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Alpha_ProgDes

Why that hardware for Xbox 360?

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If this has been beaten to death, sorry. But I never gotten an understanding with why MS went with a completely different architecture for the 360. Could they not have had a NVidia card with 3 Intel processors or even AMDs? Why ATi and PowerPC processors? Is there a superior advantage I missed? *edit: especially, they are aiming for backward compatibility

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ATI vs. NVIDIA: I assume it's the result of massive corporate wranging, dirty dealing in a smoke-filled room, palm-greasing, back-kicking, mutual back-scratching, and other sundry quid pro quo.

PowerPC: It's really looking like the wave of the future here. PowerPC is on the cutting edge of multicore CPUs, and a multicore CPU is easier to program for effectively than a SMP system is. It's also possible there was a big steaming pile of quid pro quo here.

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ATI vs NVIDIA: Lots of reasons actually, first the xbox gpu that was initially planned/promised didn't turn out. Originally was supposed to be 130nm chip with high clocks, these were continually being lowered throughout development/testing and eventually i believe they went with 150nm part with much lower clocks still (for yields). The actual performance was way lower then the promised performance.

Next when the xbox is selling and production prices are going down NVIDIA did not want to lower the price per GPU, so MS is paying the original price although production has become much cheaper (for NVIDIA). I believe they went to court or some form of litigation but the result wasn't too favorable for MS.

Next the xbox deal left nvidia feeling like they could push their own architecture for DX9 (MS would accept it and force it on everybody), this failed (voted off by everyone at the talks). NVIDIA got pissed and left the talks, resulting in the FX series.

Someone please correct me if i'm wrong in the history above.

Now the deal is much different, ATI only designed the GPU and gets a royalty per sale/production. MS handles the production of the GPU. Same with the CPU here.

PPC over Intel/AMD, not sure but I've heard cheaper core with quoted performance figures very good for the price [smile]. The dev interviews I've seen have said that including an Intel/AMD processor would have been much better for them.

HTH

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As for the PowerPC vs X86, Microsoft also probably got a lot more control over the cpu than it would have otherwise - there's a very good chance you'll see a GPU/CPU integrated chip in the 360's life, which would mean huge savings in production.

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