Xbox 360

From Academic Kids

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Xbox 360 logo

Xbox 360 system and controller

Xbox 360 is Microsoft's successor to their Xbox video game console, previously referred to during development as "Project Xenon". The console is expected to be released in November 2005 in the U.S., and the launch in Europe is expected only a few weeks later. The Xbox 360 will compete for marketshare against the PlayStation 3 and the Nintendo Revolution, once they are released. The Xbox 360 was officially unveiled on MTV on May 12, 2005, a week before . The system's retail price has not yet been determined by Microsoft, but it is set to be "in the neighborhood" of 300 U.S. dollars, according to Microsoft Corporate Vice President J. Allard.

With the launch of the Xbox 360, Microsoft's online gaming service, Xbox Live will go through a major upgrade adding a basic non-subscription service (Silver) to its already established premium subscription-based service (Gold).

In March 2004, Microsoft announced a new game development software strategy dubbed "XNA", believed to be for the Xbox 360.


Hardware specifications

Significantly, the Intel x86 processor of the Xbox has been replaced by a custom IBM-designed processor based on the PowerPC architecture.

A side-by-side comparison between Xbox 360 and PS3 can be seen here: [1] (

According to the official Xbox website (, the final specifications of the system are:

Custom IBM PowerPC-based CPU "Xenon"

  • Three symmetrical cores running at 3.2 GHz
  • Two hardware threads per core; six total
  • VMX-128 vector unit per core; three total
  • 128 VMX-128 registers per hardware thread
  • 1MB L2 cache (Lockable by Graphics Processor)

Custom ATI R500 Based GPU "Xenos"

  • 337 Million transistors total
  • 500 MHz parent GPU (90nm process, 232 Million Transistors)
  • 10 MB daughter eDRAM Framebuffer (90nm process, 105 Million Transistors)
    • 256 GB/s internal memory bandwidth to internal logic for AA, 32GB/s to parent GPU (2GHz x 64bit Bus)
  • 48-way parallel floating-point dynamically-scheduled shader pipelines (ALU's for Vertex or Pixel Shader processing)
  • Unified shader architecture (This means that the pipelines are shared between pixel pipelines and vertex shaders; for example, 42 pixel pipelines : 6 vertex shaders.)
  • 16 Filtered & 16 Unfiltered Texture samples per clock
  • Polygon Performance: 500 million triangles per second
  • Pixel Fill Rate: 16 gigasamples per second fillrate using 4X MSAA
  • Shader Performance: 48 billion shader operations per second (96 billion shader operations per second theoretical maximum)
  • Dot product operations: 9 billion per second (Microsoft figure)


  • 512 MB 700MHz GDDR-3 RAM (unified memory architecture)
  • Memory Bandwidth
    • 22.4 GB/s memory interface bus bandwidth
    • 256 GB/s eDRAM internal memory bandwidth
    • 32 GB/s GPU to eDRAM bandwidth
    • 21.6 GB/s frontside bus

Overall System Floating-Point Performance


  • Multichannel surround sound output
  • Supports 48khz 16-bit audio
  • 320 independent decompression channels
  • 32 bit processing
  • 256+ audio channels


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Xbox 360 controller

The Xbox 360 has the ability to support four wireless controllers. Additionally it can support three wired controllers through the use of its USB ports (two in front, one in back). The wired controller cords are nine feet in length and are breakaway similar to those used with the Xbox.

The controller for the Xbox 360 is a similar yet improved version of the Type-S gamepad for the original Xbox. The Xbox 360 controller adds the new feature of the Xbox guide button, which has the appearance of the Xbox 360 emblem and is surrounded by a ring of light. Pressing the Xbox guide button will bring the Xbox 360 out of sleep mode or instantly bring up the "Xbox Guide". The ring of light lights up to designate what controller "port" the gamepad is currently using and which console (if more than one) the controller is connected to. The black and white buttons have been redesigned as shoulder buttons, now refered to as bumper buttons, located above the left and right triggers. The rear of the controller has been redesigned to include a new port where the player can connect a headset. The new port replaces the two non-standard USB connectors on the front of the Xbox controller.

Xbox Guide

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Size comparison with the first Xbox.

The Xbox Guide is a tabbed interface that contains several features such as:

  • Xbox Live
  • Marketplace
  • Favorites List
  • Custom Playlists
  • Friends Lists
  • and more

Physical Dimensions and Weight

  • The Xbox 360 weights 7.7 pounds or 3.5 kg
  • 309mm wide x 83mm high x 258mm deep
  • 12.15" wide x 3.27" high x 10.15" deep


  • Support for WMV HD DVD Video, Standard DVD-video, DVD-Rom, DVD-R/RW, CD-DA, CD-Rom, CD-R, CD-RW, WMA CD, MP3 CD, JPEG photo CD
  • Media Center Extender capability
  • All games support a 16:9 aspect ratio, and 720p and 1080i video modes
  • Standard-definition and high-definition video output supported
  • At least 4x Anti-Aliasing will be enabled at all times
  • Customizable face plates to change appearance
  • 3 USB 2.0 ports
  • Support for 4 wireless controllers
  • Detachable 20GB hard drive
  • Wi-Fi ready (802.11a, 802.11b, and 802.11g), using an Xbox 360-specific or third-party wireless bridge accessory. Xbox 360 consoles will automatically detect and link with other Xbox 360 consoles within range.

Backward compatibility

According to J Allard during Microsoft's E3 Press Conference, the Xbox 360 will be backward compatible with original Xbox games with Xbox Live support, however, it is possible that it may not be fully backward-compatible with all Xbox games. J Allard stated, "Xbox 360 will be backward-compatible with top-selling Xbox games". The ambiguous statement has many media outlets believing that Microsoft may pick and choose certain games. Steve Ballmer in an interview with Engadget ( has stated that they will concentrate on making sure the best selling titles, such as Halo and Halo 2, are compatible. Michael Brundage  (, a Microsoft software engineer, talks on his site about the current challenge to develop an emulator, granting more reliable and solid compability. It is worth noting that the black and white buttons on the Xbox controller have been replaced by two "shoulder" buttons on the Xbox 360 controller. This may affect gameplay in Xbox titles.

Richard Harris of ATI has since revealed that the backwards compatability will be accomplished "purely through emulation (at the CPU level)". The enigmatic "most popular titles" statements are also explained, as the system will likely ship with a certain number of "emulation profiles" for games, new profiles being available over the Xbox Live network. [2] (


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MTV's Xbox 360 TV special hosted by actor Elijah Wood.

The marketing for Xbox 360 began on March 14, 2005 with the opening of an Alternate Reality Game and viral marketing website called Through March and April the website would give challenges to its community and if they were solved would give out a reward, usually a picture of the system or an obscure screenshot from a launch game.

The official unveiling of the system occurred on Thursday, May 12, 2005 on MTV in a program called MTV Presents: The Next Generation Xbox Revealed hosted by the actor Elijah Wood with a musical performance by the band The Killers, and the Xbox 360 was featured on the cover of TIME Magazine's May 23, 2005 issue with Microsoft chairman Bill Gates holding up one of the units.

The system, along with many playable games, were shown off at E3 2005, the demos were running on Xbox 360 Alpha Development-Kits, which are customized Apple PowerMac G5s. Because they were not running on actual systems, most of the games were said to be running at 25-30% capacity.


Further reading

Template:Dedicated video game consoles

See also

External links

es:Xbox 360 fr:Xbox 360 ja:Xbox 360 nl:Xbox 360 no:Xbox 360 pt:Xbox 360 simple:Xbox 360 sv:Xbox 360 zh:Xbox 360


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