The first of the GPU/CPU combo SoCs

Microsoft has come out with the latest XBOX 360 SoC which is a combination of GPU and CPU on the same die, beating all the other contenders by a fair margin. The new system was unveiled by the Microsoft engineers at a Hot Chips conference.

The system diagram (from an MSDN blog entry):

From what is known about this hardware:

  • It is based on the IBM/GlobalFoundries 45nm process
  • It is the first “consumer”-oriented chip to include the CPU, GPU as well as memories and I/Os on the same die, merged in a single piece of silicon
  • The reduction in transistor geometry (from 90nm to 45nm) has allowed Microsoft to reduce power consumption and heat dissipation, allowing Microsoft to reduce the cost of the system with the reduced cooling requirements as well as a smaller footprint power supply
  • There is a module “FSB Replacement”, which, replicates the traditional interconnect between the GPU and the CPU when they are discrete. But, here, the engineers did not go for an LLI (Low Latency Interconnect), and instead opted for introducing artificial latency to keep the system performance at par with the existing version.
  • The “Red Ring of Death” problems should be far rarer now.

For a more in-depth analysis, head over to ArsTechnica.


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