The next-generation Xbox, rumored to be called the Xbox 720, will feature six times the processing power of the Xbox 360 and be ready to ship by November 2013. The system will be competing with the eighth generation of video game consoles from Nintendo, Sony and others.
The Xbox 720 will built on AMD's 6000 series processor, which was introduced last year. The chip performs similarly to the Radeon HD 6670 chip, which supports multidisplay output, including 3D and 1080p HD, and also supports DirectX11, Microsoft's Windows 7 software that creates impressive 3D visuals and sound effects. The market price of the Radeon HD 6670 hovers at about $79.99.
In other words, the Xbox 720 will be able to achieve a raw processing power about six times that of its predecessor and about 20 percent more powerful than Nintendo's next HD console, the Wii U.
Sources say developers will likely receive development kits from Microsoft around August, while mass production of the Xbox 720's graphics processing units (GPUs) will begin by the end of 2012.
The Xbox 360's GPU was built by ATI and ran on a PowerPC 970 processor, which could clock speeds from 1.6 to 2.0 GHz. The same chip was used in Apple's Power Mac G5 computer in 2003.
Microsoft redesigned the Xbox 360 several times since its launch in September 2005. Most recently, the company released the Xbox 360 S, which featured a redesigned Valhalla motherboard for more space, and an XCGPU chip, which is an integrated CPU/GPU/eDRAM (embedded dynamic random access memory) chip that allowed the manufacturers to build a smaller and quieter console. The newest model also came with two additional USB 2.0 ports and 2.4 GHz 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi built-in. It also removed the memory unit slots in favor of a USB flash drive solution.
The Xbox 360 sold 65.8 million units worldwide in its six-year lifespan, while Sony's Playstation 3 and the Nintendo Wii, which were both released in 2006, sold 55.5 million units and a whopping 89.4 million units, respectively.
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