Microsoft’s Xbox 2 Architecture Unveiled@ 2004/04/27
As everybody knows, there is a lot going on with multi-core, multi-threaded designs at IBM. Apparently, Microsoft also wants to jump on that bandwagon, some sources indicate. The Redmond, Washington-based firm wants to incorporate IBM’s POWER 976 architecture into the CPUs for Xbox 2 console to allow truly high-performance processing. POWER 976 is expected to be a dual-core processor able to handle two threads at once. What may seem a pretty hard to believe is that Microsoft wants more than 1 such chip to power its forthcoming console, according to the scheme published there are three of such chips.
The whole Xbox 2 CPU system will be capable of processing a number of threads simultaneously; because of its RISC nature, the new architecture is a big-endian system, a term that describes the order in which a sequence of bytes are stored in computer memory. Traditional x86 architectures use the little-endian approach, it was initially noted.
The graphics processor of the Xbox 2 is to be developed by ATI Technologies, the I/O controller is to be developed by Silicon Integration Systems Corporation.