Xbox 360 "Zephyr" gets HDMI, 65nm and 120GB HDD

January 5, 2007 | 17:16

Tags: #65nm #hd-dvd #hdmi #ps3 #second-generation #xbox-360 #zephyr

Companies: #blu-ray #microsoft #sony #taiwan

According to Engadget, Microsoft has been busying itself with a new version of the Xbox 360. The team has snapped some sneaky pics of the new console that was previously only thought to boast a die shrink for its Xenos GPU and tri-cored IBM CPU. This provides lower power, less heat and hopefully a better console life-span.

It appears that Microsoft has decided it needs to keep up with the Jones’ (Sony) and integrate a HDMI port as well as the standard analogue A/V port. Not pictured is the all new, larger 120GB hard disk (twice that of Sony’s 60GB PS3) that may or may not come with the package. This means users can use the Live Marketplace to download a lot more stuff without having to resort to deleting things left, right and centre - a problem made all the more worse since Microsoft has starts its movie, TV and music download services.

The question is, despite the new console features, will it require people buying a Zephyr to have a HDMI/HDCP enabled TV to watch HD-DVD and High-Definition content? Up until now, thanks to the recent Xbox Live update, Microsoft has enabled people to use the analogue component and VGA connections to watch their movies in HD, essentially DRM-free. Could this mean mean more people seek out the version 1 console in DRM-free preference?

There’s also no word whether the console might offer an option for an integrated HD-DVD drive. Doing so would allow the 360 to compete directly with the PS3 in the new, but sparsely populated “High-Definition gaming media centre” market. Microsoft has said before that it has no intents to combine currently stand-alone HD-DVD - but it also said it had no intents to issue a newer model of the 360, either.

Will this make the version 1 consoles cheaper since it offers fewer options? Despite the fact the new console should be cheaper to make on a 65nm, including HDMI means Microsoft has to pay royalties on every console sold. Add into the fact it will need a separate firmware to the version 1 consoles and you’ve increased the work, and cost, on your development team.

The 65nm process is said to be delayed for several months, so it may be until 2nd or 3rd quarter before we can get a hold of it. That wait might mean Sony will get a better foothold on this market before Zephyr sees the sales floor...providing, of course, that the PS3 can get some games out worth playing.

It seems Microsoft sure as hell isn’t playing second fiddle to Sony, and won’t go down without a fight.
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