IBM and Microsoft have been working quite tirelessly on making a chipset that would reduce or even eliminate the RRoD issue. It seems smaller means better in this case, as they decided to squish the graphics process and CPU together into one chip, that takes up less space, power and cost than previous iterations. The new chips name, “Vejle”, which had been assumed to be the oft-rumoured Valhalla, is going to powering the new Xbox 360 S. After the break is a picture of the evolution of the CPU and GPU of the Xbox 360.
This is not a new idea, to meld both GPU and CPU into one, the PS2 did it too in order to make Slim version so tiny while not sacrificing performance. In the constant battle to remain the cheapest and smallest console on the market, both Sony and Microsoft are devoting a large portion of their profits to R&D departments to accomplish this.The new Xbox combined chip has 372 million transistors, the basic on-off components of electronics. IBM and another unnamed manufacturer are building the chip in a 45-nanometer silicon-on-insulator manufacturing process. (The original partner was Chartered Semiconductor, which was purchased by Globalfoundries; it’s logical to assume Globalfoundries is the other partner, which allows Microsoft to benefit from a second-source strategy in terms of pricing for chips).
The manufacturing process is particularly important in reducing costs and power. It allows a chip maker to create a chip with smaller circuitry, which in turn leads to smaller size, power consumption and costs. But new processes come along every couple of years, since it takes billions of dollars to make the factories that use the new processes. The new chip takes the exact same 3.2-gigahertz, three-core microprocessor and 500-megahertz graphics chip design and puts them on the same chip. In order to create this, Microsoft and IBM engineers had to work together to build the necessary connectivity within the chip to route electrical signals in and out of the chip. You can’t just glue the two designs together. Rather, IBM had to get rid of its main communications channel between the chips, dubbed the front-side bus, and build a substitute for it.
I don’t want to bore you with all the technical details, but rest assured this new chip should prove to be the most stable and Red Ring free version. I also assume this is how they managed to integrate the power supply for Kinect in the New Slim Xbox, while older versions require an additional outlet for the Kinect to power up.