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Is the next Xbox already in trouble?

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After the Xbox 360 launched, it was soon discovered that the cheaply built machine had a wee bit of a design flaw – and cheap as all hell solder – that caused the motherboard to warp and the chip to start popping off the board, resulting in the infamous Red ring of Death. It looks like the next Xbox may already be facing technical difficulties of its own.

According to rumour, Microsoft has already started production on the new “Oban” chip that’ll be powering the next Xbox – but that yields (number of fully functional chips)  are so low, that the company now has three factories making the chip in the hopes that they can meet initial demand. Semiaccurate says that the console was originally planned to be released in September next year – but these chip issues could delay that somewhat.

Surprisingly, instead of the PowerPC based brain that was expected (and that resides in the 360), it seems Microsoft may have gone the x86 route, with AMD CPU and GPU in tow. The good news? The next Xbox may contain a significantly more powerful GPU than anticipated.

"The dark horse was an x86 CPU, but it was a long shot. It looks like the long shot came through, moles are now openly talking about AMD x86 CPU cores and more surprisingly, a newer than expected GPU. How new? HD7000 series, or at least a variant of the GCN cores, heavily tweaked by Microsoft for their specific needs."

If there are issues with yields of MS’ next chip, that’d be a little worrying – but I’m pretty confident that this time around, Microsoft’s console will be rock solid. Microsoft probably wants to be “first” with their next generation console – but It can’t afford the $1bn PR nightmare that the RROD fiasco brought about at the beginning of this gen again.

Last Updated: September 7, 2012

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