2019?
2 2 [Posted by: BestJinjo  | Date: 11/08/11 09:30:44 PM]
The fancy physics in games are processed by the GPU. They are not processed by the CPU. ARM processors can be for high performance. ARM processors are mainly tailored for smart phones or mobile devices. If they are designed for high performance devices, it will be a different story compared to them being for mobile devices. ARM mainly are designed for long battery usage, but not for performance which hogs battery. If comparing ARM's capabilities for long battery usage and they change ARM for performance, ARM processors can probably meet or beat 80x86 processors. The ARM Cortex-A9 is very, very fast that uses a lot less power than Intel Atom processors. I think the Cortex-A9 is faster than Atom processors. The Cortex-A15 is planned to be much faster.

nVidia plans making high performance ARM processors which the Kal-el or Tegra 3 is the start of it. Also some companies are already started designing ARM processors for servers. ARM processors always suits will in niche markets such as the new market game consoles.
2 2 [Posted by: tecknurd  | Date: 11/09/11 12:28:56 AM]
"The fancy physics in games are processed by the GPU."

That's not true. You are probably thinking of PhysX, which is implemented only in a few games such as Mafia II or the Batman series. PhysX only works well on NV cards; so it's not an industry standard that will work for consoles.

Physics effects in games like Crysis and Battlefield 3 actually run entirely on the CPU.
2 2 [Posted by: BestJinjo  | Date: 11/09/11 07:35:39 AM]
Physics does not have to be from PhysX. It could also be done with DirectCompute, OpenCL, and CUDA. Really, who cares where physics is processed and who cares what game processed its physics. Physics in games are not necessary for a game to be played.
0 0 [Posted by: tecknurd  | Date: 11/10/11 02:06:02 AM]
eerrr.... one doesn't need a x86 core to pocess good physics... A decently specced multi-core ARM chip is more than enough for gaming. Even the XBOX 360 is using RISC processors. Some developers are already making game engines based on smart phones that exceed that of the current gen consoles. Full native 720p, unlike the current consoles, who renders at a much lower resolution then upscales it to 720 or 1080p.
1 1 [Posted by: goury  | Date: 11/10/11 06:53:24 PM]

yep ,and compatibility ?? they never have compatibility
and that is great ,developers now need to write new engines
for arm / amd gpu's (well it will be i hope dx11 but)

xbox 1 is intel
xbox 2 ibm power
xbox3 arm
xbox 4 leg
wonder when will be xbox boobs
1 1 [Posted by: skvx  | Date: 11/08/11 03:22:02 PM]

ARM Xbox "loop" LOL what a complete joke this consol will be..

They WANT the ARM CPU to do the graphics !! LOLOLOLOLLOLOLO

Sony tried to pull this same stunt with the Cell CPU but ended up adding a Geforce into the consol.

Xbox "loop" will be the same, they will try and FAIL to use an ARM chip for the graphics and then replace it with a very low powered AMD videocard.
2 2 [Posted by: vid_ghost  | Date: 11/08/11 03:34:23 PM]

The best explanation of this leak is the following:

The site misinterpreted the purpose of the ARM SOC.

The next iteration of Xbox will have a Quad or Hex core CPU with multithreading, compared to triple core with multithreading in the 360

The GPU will be three to four times more powerful than 360.

the additional ARM SOC will be used to run the background OS and other media. The Uber CPU and GPU will run only when a demanding game like Gears of War 4 is running. Everything else will be on the SOC at low power.
2 0 [Posted by: douglas  | Date: 11/08/11 07:34:08 PM]
- collapse thread

So what you are saying is that there will be a powerhouse CPU+discrete GPU combo for most intensive games and a crappy ARM cores for less intensive games? Doesn't sound realistic to me, and certainly not in-line with "making a cheaper console" objective presented in the article.
1 2 [Posted by: BestJinjo  | Date: 11/08/11 09:32:21 PM]
Plausible theory...but not likely. Microsoft will MOST likely just release a slightly more powerful Xbox 360.

Why? Simple. Game dev costs. The most powreful you make the console, the more pressure you put on developers to make that extra horsepower relevant, to help make the more expensive console worth the investment to its buyers. But guess what? Game development costs are already nearing $50 million dollars at the current game dev level, and that's already breaking the already economy-hurt bank for a lot of game studios (notice all the merges rather recently?).

Since Sony's announced that they're not working on a PS4 anytime soon (they claim to have 10+ years out of PS3, since they've only used about less than half its total processing power as of yet), and since Wii U is a bit more powerful than PS3, it makes more sense for Microsoft to just invest in developing a console that's only more powerful than Wii U.

They won't need their console to be "three to four times more powerful than 360," since, realistically, only being about 1.5 to 2 times more powerful will be necessary. Remember, besides Sony (who makes heavy initial profit loss their primary strategy), most console companies generally want to make a "next-gen" console as great as possible for as cheap as possible. They won't need a monster console for the 8th-gen, since we currently haven't even tapped the current 7th-gen PS3's total power yet, and even with games developed below that half-power level on PS3 (like God of War 3), it's costing game studios about about $50 million (GoW3 was $44 million, Modern Warfare 2 was about $50 million).

If they can modify a ARM SoC powerful enough to meet this strategy that I predict just might be the case (all consoles feature specially-modified chips, anyways), and if they decide to embark more on newer "extraneous" technology like cloud services and greater DLC features and low-power components like a solid-state drive and ARM processor to provide a low-power HD gaming machine, we just may possibly be looking at a ARM processor as the SOLE means for their "Next-box."

So low HD console game dev cost. Low HD console production cost. Low HD console retail cost. Those I think will be the goal of all 8th-generation consoles that should surface between 2012 and 2015.
0 0 [Posted by: Brian L.  | Date: 11/23/11 02:36:45 PM]

This is shaping up to be a huge disappointment. ARM CPUs are too slow. Why not an ultra low-voltage Intel Ivy Bridge?

Also, "dedicated graphics cores" doesn't sound like a traditional discrete GPU.

And if they want to make it cheaper, it must not have good hardware. What was wrong with a $299-399 Xbox360? That was pretty cheap for a launch console.

Using Windows 9 as the main OS is also disappointment. John Carmack has spoken many times that one of the major inefficiencies of Windows on the PC is a huge overhead. While the graphics cards on the PC are 10x or more powerful than Xbox360/PS3, the huge overhead/inefficiencies of DirectX API doesn't allow the developer to extra maximum performance vs. coding directly to hardware.

I was actually looking forward to Xbox "Look" having a good GPU, perhaps something like an HD6870 or faster. Now, those hopes have completely faded based on this news.
1 3 [Posted by: BestJinjo  | Date: 11/08/11 09:12:31 PM]
- collapse thread

The article says windows 9 CORE. That is way different than a bulky windows os. Think of the core installation as a bare metal hypervisor with a gui on top. No legacy crap that windows has. Actually my biggest disappointment is taking two steps back with slow arm cpu. Those are crap compared to current desktop hardware. But maybe MS knows something that we don't?
2 1 [Posted by: Pedro_mann  | Date: 11/08/11 09:51:27 PM]
Oh ok, thanks for clarifying that point Pedro. I agree with you that the ARM CPU rumor is pretty underwhelming.

The other thing is, it seems to me that NV's Tegra 3 has the most advanced graphics in a SoC design. So perhaps the new Xbox might actually have an Nvidia GPU?
1 1 [Posted by: BestJinjo  | Date: 11/08/11 10:50:04 PM]
Which of these ARM's is underwhelming? Those that run at 66MHz? Tegra 3? Tegra 2? A5? OMAP?

I personally believe that if Microsoft goes for ARM, the most possible candidate partner will be NVIDIA.
Since NVIDIA is not allowed to make x86 processors, their strategy seems to be bring ARM based processors to laptops, servers and maybe even desktop.
By 2016 ARM will be everywhere.
The only real advantage that Intel has (IMO) is that Intel has the best manufacturing process, while the competitors TSMC, Global Foundaries, etc. are lagging and have lots of problems downsizing their lithographic process.
1 2 [Posted by: Zingam  | Date: 11/09/11 12:31:31 AM]
Any ARM chip is underwhelming for a modern system. Are you kidding that the only real advantage Intel has is manufacturing process?

Intel has the best instructions per clock (IPC) throughput, and ultimate the best absolute performance on a chip.

Arm is not even as fast as the Core 2 Duo from 2006 in performance at this point.
1 0 [Posted by: BestJinjo  | Date: 11/09/11 07:39:39 AM]
Maybe you should educate yourself first and learn that most of Microsoft's consoles and other hardware feature some kind of Windows core.
Also who told you that ARM is slow? Arm is just that what it is a low power CPU for phones and stuff. The next Xbox won't run on batteries which basically means that the ARM CPU could drain as much power as it needs to show the strength of this architecture. And you may also check the NVIDIA roadmap for Tegra. They project that Tegra in 3 years will be 100x more powerful than Tegra 2 and many, many more times more powerful than a Core 2 Duo.
Also Carmack isn't the God of 3D any longer. Especially after their Rage fail. There are already lots of other companies who deliver better looking and more interesting stuff than ID Software.
3 2 [Posted by: Zingam  | Date: 11/09/11 12:23:16 AM]
Look at you there hardware ace, talking about Tegra 3 having 100x more performance than Tegra 2. And I should be edumacating myself?

You are quite a 'funny guy'.

Currently, the most powerful dual-core PowerVR543+ MP2 chip still has less than 20 GFlops of performance:

and about 1000 MexaPixel fill-rate per 1 core ==> 4000 Megapixels for a quad-core.

A GTX580 has 1581.056 GFLOPS of performance and 37,056 MPixels/sec pixel fill-rate. You still think some crappy smartphone graphics will actually be fast?

Tegra 3 may be more powerful than Tegra 2, but that doesn't mean much. The graphics in Tegra is a 12-core GeForce GPU.

GTX580 has 512 cores.

If you think you can design a better game than Rage, go ahead!

It's funny that you think a SoC will have good CPU and good graphics when the entire concept behind SoC is lower manufacturing costs, acceptable performance and main focus on power consumption - that only works for smartphones/tablets of this world. Do you even know what you are talking about? A 2.0ghz ARM design will get destroyed by an obsolete Core 2 Duo E6300 CPU.

The best SOC in the world is currently Tegra 3 in terms of GPU performance and that pales in comparison to a $40 graphics card....

Also, not a single ARM processor is used for a performance laptop/desktop today. You are kidding yourself if you believe ARM is a fast architecture in its current state. It can't even beat a slow Moorestown CPU from Intel:


Can Tegra 3 run DX11 games, Tessellation, advanced effects like Bokeh Depth of Field, HBAO/SSAO while running anti-aliasing and providing 60 fps smooth gameplay at 1080P in next generation of games?

I'd love to see Tegra 4 or 5 run the next generation Unreal engine that will arrive by the time new consoles come out:

1 2 [Posted by: BestJinjo  | Date: 11/09/11 07:45:49 AM]
You don't read well, do you. I've never said: Tegra 3 is 100x more powerful than Tegra 2. Tegra 3 according to NVIDIA's own chart is 5x more powerful, although they might be exaggerating. According to some reviews the Tegra 3 in Transformer Prime is 3x more powerful than Tegra 2.
What I have said is that according to nvidia in THREE YEARS they'll make an ARM based CPU that is 100x more powerful then Tegra 2.
You should also realize that ARM CPUs typically use 1-2w of power or less. While a typical Core iX processor is rated something like 35W. If you make your Ivy Bridge to use just 1w it we'll be super slow. Now if they make ARM based processors that use lots of power 50-100W - you'll have a monster. Maybe not as powerful as x86 based processors but the won't be 1000x slower.
You are kind of comparing apples to cabbage and you claim that cabbage is a tasteless fruit because it isn't sweet. Well cabbage isn't fruit and it is not supposed to be sweet. Just as ARM based SOCs for mobile phones are not supposed to be as powerful as XEONs.
0 0 [Posted by: Zingam  | Date: 11/10/11 03:50:20 AM]
LOL, BestJinjo, you noob.
The dude said Tegra in 3 years...emphasis on it being in three years time.
0 0 [Posted by: goury  | Date: 11/10/11 07:21:42 PM]
I think Carmack is not in position of talking about good game programing. Rage sucked big time on PC and it wasn't drivers fault. I mean, they have to do some QA, which includes using actual drivers and graphics cards available on the market.
Windows does not have a huge overhead and you can get almost the same performance as on consoles.
We are not talking about supercomputers here, they already have to deal with multiple platforms with totally different libraries.

If you want to know what is having overhead then talk about the X11 protocol, a software for which id Software has made games and who knows if they'll continue doing so.

Bashing Windows overhead is an excuse and Rage has shown it truly is.
1 2 [Posted by: Filiprino  | Date: 11/09/11 01:47:53 AM]
Ya, you can get better performance on consoles. But current graphics cards such as GTX480/580/6970 have 10x as much GPU power than the graphics cards in Xbox360 and PS3. How come PC games don't look 10x better? Consoles have lower overhead than PCs. Many developers have discussed limitations of Direct X API overhead for years, not just Carmack.
1 1 [Posted by: BestJinjo  | Date: 11/09/11 08:06:35 AM]
For instance, Xbox 360 also uses DirectX, so it has the same limitations.

How comes that games don't look 10 times better? Simply put because developers don't want to. They can but they don't do it because they program for consoles and afterwards they do so for PCs.
I can still play with a 8800GTS 320MB with superior quality to what consoles can show. Better graphics cards just give me better frame rates and better visual quality through more antialiasing and filters and resolution.

And, if they wanted to use the PC hardware to the same extent as they do with consoles, they would have to limit games to a resolution of 1280x720 or even 1024x600 at 30FPS or sometimes at 60FPS.

Of course you have to take into account the possibility of making "old" card models obsolete with artificial added hardware usage.
1 0 [Posted by: Filiprino  | Date: 11/09/11 08:45:52 AM]
Actually DX on consoles is optional. The developers are able to access the hardware directly. (there are recent articles about that on the net)
The difference is astronomical. Because of that developers are able to get much more performance on the consoles than on newer hardware. Actually the console games look pretty good for what they are. I believe that the biggest limitation of any consoles it the low memory amount.
Most modern PC games require 2Gb of main memory and 0.5-1Gb of graphics card memory (at least), while the consoles have 512Mb for everything.
It is just that PC architecture (hardwaresise and softwarewise) is inefficient, while consoles are designed to deliver the maximum possible performance for games (and nothing else... while a PC has also to run browsers, spread sheets etc.). Specialized hardware is always faster than general purpose hardware even if it has much lower specs.
0 0 [Posted by: Zingam  | Date: 11/10/11 04:01:51 AM]
On the computer DirectX is also optional, you can access hardware directly. On consoles it's also optional, but I'm sorry to tell you that graphics hardware is not directly accessed, they use OpenGL extensions and DirectX functions in the same way you can add OpenGL extensions and DirectX functions on computer hardware. It's a fact that on consoles you use graphics engines designed for various systems.

The hardware on consoles is not more specialized than computer hardware, because its the same hardware. Just look at Xbox 1, it was a Pentium III and a GeForce 3.

The performance you get from consoles and computer hardware is nearly the same for the same level of hardware. Your "astronomical" statement is just an overstatement to make your point look stronger, but it's not.

As for the memory requirements on PCs, you are still talking about hardware available on PCs 5 years ago. ¿2GB of RAM? Now you can get 16GB for 50 dollars. So yeah, specialized hardware maybe better because it's more expensive.

If you want to talk about maximum possible performance then you should mention supercomputers, not toys.
0 0 [Posted by: Filiprino  | Date: 11/10/11 02:31:05 PM]

I don't think this will be a weak console. It will likely have more processing power than the 360. What does CPU power go to? AI, physics, etc. If these are offloaded, then the CPU doesn't need to be that beefy. Even so, it could perform quite well. Cortex A15 for example should provide a lot better performance at the same clock speed, and remember that this would be a custom made CPU that will have the benefit of runing off mains power, and therefore won't need to save energy, and could be made to run faster than mobile chips do.

I'm pretty sure the integrated GPU will be DX11. Maybe not the fastest DX11 around, but it would also be a significant upgrade over the 360.

All in all I'm sure it won't have the raw power of a high end PC, but it will be a significant upgrade from the 360.
1 0 [Posted by: ET3D  | Date: 11/09/11 12:23:22 AM]
- collapse thread

By 2013 it better be DX12 :D... It's also possible that they'll offer something more CUDA-like experience and DX will be there just as an option.
1 0 [Posted by: Zingam  | Date: 11/09/11 12:35:15 AM]

well i don't know,what u reading but .
sony and microsoft sign deal with amd to give/make gpu to power next consoles
ms and nv again in gpu deal LOL
they are in war since xbox (no way ms will use nv crap in consoles ever again )
and me think 1 partner is qualkom (they use ati gpu's in it)
and in spring they will have 28nm 4core soc,nv 40nm
second samsung or ti
for nv lovers ,nvidia wasnt use 28nm for tegra3 beacose they dont know how ,so tegra 3 40nm ,tegra 4 is tegra3 on 28nm
tegra 5 is arm v7 prolly ,tegra 6 arm v8 server in 2013 winter
and qvalkom say thay will have v7 in winter v8 spring 2013

btw v8 is monster compared to these arm soc today
64bit ,designed for xx cores (10+),better memory link
if i am ms this baby will be in my console
10+core on 28nm later 20nm (20-50$)amd gpu core on 28nm (50-70$) later 20nm
4+gb memory 1+gb gpu memory (50$)
with full dx11/opencl support (open cl is free for all cuda)
and all together around 300$ compared to xbox360 800$
0 1 [Posted by: skvx  | Date: 11/09/11 01:28:24 AM]

well AppliedMicro will have in spring server arm v8 core
3ghz scalable up to 128 cores ,which now they have samples 2h2012.
and your date 2H2013/2014 is from nvidia v8 or tegra6

and xbox wont use low cortex a-15 100%
v8 only
and now will it be 10 20 50 cores god knows
and if i rem good arm tsmc have samples of a-15 in 20nm ,so who knows maybe we get 128 core version

but for sure it wont be a8 or a-15 ,both have internal memory link problems and for big data servers it's kind oki
(thay fix that by havin manny socs with max memory)
but for console where u need to shift a biiig chunk of data
in out soc ,is out of question
v8 only ,nv will have that on end of 2013year in best (prolly 2014) rest summer 2013
now when hp start to push arm development for servers
will be even faster development 100%

0 1 [Posted by: skvx  | Date: 11/09/11 11:52:58 AM]

Regardless of your doubts, I believe that Microsoft won't a weak hardware or they won't be able to sell it. Nintendo is probably the only company that can deliver that and succeed but it appears that this strategy does not work for them any more.
I don't have a WII and I'm not going to buy it... just for one reason... I really don't find games very attractive that represent humans and stuff as ugly cubes and spheres.

Yeah, I am a gameplay guy (not a graphics guy) but I think graphics like that would been cool 17 years ago. Now it is just stupid. For me it means just that: the developers were cheap!
1 1 [Posted by: Zingam  | Date: 11/10/11 04:07:55 AM]
- collapse thread

The upcoming Wii U from Nintendo will outpower the PS3's graphics by quite a bit and it's coming out in Spring 2012. Why talk about Wii as if it would be the competitor to Microsoft's next console when Wii U's just right around the corner?
0 0 [Posted by: Brian L.  | Date: 11/23/11 02:23:23 PM]


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