Xbox 360 hardware
||This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (December 2012)|
The hardware of the Xbox 360 includes several parts, both in the console itself and as separate pieces of kit, or accessories.
Central processing unit 
The Xbox 360 takes a new approach to hardware compared to its predecessor. The XCPU, named Xenon at Microsoft and "Waternoose" at IBM, is a custom triple-core 64-bit PowerPC-based design by IBM. The CPU emphasizes high floating point performance through multiple FPU and SIMD vector processors in each core. The SIMD vector processor (VMX128) was modified for the Xbox to include a dot-product instruction. The dot-product instruction takes far less latency than discrete instructions. The VMX128 was also modified by the addition of direct 3D (D3D) compressed data format. This led to an approximate 50 percent savings in required band-width and memory footprint. It has a theoretical peak performance of 115.2 gigaFLOPS and is capable of 9.6 billion dot products per second. Each core of the CPU is capable of simultaneous multithreading and is clocked at 3.2 GHz. However, to reduce CPU die size, complexity, cost, and power demands, the processor uses in-order execution in contrast to the Intel Coppermine 128-based Pentium III used in the original Xbox, which used more complex out of order execution. The original chip used a 90 nm process, although a newer 65 nm process SOI revision was implemented on later models, which was in-turn superseded by a 45 nm combined CPU and GPU chip. A 21.6 GB/s front side bus, aggregated 10.8 GB/s upstream and downstream, connected Xenon with the graphics processor/northbridge. Xenon was equipped with a 8th way set associative 1 MB Level 2 cache on-die running at half CPU clock speed. This cache is shared amongst the three CPU cores. Each core has separate L1 caches, each containing a two-way set associative 32-Kbyte L1 instruction cache and a four-way set associative 32-Kbyte L1 data cache. The write-through data cache does not allocate cache lines on writes. The CPU also contains ROM storing Microsoft private encrypted keys, used to decrypt game data. The heat sink implemented to cool the Xenon CPU is composed of aluminum fins with a copper base, and a heat pipe. Newer revisions, which have a smaller core, do away with the heat pipe and copper base however. The heat sink is cooled by two 70 mm fans at the rear of the console on original-style consoles, while a single fan mounted on the side of the consoles is used in Xbox 360 S consoles. There are several types of fan used in Xbox 360s, which are produced by Nidec, Sunon and Delta Electronics.
CPU Data Streaming 
During read Streaming into the CPU, a custom prefetch instruction, extended data cache block touch (xDCBT) prefetches data directly to the L1 data cache of the intended core, skipping putting the data in the L2 cache to avoid thrashing the L2 Cache. Writes streaming from each cores skip the L1 cache, due to its no write allocation (avoids thrashing of high-bandwidth transient write only data streams on the L1 cache), and goes directly to the L2 Cache. The System allows for the GPU to directly read data produced by the CPU without going to main memory. In this specific case of data streaming, called Xbox procedural synthesis (XPS), the CPU is effectively a data decompressor, generating geometry on-the-fly for consumption by the GPU 3D core.
Graphics processing unit 
While the first Xbox's graphics processing unit was produced by Nvidia, the Xbox 360 had a chip designed by ATI called Xenos. The chip was developed under the name "C1" and "R500" was often used to refer to it. The GPU package contains two separate silicon dies, each built on a 90 nm process with a clock speed of 500 MHz; the GPU proper, manufactured by TSMC and a 10 MB eDRAM daughter-die, manufactured by NEC. Thanks to the daughter die, the Xenos can do 4× FSAA, z-buffering, and alpha blending with no appreciable performance penalty on the GPU. The GPU also houses additional capabilities typically separated into a motherboard chipset in PC systems, effectively replacing the northbridge chip. Due to the GPU frequently overheating in early motherboard models, Microsoft revised the GPU heat sink in order to better move heat away from the GPU die though not completely.
Memory and system bandwidth 
The console features 512 MB of GDDR3 RAM clocked at 700 MHz with an effective transmission rate of 1.4 GHz on a 128-bit bus. The memory is shared by the CPU and the GPU via the unified memory architecture. This memory is produced by either Samsung or Qimonda.
The Xbox 360 has an extensive amount of bandwidth in comparison to its competition; however this statistic includes the eDRAM logic to memory bandwidth, and not internal CPU bandwidths. The eDRAM internal logic to its internal memory bandwidth is 256 GB/s. The high bandwidth is used primarily for z-buffering, alpha blending, and antialiasing; it saves time and space on the GPU die. Between the eDRAM die and the GPU, data is transferred at 32 GB/s. The memory interface bus has a bandwidth of 22.40 GB/s and the Southbridge a bandwidth of 500 MB/s.
Audio and video 
All games made for the Xbox 360 are required to support at least Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound. The console works with over 256 audio channels and 320 independent decompression channels using 32-bit processing for audio, with support for 48 kHz 16-bit sound. Sound files for games are encoded using Microsoft's XMA audio format. An MPEG-2 decoder is included for DVD video playback. VC-1 or WMV is used for streaming video and other video is compressed using VC-1 at non-HD NTSC and PAL resolutions or WMV HD. The Xbox 360 also supports H.263 and H.264 MPEG-4 videos. Unlike the original Xbox, voice communication is handled by the console, not by the game code, allowing for cross-game communication. There is no voice echo to game players on the same console; voice only goes to remote consoles.
Initially there were no digital video outputs such as DVI or HDMI on the Xbox 360; instead, HD-quality output could only be produced over YPBPR component video (used by both the 3 RCA component cable and the Japanese D-terminal cable) and later VGA (via a software update). An HDMI port was introduced to the Xbox 360 by July 2007 with the introduction of the Elite model. All Xbox 360 SKUs currently manufactured feature an HDMI port. A wide array of SDTV and HDTV resolutions are supported by the console hardware; up to 1080p after the October 2006 software upgrade. While most games are rendered natively at 720p, the video from all games can be scaled by the hardware to whatever resolution the user has set in the console's settings; from 480i NTSC and 576i PAL all the way to 1080p HDTV.
DVD storage 
Early production runs of the Xbox 360 are equipped with a 12x DVD drive, capable of a maximum read rate of 15.85 MB/s. The original production DVD drives were manufactured by both LG and Toshiba. Beginning in November 2006, a new model the BenQ VAD6038 was introduced, which is said to run faster than the previous models and, in addition, is much quieter. There is a new drive by LiteOn.
Games are stored on standard dual-layer DVD-ROMs with 6.8 GB on the older XGD2 (Xbox Game Disc 2), but the newer XGD3 discs contain 7.8 GB of usable space available for game content. The option to apply a regional lockout to games is available to publishers, although DVD region codes are always enforced for movies. Microsoft has implemented methods to prevent hacking through the drive. Later drive models have the external debug triggering removed and black hard glue added to cover all the chip and controller pins. The drive is able to read both DVD±R and DVD±RW in addition to being able to play DVD-Video out of the box, unlike its predecessor, which required the purchase of an add-on remote. The system is also capable of playing standard CDs along with CD-R/RW, CD-DA, CD-ROM XA, CD-Extra, WMA-CD, MP3-CD, and JPEG Photo CD. Some users reported problems with the disc drive, as when a user changes the console's orientation, the inserted disc may brush against the drive's pickup assembly and incur scratches to it. The users manual advises against changing the console's position while there is a disc in the drive. Other users report experiencing disc scratching during normal horizontal usage.
Announced at CES 2006 and first publicly shown at E3 2006, an external HD DVD drive was released in North America on November 7, 2006 (for US$199.99) and in Japan on November 17, 2006 (for ¥19,800). In the UK, France and Germany, the HD DVD drive was released for €199.99/£129.99. The HD DVD drive was bundled for a limited time with an Xbox 360 Universal Media Remote, as well as an HD DVD copy of Peter Jackson's King Kong. The drive plays HD DVD movies, although all Xbox 360 games will remain on the DVD format. Microsoft has no plans to include an internal HD DVD player in future Xbox 360 designs. The drive connects to the Xbox 360 via USB and contains two integrated USB ports on the rear. Games can not be played on the HD DVD drive.
Microsoft has since discontinued the HD DVD add-on since the format was officially dropped by Toshiba. All remaining drives on store shelves have been drastically reduced in price by an average of US$50.00 to US$129.00 Some retailers have lowered it to as low as US$50.00 to clear it from their inventory.
List of DVD drives 
|DL10N (Xbox 360 S)||0500AA|
|Philips & BenQ Digital Solutions (AKA BenQ/Philips)||VAD6038||62430C
|New FW after System Update 2.0.13146.0 version. (04421C)|
|New FW after System Update 2.0.13146.0 version. (02510C)|
|DG-16D4S (Xbox 360 S)||9504
|New FW after System Update 2.0.13146.0 version. (9504 → 0272)|
|DG-16D5S (Xbox 360 S)||A445
Hard drive storage 
The Xbox 360 uses standard 2.5" SATA hard disk drives (HDDs) held within custom enclosures. These units have a custom connector to facilitate connection to the Xbox 360 and the drives themselves feature custom firmware (making stand-alone drives incompatible). The drives are detachable, making it possible to move data from one console to another, and to upgrade the size of drive on a console. The hard drives themselves are manufactured by various companies, including Fujitsu, Seagate, Samsung, Hitachi and Western Digital. Certain Western Digital hard disk drives can be modified with a program called HDDHackr to be used with the Xbox 360.
The original Pro configuration of the system came with a 20 GB hard drive, which was also available to purchase separately (for the Core model, and later the Arcade model, which did not include an HDD). This was upgraded to 60 GB in September 2008, and the 60 GB HDD was also made available at retail. In April 2007, Microsoft released the Elite console, which included a black 120 GB HDD; a grey 120 GB drive was also later made available at retail. In November 2009, Microsoft released the "Super Elite" console, as a bundle with the highly anticipated game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. This console was like the typical black Elite, but with Call of Duty graphics added and for the first time included a 250 GB hard drive (which holds up to 228 GB of data after system information is stored). This was followed by various other 250 GB special/limited edition bundles. No standard (non-special edition) configuration of the original console ever included a 250 GB drive, but they were later made available at retail.
In June 2010, Microsoft announced a new version of the console, the Xbox 360 S, which used a new form factor for its 250 GB hard drives. As such, original style hard drives cannot be used in Xbox 360 S consoles, and vice versa, without modification. In June 2011, Microsoft announced a specially branded "Gears of War 3 Limited Collector's Edition" Xbox 360 S console to coincide with the launch of Gears of War 3. At 320 GB, the included hard drive is the largest available for/with any Xbox 360 model.
Approximately 7 GB of a 60 GB drive is reserved for system use (4 GB of that portion is reserved for game title caching and other hard drive specific elements in games that support the hard drive, and an additional 2 GB is reserved for use by the Xbox 360 backwards-compatibility software). This leaves just under 54 GB of free space, rounded down to 53 GB in the dashboard, for saving game files, Xbox Live Arcade downloadable content, and media files (such as music and video). Similar figures apply to other hard disk drive sizes.
Other independent companies have manufactured 250 GB hard drives using hacked firmware since 2008. Many of these allegedly infringe trademarks of Microsoft, including the Microsoft logo, Xbox 360 logo, and the likeness of the removable hard disk drive design.
All versions of the Xbox 360 come with a built-in 10/100 Ethernet network adapter. Proprietary USB Wi-Fi 802.11n and 802.11g adapters can be purchased separately. The Xbox 360 S, or slim, has built in wireless N 2.4 GHz networking.
Microsoft avoids outright announcements of new motherboard production runs and their subsequent appearance in the market in part due to uneven distribution causing buyer's remorse and to prevent purchaser delay. However, several major (and many minor) motherboard revisions are introduced in an attempt to build systems more cheaply (and thus increase profits), and as a happy side effect, to allow them to run cooler while consuming less power. Note that there is no clear divide between the appearance of motherboard revisions in retail. Due to individual stock production, distribution and rotation, it may become difficult to find specific versions.
The power connectors on the back of these systems incorporate a "keying" system that will prevent plugging a (newer) lower-rated power supply into an older system (which needs more power). The keying system does, however, allow older power supplies to be connected to newer systems, as this poses no problem. The initial motherboard version was known as "Xenon" and used a 203 watt power supply, and lacked an HDMI video port. The "Zephyr" revision was largely the same aside from the addition of the HDMI port, and an improved GPU heatsink. The "Falcon" incorporated a newer 65 nm CPU, the original 90 nm GPU, and it required less power so it came packaged with a 175 watt power supply. "Jasper" (released late August or early September 2008) used both a 65 nm CPU and GPU, as well as 256 MB of on-board flash memory. (This was to help run a then-recent Dashboard update. Without the addition of this internal memory, a hard disk drive or memory card is required.) The "Jasper" revision required even less power, and so the power supply was also reduced to 150 watts. Xbox 360 S introduced a new motherboard version called "Trinity" with a 45 nm integrated CPU, GPU, and eDRAM (i.e. all in the same chip package). In 2011 a second model of the Xbox 360 S motherboard has been released known as "Corona" which integrates the HANA chip[clarification needed] into the southbridge chip.
List of revisions 
|Codename||CPU||GPU||HDMI||Power Supply||In Production||Date Released||Notes|
|Xenon||90 nm||90 nm||No||203 W||No||November 2005||Original release.|
|Zephyr||90 nm||90 nm||Yes||203 W||No||July 2007||Introduced HDMI port. Improved GPU heatsink.|
|Falcon||65 nm||90 nm||Yes||175 W||No||Late September 2007||Introduced 65 nm CPU. Power consumption lowered.|
|Opus||65 nm||90 nm||No||175 W||No||June 2008||Available as a replacement for Xenon motherboards which have been sent in to Microsoft repair centers.|
|Jasper||65 nm||65 nm||Yes||150 W||No||September 2008||Introduced 65 nm GPU. Introduced on-board flash-based memory. Further reduced power consumption. Later models go back to the old style GPU heat sink not the improved one, confirmed by the Console Doctor.|
|Trinity (Valhalla)||45 nm (combined "Vejle" chip)||Yes||135 W||No||June 2010||Motherboard redesign used in the Xbox 360 S (not used in other console versions). Two versions; one with 4 GB on-board storage, one without.|
|Corona||45 nm (combined chip)||Yes||120 W||Yes||August 2011||No more HANA chip; integrated into southbridge. PSU is 9.86 A, down from 10.83 A|
Connectivity to accessories 
The Xbox 360 features three USB 2.0 ports (two on the front, one on the back). The new Xbox 360 S, however, has five USB 2.0 ports (two on the front, three in the back) along with a dedicated Kinect port. These are used for connection of accessories such as wired controllers, the wireless networking adapter, the Xbox Live Vision camera and USB storage devices. Although the number of wired controllers is limited by the number of ports, up to four may be used through the use of a USB hub.
The Xbox 360 also features wireless connectivity of accessories via a proprietary 2.4 GHz radio system. This is mainly used to connect the official wireless controllers, but is also used for other devices such as the wireless racing wheel and wireless headsets. With the exception of some rhythm game controllers, this wireless connectivity is limited to first-party Microsoft accessories.
The Xbox 360 can connect to Xbox Live over the Internet through the built-in 100 megabit Ethernet connector or an optional wireless network adapter. These can also be used to connect two consoles together directly for LAN play on supported games.
Original style consoles also have two front-mounted memory card slots for the system's proprietary Memory Unit. These can be used to transfer profile and game data from one Xbox 360 to another. Memory Units up to 512 MB are available from Microsoft. The "Arcade" model formerly came with a 256 MB Memory Unit, but with the Jasper motherboard revision of September 2008, the "Arcade" model began to include 256 MB of built-in flash memory. This was later increased to 512 MB. The memory card slots were replaced with USB ports on the newer Xbox 360 S models.
The Universal Media Remote can be used to control several functions of the console, including the Windows Media Center functions if connected to the network. It communicates with the console via infrared through a receiver port on the front of the console.
All standard controllers for the system feature a 2.5 mm headset jack to allow the use of wired headsets for voice chatting. They also feature a custom USB connector, which is currently only used for connection of the chatpad keyboard accessory.
Various other accessories for the console exist, such as decorative faceplates to change the physical appearance of the console.
Physical appearance 
The physical outline of the original style Xbox 360 is 310 mm × 80 mm × 268 mm (12 in × 3 in × 10 in; width × height × depth) when placed horizontally and is similar in form factor to its predecessor. It is slightly slimmer in every dimension and is slightly concave, while the original Xbox was noticeably convex.
It comes as standard in either black or white, with other colors available as special editions. It was designed by Astro Studios in cooperation with Hers Experimental Design Laboratory. In June 2010 a redesign of the console, known as the Xbox 360 S, was announced. This version of the console retains the same basic shape but is noticeably smaller and more angular than the original version. It comes as standard in either matte or glossy black; like its predecessor, other colors are available as special editions.
The front of the console features a "ring of light" that displays four illuminated quadrants in either red or green (except the redesigned console which only has green lights). When the lights turn red, the console has encountered an error, with the number of sectors illuminated informing the user what category the error falls into. Since the redesign of the console removed the red LEDs, this error reporting system is no longer used.
Power supply 
The console uses an external power supply with a 10 A/100–120 V or 5 A/220-230 V (AC) input and DC output rated at 203/175/150/135/115 W (depending on revision). An estimated 2 W of power are used while the older versions of console are in standby mode giving a yearly usage of approximately 17.5 kWh. The new version uses around 0.5W while in standby. Saving the console size and weight, the power supply displaces 1300 cm³.
See also 
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- "Xbox 360 System Architecture". Retrieved 2013-01-24.
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- Wasson, Scott (2005-05-19). "Embedded DRAM for "free" antialiasing". The Tech Report, LLC. Retrieved 2006-12-27.
- Douglass, Perry (2005-05-20). "Microsoft's Xbox 360 vs. Sony's PlayStation 3". IGN. Retrieved 2006-09-30.
- Cross, Jason (2005-05-20). "Xbox 360 GPU Details". ExtremeTech. Retrieved 2006-09-30.
- McLain, Alex (2005-10-31). "Xbox 360 High Def Details". Microsoft Corporation. Retrieved 2006-10-03.[dead link]
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- Hill, Brandon (2007-02-06). "Microsoft's Xbox 360 Gets New Internal Optical Drive". DailyTECH. Retrieved 2007-07-06.
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- Padilla, Raymond (2005-03-08). "We Got Next—Part One (Xbox)". GameSpy. Retrieved 2006-11-13.
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- Miller, Jonathan (2005-12-05). "Xbox 360: Glitch In The System?". IGN Xbox 360. Retrieved 2007-01-03.
- Sinclair, Brendan (2006-09-27). "$199 360 HD-DVD drive coming in mid-November". GameSpot. Retrieved 2006-10-02.
- Berardini, César (2006-08-17). "HD DVD Xbox 360 Games Another Rumor Debunked". TeamXbox. Retrieved 2006-11-11.
- Menendez, Cesar (2006-06-30). "No Internal HD DVD Plans". Gamerscore. Retrieved 2006-11-01.
- Magrino, Tom. "Microsoft drops 360's HD DVD player". Gamespot. Retrieved 2008-02-25.
- Burg, Dustin (2007-04-23). "Save some cash, use your own 120GB HDD". Joystiq. Retrieved 2012-09-19.
- "Gears 3 LCE Console and Controller Announced". Microsoft. June 7, 2011. Retrieved June 20, 2011.
- Microsoft Xbox 360 Internal Memorandum 11952006; Announcement of new motherboards may cause consumers to delay purchases of existing units and some regions with slower inventory turnover may not see the newer units for some time
- Heckendorn, Ben. "New 65nm CPU *not found* in very new Xbox 360". Retrieved 2008-11-10.
- "Ben Heck: Inside an Xbox 360 Jasper".
- "New Jasper Xbox 360 Probably Shipping First Week of September".
- "Rumor: XBox 360 "Jasper" Motherboard Set For 8/08 Release".
- "Leaked Xbox 360 'Valhalla' motherboard analyzed by Ben Heck". Engadget. Retrieved 2012-09-19.
- http://www.modcontrol.com/Board/software-allgemein/34965-neues-xbox-slim-model-nicht-flashbar-und-kein-reset-glitch-hack-moeglich.html#post169902/[unreliable source?]
- [dead link]
- Kemp, David (2006-04-01). "Collaboration and the creation of the Xbox 360". Core77. Retrieved 2006-12-28.
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- Berardini, César (2006-06-19). "Game Console Energy Consumption". TeamXbox. Retrieved 2006-11-18.
- Cole, Vladimir (2005-12-06). "Xbox 360 power supply dunked in water to prove it's damned big". Joystiq. Retrieved 2006-10-03.