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The photos of Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox One internals reveal a rather simplistic and clean PC-like design, but point to relatively high power consumption and fairly big system-on-chip designed by Advanced Micro devices. Considering basic aspects of the Xbox One hardware, it is clear that the company does have a room for further optimizations and thus price decreases.

When opened, Microsoft Xbox One appears to be very cleanly and rather densely built. The game console features a 2.5” hard disk drive with 500GB capacity, a slim Blu-ray disc drive for some reason marked as “engineering sample” as well as a huge cooler with at least two heat-pipes and a 120mm cooling fan. The bigger the fan is, the slower should be its speed and the lesser is noise output. It looks like there is another, much smaller, fan in the upper left corner of the console. In theory, this one may be loud.

The mainboard of Xbox One is custom built advanced system board with multi-phase VRM for AMD accelerated processing unit, soldered 8GB of DDR3 RAM (most probably made by Micron Technology) that connect to the APU using 256-bit wide bus and a lot of other elements. Surprisingly, the system continues to have a separate I/O controller (south bridge). The motherboard features two coaxial connectors (which may be used for testing purposes or for connection to an internal Wi-Fi antenna [less likely]) as well as two debug LEDs, which may indicate that it is not yet final. The mainboard has two Serial ATA connectors and a number of power connectors, some of which support fan speed control and other do not.

Image by Wired web-site

The AMD APU seems to be rather big, which points to its significant heat dissipation and relatively high cost. Given the extremely high level of integration (eight general-purpose x86 cores, custom AMD Radeon HD graphics solution, high-speed internal buses, large coherent caches, 256-bit memory controller and so on), it cannot be cheap these days.

Going forward, Microsoft has a lot of opportunities to reduce the cost and improve other characteristics of the system (lower power consumption, heat level and noise level, etc.).

Microsoft and AMD did not comment on the news-story.

Tags: Microsoft, Xbox One, Xbox, AMD, Jaguar, Fusion, Radeon, GCN, Durango


Comments currently: 29
Discussion started: 06/28/13 05:55:59 AM
Latest comment: 07/22/13 04:07:17 AM
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4 5 [Posted by: linuxlowdown  | Date: 06/28/13 05:55:59 AM]

Man, this is VERY old...
3 0 [Posted by: sirroman  | Date: 06/28/13 11:04:23 AM]

'Cracked opened'? Come on guys, at least check the article titles for errors.
0 2 [Posted by: texmurpy01  | Date: 06/28/13 09:41:24 PM]

Anton forgot to mention this is the right size for a 8 core APU combine with HD 7770.

It's heat dissipation is very well managed by AMD advanced power gating, a industry leading fine-grain power gating improved from that of Trinity APU. Which beats the i5 2320

And finally, the cost is nothing to worry about with the mastery of high-volume production on TSMC's mature 28nm process.

Of course, Anton sort of forgot to mention all this...
4 3 [Posted by: Hung Mai  | Date: 06/29/13 03:03:00 AM]
- collapse thread

Wow, Anton not liking AMD and carefully phrasing his articles to discredit the company? who would even think about that!
2 2 [Posted by: bereft  | Date: 06/29/13 04:44:07 PM]
Looks like you didn't bother to actually read that article before copypasting AMD words. The i5 chips run circles around the trinity apus, and could theoretically run at reduced power modes and still get better performance!
2 1 [Posted by: basroil  | Date: 06/30/13 10:46:06 PM]
You didn't bother to read my comments before posting.

I never compare performance. I compare power management.
0 0 [Posted by: Hung Mai  | Date: 07/01/13 10:31:59 PM]
Not even trying to hide your paycheck huh ? Of course its cooler than the I3, it is also slower..
0 0 [Posted by: amdzorz  | Date: 07/02/13 07:13:26 AM]

I wonder what that chip to the right is. The one with the black cap on it which looks just a bit smaller than the APU.
0 0 [Posted by: dinosore  | Date: 06/29/13 03:35:07 AM]
- collapse thread

If by right you mean left, that's very likely a southbridge, especially if you consider the traces running to the back where USB/Kinect ports are
0 0 [Posted by: basroil  | Date: 06/30/13 10:34:59 PM]
external south-bridge.
0 0 [Posted by: amdzorz  | Date: 07/02/13 07:14:33 AM]

I have found this round of consoles to be utterly underwhelming, we have waited for so long for the 'Next Gen' and they are nothing more than a budget PC from 2 years ago (performance wise) in a compact case at reasonable value.

Couldn't a deal have been made for a mobile Haswell (CPU only) and a nVidia 760? I would absolutely pay and extra $100 for the step up in performance this would bring. I have nothing against AMD, i'm really happy they won so much business, just wish they won with Steamroller and a decent 8950 gpu.

My only hope is this 'cloud computing' that MS claims games can off load certain scenes to will truly add some much need horse power.
2 3 [Posted by: loadwick  | Date: 06/29/13 04:11:58 AM]
- collapse thread

I think as far as hardware goes your right there is nothing truly next gen with either Sony or MS. However MS will take services to that next gen level. MS will be the first to introduce a fully digital market place where we can sell, share and whatever else with our digital media.
0 2 [Posted by: redeemer  | Date: 06/29/13 03:20:59 PM]
Did i not read that MS doesn't allow just anyone to release a game though, you need to have an established publisher behind you?

It would be really cool if we could have Android/Apple style apps and games but with the power of a 'modern' console.

Some of the best games are the ones that tiny start-up companies release on a shoe string budget. We won't see these on MS consoles, or so i have read.
3 1 [Posted by: loadwick  | Date: 06/30/13 04:11:48 AM]
A Haswell CPU and a 760 would have been even more expensive, more complicated, and hotter. Consoles never have extremely overpowered HW, but 8 cores and a potent GCN GPU it will do well. It's a console, not a gamer PC.
1 3 [Posted by: Medallish  | Date: 06/30/13 06:48:50 AM]
It would be more expensive but not a crazy amount, they could have made a Haswell (mobile version so heat not an issue) plus GTX 760, at the numbers the consoles would be buying in they could make this system for around $600, factor in a little of 'selling at a loss' and we wouldn't be looking at much more than what the consoles are now but we would be seeing a massively more powerful system.
1 2 [Posted by: loadwick  | Date: 06/30/13 10:58:26 AM]
Why a 760? It's a heavily cut down GK104 GPU, why not a full GK104, or 106 which imo would be a better choice, or even better Tahiti or Cap Verde GPU's which has more compute performance. Sort of the route the PS4 is going.
2 0 [Posted by: Medallish  | Date: 06/30/13 12:45:17 PM]
You need to be able to?make 10 million a month, and much easier and cheaper to use 99% of your etches at 75% capacity than make a new chip that gets 25% thrown away because it needs 100% of the chip to work. There's a reason why lower end products are often just pared down high end ones, and it has everything to do with maximizing die yields.
1 0 [Posted by: basroil  | Date: 06/30/13 10:41:37 PM]
I know exactly how yields work, but you don't aim at 100% utilization of the chips you produce, especially not at overdesigning them.
1 0 [Posted by: Medallish  | Date: 06/30/13 11:32:13 PM]
<5% of console gamers are interested in a $600 console in this global economy. Selling at a loss is not an option for Nintendo or Sony. PS3's horrible start is a testament that a $599 console would have failed, and that's in the context of 2006 when global economy was on fire.

Even if they shoved Haswell + 760 (there are at least 5 reasons I listed why it was impossible to do), given the projected useful life of consoles now (7-9 years), PC hardware would have dwarfed it in no time. If you want the most powerful hardware, you get a PC and console for exclusives. That's been the golden rule since the 80s. No one buys consoles primarily for their power. That's what the PC ecosystem is for.
0 0 [Posted by: BestJinjo  | Date: 07/01/13 10:40:23 AM]
show the post
0 3 [Posted by: basroil  | Date: 06/30/13 10:37:31 PM]
First of all, we don't know what the Xbox one will draw, Mr. Shilov's snide remarks have no truth to them, Jaguar is incredibly low power, 8 cores of them at 1.6GHz is likely to be around 30-50W, the GPU around 70-75W.
I wonder what fantasy world you live in where AMD chips are notorious for drawing huge amounts of power, GCN is definitely not a power hog, the 7970M which is a fully fledged Cap Verde Chip, unlike the 680M which is a cut down version of GK104, uses about the same in terms of power, and only have a slight performance difference.

A 28W Haswell would be a highly binned, and expensive CPU, and a 680M would be equally expensive, what you're saying is insanity, and would not make a much better console, it would be like the Ouya, calling itself a console, but would be more like a PC(Or phone/tablet in the case of Ouya). We have a very cost efficient design, that's streamlined, and developers will be getting access to the core of the machine which will result in awesome optimisations.

Only AMD chip known for high power use is the FX-8350, and that's not even that extreme, it looks extreme in todays tests, but only because Intel has gotten notoriously good at lowering their TDP's. But take a High End Sandy Bridge, and see, on a level playing field(32nm) The difference isn't that massive.
2 0 [Posted by: Medallish  | Date: 06/30/13 11:29:59 PM]
You have no idea what you are talking about. GTX760 draws 168W at load per TPU charts. Also, AMD has been a leader in power efficiency during HD4000-6000 series. It is only with Kepler that NV reclaimed the leadership in performance/watt, but even then it's not true for all products.

4 out of 6 most power efficient GPUs per watt on the desktop for 1920x1080 (next gen console resolution) are from AMD:

The GPU in the PS4 is between 7850 and 7870, which is in the top 6 most efficient 28nm GPUs this generation. Among those 6 choices, the 7850 and 7870 are the most powerful, which means AMD was the better choice for PS4.
0 1 [Posted by: BestJinjo  | Date: 07/01/13 10:44:17 AM]
Developers want a Unified Memory Architecture (hUMA). That much was made clear in Mr Mark Cerny's GameLab conference @ 35:48
0 0 [Posted by: Hung Mai  | Date: 07/01/13 10:41:50 PM]
NV 760? HD8950 (what is that anyway? AMD isn't expected to launch new series - aka HD9000 - until October 2013). Haswell?

The products you listed would have been impossible for the consoles for at least 5 reasons:

1) They are far too new - manufacturing for XB1 and PS4 has already began a while back to ramp up for volume production. Both Haswell and 760 just came out. It would have implied delay to 2014.

2) Cost. Intel's margins are 60%+, NV's are 50%+. Take 2 of the highest margin brands in the PC space and there is no way PS4 could have come in at $399 without Sony taking a major loss. Looking at Sony's financials, and global economy, they couldn't afford to price the console at $599 again OR take a huge loss on it.

3) Consoles have always been about unique gaming experience - motion controls, software/ exclusive games, not powerful hardware. If you want the best hardware, get a PC. Even if they stuffed an 8-core Haswell-E with GTX780 SLI, in 7-8 years, it would have been ancient.

4) Power consumption.

GTX760 uses up to 168W of power by itself:

Haswell quad-core + mobo uses at least 130W for i5 version:

That means a hypothetical Haswell CPU + GTX760 system would use nearly 400W of power. Even if you take mobile version of 760 and lower clocked Haswell, your console would use 275-300W of power at least.

5) Concept generation. AMD has already stated that Sony and MS approached them 4 years ago. Back then, Haswell/Kepler and GCN weren't even on the map but AMD's long-term roadmap revolved around APU focus. Sony & MS had no idea what GPU series will be in PS4/XB1 until 2 years ago but they made the decision to go with AMD 4 years ago based on AMD's focus on providing a universal APU solution, something neither Intel nor NV could have even dreamed to deliver 4 years ago.

Consoles are about a balanced approach and the reason AMD won the contracts is because it offered the best balance of cost/performance & power consumption.
2 0 [Posted by: BestJinjo  | Date: 07/01/13 10:37:16 AM]
You bet your ass 4 years ago they were going for "middle of the pack" performance and cost saving packaging. They cannot compete, and needed to refocus their market strategy to excel at the one thing intel does not CARE about yet.
0 0 [Posted by: amdzorz  | Date: 07/02/13 07:17:02 AM]
With that prospect concerning power consumption Xbox one becomes Xbox None for me.

I´m not buying a console that costs the same in electric bill each year !
0 0 [Posted by: Flemming Leer Lømmel Jakobsen  | Date: 07/22/13 04:07:17 AM]

grinding the market ...
1 0 [Posted by: Stevan Milasinovic  | Date: 06/30/13 06:43:49 PM]

I retract my suggestion
0 0 [Posted by: loadwick  | Date: 07/01/13 01:56:16 PM]


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