Xbox 360 to Get CPU Improvement

Xbox 360 to Get CPU Improvement

Microsoft has signed up Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing to provide 65 nanometer Silicion on Insulator tech for the 360, which may reduce heat production in the system’s CPU.

Singapore-based Chartered has been a supplier of less-advanced 90nm SOI CPU products since the Xbox 360 console launch. By implementing the newer 65nm SOI technology, the system’s transistors will retain less charge, allowing the microprocessor to operate faster, if ever so slightly.

Production of the updated CPU is expected to begin in first quarter 2007.

"We look forward to working with Chartered on the production of such an important component of our Xbox 360 system," said Larry Yang, general manager of Xbox console development at Microsoft. "Chartered’s ability to demonstrate the manufacturability of IBM’s advanced SOI technology in Fab 7 was key to our selection. We plan to continue with our strategy of dual sourcing from Chartered and IBM’s fabs, which are operationally aligned and compatible, to give us the consistent product quality and flexibility we will need."

Jim Comfort, VP, Microsoft client executive at IBM added, "Together, Chartered and IBM offer a unique dual source capability that delivers superior redundancy and flexibility. Chartered’s decision to adopt our advanced Silicon on Insulator technology at 65nm is further evidence of the success of the IBM/Chartered Common Platform strategy."

Reps from Chartered and Microsoft were unavailable to comment on whether or not the change would noticeably affect Xbox 360 performance, or reported heat-related issues.