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Xbox: what's difference PC <-> Xbox?

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Hi, In general terms, people think the Xbox is basically comparable to a PC with a GeForce3, but what are the XBox strengths? I mean, what''s the stuff that sets it apart from a PC with the same spec? (64MB RAM, 8GB HDD, GeForce3..) Any comments or observations? Thanks! Mark

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Yes, it's a heavily modified nForce-based PC. To all those "Let's Make a GAME OS!!!!!!" newbies who want to see what a PC with such an OS would look like, behold! The Xbox.

The Xbox runs a massively modified Win2K kernel (now you know what Windows would look like if MS didn't bundle anything with it), on a modified Pentium III 733. Other bits and pieces include the 4 modified USB ports for joypads, an 8Gb HDD (again, through a modified IDE interface), a heavily modified IDE DVD-ROM drive, an evil little BIOS chip, etc.

From a programming perspective, you get DirectX, but with the COM stuff removed as it's irrelevant in a console context. Most of the Win32 API is gone.

Why is it better than a PC? Simple: it's a closed platform. Developers *love* closed platforms as it makes software much easier to design and build. No need to worry about graphics card incompatibilities or issues with the audio system, network card, hard disk size, DVD-ROM speed, etc: with the Xbox -- or any console -- all this stuff is decided for you, nailed down, chiselled in stone and then laminated.

Development is smoother. Support is easier. Design is easier. Programmers, artists and audio guys are happy... all is well with the world! It's how games development was always meant to be.

--
Sean Timarco Baggaley


[edited by - stimarco on July 25, 2002 2:40:19 PM]

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Thanks - but I realise I probably didn''t phrase my question right so I can only find half my question answered

I''m looking more from a technical viewpoint; how technically is an Xbox different from a PC with the ''same'' components?

For example, what is Xbox-specific cool stuff - hardware/programming wise - that makes it technically a better game machine than a similar PC? Does it have any strengths hardware-wise which a similar PC doesn''t have?


Thanks!

Mark

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Unified memory, its 64MB of RAM are shared between the CPU and the GPU.

------------------------------------------------------
Cuando miras al abismo el abismo te devuelve la mirada.
F. Nietzsche

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It uses a Mobile Celeron with a 133Mhz FSB, not a Pentium. Just imagine what the size of the console and main fan would have to be if that was a Pentium heating up in there. Oh, and read the Anandtech’s article if you want more hype then anything else. A developer on Ars did a good breakdown of their article, I''ll see if I can find that.

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Thanks for the links! There''s been a lot of people saying the Xbox is just a PC, so I wanted to find out what the Xbox has that a ''similar'' PC doesn''t have.

Even for sceptics, you have to admit that some Xbox titles look very good, maybe better than you could get on a similar spec. PC. To me, this means that the Xbox definitely has some hardware/programming possibilities that are better than the equivalent PC. Exactly what these are, that''s what I''m trying to find out

Thanks

Mark

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Guest Anonymous Poster
quote:
Original post by Identity
It uses a Mobile Celeron with a 133Mhz FSB, not a Pentium. Just imagine what the size of the console and main fan would have to be if that was a Pentium heating up in there. Oh, and read the Anandtech’s article if you want more hype then anything else. A developer on Ars did a good breakdown of their article, I''ll see if I can find that.


IT ABSOLUTELY WITH OUT A DOUBT DOES NOT USE A MOBILE CELERON PROCESSOR! Good god, I see at least one person say it''s a celeron daily. This Idea of a celeron processor came about in the days of speculation before the xbox''s release. Microsoft put out a technical paper which said that the xbox would have a P3 chip with 128KB L2 cache. At that time the only chips with 128KB L2 cache were the Celerons, this lead to the theory that the Xbox had a celeron processor. However the difference between a celeron and a full blown p3 is not just limited to the ammount of L2 cache on the chip. One of the major differences is that the celeron has an 4-way set associative cache while the P3 has an 8-way set associative cache. The P3 chip contained in the xbox has the 8-way set associative cache. Thus it differs from the celeron, and can be considered a P3 NOT a celeron.

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quote:
Original post by Anonymous Poster

IT ABSOLUTELY WITH OUT A DOUBT DOES NOT USE A MOBILE CELERON PROCESSOR!


That's funny, theres seems to be some very clear evidence to the contrary.

http://216.194.77.198/articles/2001/november/011116_Xbox/011116_Xbox.htm

[edited by - Identity on August 1, 2002 9:46:23 PM]

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"We had been told informally by Intel months ago that the FSB speed would be 133 MHz -- which would make this chip a mutant Celeron."

I could be mistaken, maybe these people don't know a Celeron from a (possibly custom) Pentium 3. Of course it could be a custom made Celeron, but why go though the trouble when you could have a custom made P3 instead?


[edited by - PSWind on August 1, 2002 12:07:33 AM]

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