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Rumored Technical Details For Next Xbox Rounded Up

simoniker posted more than 10 years ago | from the many-whispers-in-the-dark dept.

XBox (Games) 158

Thanks to the San Jose Mercury News for its article summing up many of the rumored technical details for Microsoft's next Xbox console. The author argues: "The details suggest Microsoft is far more concerned about keeping the cost of its Xbox Next console low than it is with including dazzling technological features or driving its rivals out of the business", and goes on to discuss the possible chipset ("Three IBM-designed 64-bit microprocessors... [as] used in Apple Computer's high-end G5 PowerMac machines"), and alleged hard disc removal for Xbox's sequel ("[Microsoft] seems to have decided that saving the $50 the hard drive costs outweighs its benefits.") The piece ends with the claim that "Microsoft has begun developing game prototypes, and it is using [Apple] G5 systems to do so."

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Hard drive removal (3, Interesting)

Tyrdium (670229) | more than 10 years ago | (#8152732)

Part of the reason they're removing the hard drive isn't to save on costs. If they make a cheap, powerful system with a hard drive, it'll be hacked to allow us to run Linux on it. Microsoft loses money on the consoles as it is, making up for it with profits from game sales. A good amount of the people who install Linux on it won't be buying games, so Microsoft will only be losing money, not getting any.

Re:Hard drive removal (5, Insightful)

nelsonal (549144) | more than 10 years ago | (#8152755)

I find the hard drive pretty handy in that I don't need to buy memory cards, or swap them around. I think they see memory cards as a potential place to offset some of the losses generated by the console, which can be produced at a lower cost without a Hard drive. I would guess that everyone else sells them at a profit. Seems like a pretty good idea for them all around.

Re:Hard drive removal (1)

Bulln-Bulln (659072) | more than 10 years ago | (#8153336)

Yeah, HDDs are really handy, if you want to take your savegames to friends...

Re:Hard drive removal (1)

AndrewHowe (60826) | more than 10 years ago | (#8153571)

Then you copy it from the hard drive to a memory card. Most of the time you have the convenience of the internal hard drive.

Re:Hard drive removal (0)

TechniMyoko (670009) | more than 10 years ago | (#8155023)

make said friends come to you, play over live, it still has a memory card port

Re:Hard drive removal (5, Insightful)

alienw (585907) | more than 10 years ago | (#8153235)

You don't know what you're talking about. I highly doubt Microsoft loses too much money because of people modding xboxes. I doubt there's even a thousand people who run Linux on their xbox. There's really not much point in doing that.

On the other hand, a hard drive is a very substantial expense. It's simply not possible to build a hard drive for less than $50, regardless of capacity. In a $99 system (that probably has to be sold to stores for around $85, that's more than half the cost. That's a HUGE expense that does not get cheaper over time, and it's obvious why Microsoft is getting rid of it.

Re:Hard drive removal (1)

anarxia (651289) | more than 10 years ago | (#8153297)

I bought my 80gb 7200rpm for $50 (after rebate). I am sure MS can get better deals. Oh, and it DOES get cheaper over time.

Re:Hard drive removal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8153569)

Your 80 GB drive cost you $50. Fine.

Now go price out a brand new 10 GB HD. (Realize that MS wouldn't WANT a large HD in their system.) Can you find one cheaper than $50?

Larger capacity get cheaper over time, but the minimum cost of a HD does not not respect capacity. Notice that it's cheaper for Maxtor et al. to make $50 50 GB HDs than to TRY to sell smaller capacity drives for anything less than that. This is why the Xbox no longer uses 8 GB drives, but uses 10 GB drives on which only the first 8 GB are recognized.

Screw MS and their video game business anyway. They and the publishers that publish games for them are not getting any of my money, and they never will.

Re:Hard drive removal (0)

TechniMyoko (670009) | more than 10 years ago | (#8155052)

I dont think you not buying will hurt them, in fact, given your attitude im sure they dont want your business

Re:Hard drive removal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8156029)

Yeah, businesses exist not to want money, sacrificing opportunities where they lie. You're a sharp one, laddy!

Why do we still have hard drives ? (1)

linzeal (197905) | more than 10 years ago | (#8154121)

Where is the cheap flash memory subsystem that is 10 gig plus, is there an electrical engineer that can explain why we are not seeing something that is solid state become less expensive in short time than a much less elegant mechanical memory storage system?

In the past year I have lost 2 hard drives in a ~0-20'C enviroment with 60-100% RH, no tell-tale grinding or click-click whirring just sudden death. I'm noticing now that when things fail there is no chance to save them anymore because the designs have grown to meet standards of production instead of usage. As more and more things are made using various physical simulations programs instead of hands on interaction with end state materials in prototype form we lose the tactile perspective as a source of failure before production.

I have an old Micropolis 3243WD [hitechcafe.com] scsi-2 as the sole scsi device in my media server for one single reason. It has held a debian stable image for almost 2 years now; whereas, out of 9 hd in my place (including xbox and laptop) I have had 4 failures, and all of them were IDE and less than a year old. This micropolis is of unknown pedigree but from the ashes of some dot com company came a worthy piece of machinery I got for only 90 some odd bucks 2 years ago.

Re:Why do we still have hard drives ? (1)

Absurd Being (632190) | more than 10 years ago | (#8154227)

It's just easier currently to process a magnetic disc and make a few points (the read/write heads) smaller, and to test those, than it is to layer, minify, and test the entirety of a multilayer IC board. The magnetic disc requires surprisingly little processing, compared to an IC. As soon as the flash cards are switched to a smaller mask, and processing costs drop a few percent more, you'll see your 10GB flash cards.

Re:Hard drive removal (1)

Dark Paladin (116525) | more than 10 years ago | (#8155703)

Actually, I would have to disagree.

Not too long ago I had a comment from a reader in South America who let me know that Xboxes were very popular in the geek crowd. Why? Easily moddible, and cheap Linux boxes.

I'm not sure how accurate this is, but I'm willing to bet that Microsoft is at least worried about the possibility.

Re:Hard drive removal (5, Insightful)

TSage (702439) | more than 10 years ago | (#8153269)

Yeah, because not having a hard drive will somehow stop people from trying to get Linux to run on an X-Box, just like it stopped the folks from bringing it to the DreamCast and Game Cube.

Naturally, since it's Microsoft, they must be taking out the hard drive to stop the "rampant spread of Linux through the masses". Please people, get off your high horses. Yeah, MS is rightfully worried about Linux, but to think they're cutting costs on something that is costing them large sums so they can stop maybe a couple thousand people (at most) from running Open Source software?

People need a reality check if that type of post gets modded up.

TSage

Re:Hard drive removal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8153324)

People need a reality check if that type of post gets modded up.

Um, this is Slashdot? Did you expect something different?

Re:Hard drive removal (1)

edwdig (47888) | more than 10 years ago | (#8156118)

Yeah, because not having a hard drive will somehow stop people from trying to get Linux to run on an X-Box, just like it stopped the folks from bringing it to the DreamCast and Game Cube.

There's a noticable number of people running Linux on the Xbox. You could probably count on your fingers the number of people that have tried using Linux on a GameCube. A GameCube running Linux is really only useful as a dumb terminal, whereas an Xbox with Linux can practically be a full computer.

Re:Hard drive removal (1)

TSage (702439) | more than 10 years ago | (#8156177)

This is true. However, I said later in my post that only a few thousand at most actually use their Xboxes for Linux. Out of the larger number of units, this really doesn't make a hell of a lot of difference to MS's bottom line. So they don't really care a hell of a lot, especially since it's basically an 'underground' type of thing.

TSage

Re:Hard drive removal (5, Insightful)

Bulln-Bulln (659072) | more than 10 years ago | (#8153318)

MS doesn't care a lot about Linux. The HDD makes it easy to play pirated games.

Re:Hard drive removal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8154030)

Finally someone gets it right.

Re:Hard drive removal (1)

IntergalacticWalrus (720648) | more than 10 years ago | (#8154649)

Mod parent up. I don't know about the details, but with the proper software a modded XBox can very easily run games directly from HDD. Add a bigger HDD and you get a goddamn Pirate Heaven.

3 processors! (1)

jon787 (512497) | more than 10 years ago | (#8152761)

Tell me I'm not reading that right, 3 PowerPC 970 processors!

Re:3 processors! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8153596)

Nobody said anything about the PPC 970. The claim is that they will use 3 IBM-designed 64-bit chips, that's all. The only consumer-grade 64-bit chip from IBM is that used in Apple's G5 line, so somebody along the line made the assumption that they were using the same chip.

Re:3 processors! (1)

kommakazi (610098) | more than 10 years ago | (#8154423)

Did you read the article??? It said it was the same chip... Quoted from the article:
Three IBM-designed 64-bit microprocessors. The combined power of these chips means the Xbox Next will have more computing power than most personal computers. The chips are used in Apple Computer's high-end G5 PowerMac machines now.
It even said M$ is using G5's to develop prototype games... Quoted from article:
Internally, Microsoft has begun developing game prototypes, and it is using G5 systems to do so.
Whoever modded the parent 'insightful' is retarded.

Microsoft: Let's shoot ourselves in the foot??? (5, Insightful)

MBCook (132727) | more than 10 years ago | (#8152773)

I hope a large number of those details are wrong. First of all, I know it will be 18-24 months later, but 3 "high end" G5s (2.0 ghz maybe) still won't be very cheep by then, and will put out a significant ammount of heat. Are they planning on selling at a loss again to cover the CPUs? And what's with the HD? I think that was one of the best things about the xbox! No little memory cards to fill up, you have a FULL HARD DRIVE. The reason why most developers don't use it is because most games are just ports from other platforms (or designed for all three at once) so they were never designed for the hard drive. Halo made great use of it (remembering where you killed every enemy in a level) and the downloadable content in some games has been great too (Mech Assault and Crimson Skies for one), and that's not possible without a hard drive.

Lastly, BACKWARDS COMPATABILITY. That one feature made a HUGE difference in the PS2, and Sony is expected to do it again, aren't they? I think not having this feature would be like Microsoft shooting themselves in the foot. Three fast G5s should be enough to fully emulate a 733 mhz Pentium 3, right? They bought Virtual PC, so they have the technology.

I can't say I get this article. I know it's based on rumors from across the web, but when you put the picture together it makes NO SENSE unless MS is trying to fail or something.

Re: Potential HDD Possibilities (5, Insightful)

Sentry21 (8183) | more than 10 years ago | (#8153365)

The hard drive issue is a big one, but not as big as one might thing. For example, they could ship their XBox Live kits with HDs, which wouldn't increase the price too much (if Microsoft soaked the first year costs), but would serve well enough for downloadable content. Alternately, they could sell it separately, bundled with a game (or offer 3-6 months of online service free with it, etc).

The HD in the xbox is sorely underused. Saving games is great, you can save fast and save as much data as you want, pretty much. That being said, it's not taken advantage of beyond that, really. Think about caching. You could pre-cache the next level in Halo off the disc, or the next cutscene worth of dialogue, and basically eliminate load times altogether. As it is, you get some good post-game/pre-game chat time in while it loads, if playing co-op, but that's about it. Potential unused.

The custom soundtrack feature and MP3 (or whatever) jukebox feature is a great addition, but it's really not enough to justify another $50 on the price tag (or to justify Microsoft losing $50 more on every XBox Next). Build in 15 megs of flash memory for saving games and provide the HD as an option for consumers to purchase later. That way, they can charge extra for it and make it up instead of losing it, or, as you can with the PS2, let custom hardware hackers put in whatever size HD they want, make the XBox format it when it detects it, and let them void their warantee for that extra 200 gigs of space.

Use an expensive disc format (like blu-ray) so that people can't easily burn off copies, and so that they can't rip them easily either without a few hundred extra dollars in hardware. Voila.

Piracy will never be cured, but this will make it a pain in the ass, and still allow Microsoft to make up the loss on the HDs instead of soaking it.

I know from experience working in a video game store that the HD makes a lot of people interested. They buy the XBox now and get their games, and that's all they need. Sure, the DVD remote is another $50, but they can either buy that later or not at all. With the PS2, on the other hand, they NEED the memory card (if they ever want to safe), and that's all there is to it. Ripping MP3s, downloadable content, it's all more enticing. When you look at the PS2 in comparison, it looks closer to the gamecube than the XBox, despite the fact that you can add everything the XBox does to the PS2. It's a sales thing.

--Dan

Re: Potential HDD Possibilities (1)

blincoln (592401) | more than 10 years ago | (#8153449)

You could pre-cache the next level in Halo off the disc, or the next cutscene worth of dialogue, and basically eliminate load times altogether

I don't know the full details of this, but Halo *does* do at least some caching of level data.

Hackers were able made those crazy Halo videos with towers of Master Chiefs and flamethrowers and so on by hex editing the cache file off of the hard drive.

Re: Potential HDD Possibilities (1)

mrseigen (518390) | more than 10 years ago | (#8153667)

The reason why the load times are so insane in Halo is because the game is copying half of whatever map it wants to load onto the hard drive. I think one of the FAQs ranting about the co-op "infinite ammo" exploit went into further detail.

Re: Potential HDD Possibilities (3, Insightful)

MBCook (132727) | more than 10 years ago | (#8154095)

Yeah, the load times at the start of Halo levels were long, but it took quite a long time to go through a level in Halo, and during that whole time there was no loading (a TINY studder whe loading a new area of th level, but nothing compared to what it would be otherwise). This allowed them to have big, complex levels without needing frequent pauses during the gameplay to load stuff. I think they used it to fantastic effect.

Re: Potential HDD Possibilities (1)

metamatic (202216) | more than 10 years ago | (#8156224)

That's a software issue, you don't need a hard drive to do it. Look at Jak & Daxter on PS2 -- huge detailed world, no loading pauses. And it's written in Lisp!

Re: Potential HDD Possibilities (1)

Quobobo (709437) | more than 10 years ago | (#8155749)

Use an expensive disc format (like blu-ray) so that people can't easily burn off copies, and so that they can't rip them easily either without a few hundred extra dollars in hardware. Voila.

Eh? AFAIK, Xbox games can be easily ripped by the Xbox onto the internal hard drive, and also played off the hard drive (with a modded Xbox). With an Xbox Live hard drive like the one you proposed, I think the situation would be pretty similar...

Re:Microsoft: Let's shoot ourselves in the foot??? (1)

Eivind (15695) | more than 10 years ago | (#8153651)

Yeah, sure, if you consider a whopping 8GB a "Full" harddrive. Yes, compared to the memory-cards it's huge, but as a hard-drive it's beyond ridicolous.

Re:Microsoft: Let's shoot ourselves in the foot??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8153847)

FWIW, all the third party maps and saved game files on my PC add up to maybe 1GB. For what the hard drive's used for, 8GB is plenty.

"One-upmanship" taken to extreme new levels (5, Funny)

albalbo (33890) | more than 10 years ago | (#8152806)

"The machine also will have about 256 megabytes of dynamic random access memory. But Microsoft will upgrade that to 512 gigabytes if Sony puts in more."

That's a winning tactic.

Re:"One-upmanship" taken to extreme new levels (0)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 10 years ago | (#8154388)

512 gigabytes?!?!?!?!

in the words of Keanu Reeves: "whoa"

Whee wild speculation! (3, Interesting)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 10 years ago | (#8152848)

But that is what slashdot is for eh? So multi-processor finally happening? Nice. I still like my dual P3 desktops over single P4's. If finally games are going to take real advantage of it then maybe the time of just upping the frequency is over. Well I can dream can't I?

As for removing the HD? Well assuming of course it is true then the PC will once again be the ultimate platform. A large storage medium allows you to store stuff for later. Things like save games vs save points, patches, upgrades, extra content, user made content etc etc to your hearts content. It is why the pc with all its troubles is still so popular.

Remember Kotor? On the x-box a simple game. The moment it came out on the PC people were hacking it.

Of course only MS knows what is really going to be in the x-box2. If they are really removing the HD I hope for their suckers^H^H^H^H^H^H^users they got something to replace its function. Or it is back to "save points".

Oh and those thinking that this is to prevent linux from being run on it. Doesn't really matter that much. It would just have to be a thin client. IE boot over the network.

Re:Whee wild speculation! (4, Interesting)

Ondo (187980) | more than 10 years ago | (#8153106)

Of course only MS knows what is really going to be in the x-box2. If they are really removing the HD I hope for their suckers^H^H^H^H^H^H^users they got something to replace its function.

Wilder speculation: what if they replace it with Xbox Live? Send any save data across the network and store it on their machines. Obviously it'd be a lot slower, but it should be quick enough generally. No more caching stuff on the hard drive or downloading patches, and it'd make a broadband connection and Live needed instead of an optional extra, but it possibly could work. I think.

Re:Whee wild speculation! (2, Insightful)

aliens (90441) | more than 10 years ago | (#8153477)

Saving games on a network is a horrible horrible idea.

I can't play my game because my broadband is down? Or if I want to stop using it but still want to play my games.

Not going to happen.

Re:Whee wild speculation! (1)

Acidic_Diarrhea (641390) | more than 10 years ago | (#8155748)

Store a patch on XBox Live? So everytime I want to play a game on XBox Live, I have to redownload the same patch I have downloaded every single day for the past month? Yeah, that makes a bit of sense.

You also mention caching "stuff" on the hard drive. Do you know what that means? Reading from the local hard drive is faster than reading from the DVD drive and it is also faster than reading from a networked hard drive. Some games cache content onto the hard drive to reduce load times. Uploading to the server any cached content and then redownloading it when it is needed is another foolish suggestion that makes no sense.

You're proposing a replacement for the hard drive that doesn't actually do the replacement needed. Small files [the only ones that could possibly fit into your stored network scheme where data retransmission is common practice] are easily saved onto memory cards - and memory cards have a huge profit margin. I think that MS will probably just say 'Buy a memory card' rather than trying to implement your network storage feature. Actually, I'll guarantee it.

Re:Whee wild speculation! (2, Interesting)

Chris Pimlott (16212) | more than 10 years ago | (#8156270)

Interesting idea. It would give Microsoft a large measure of control over the user's system. It could make modchips and playing pirated games very difficult, since as soon as you want to load a saved game, MS is all over your system, checking your system bios and verifying the copyright protection on your game. One thing wrong and MS can shutdown your system remotely.

This sounds like something MS would be interested in, honestly...

Re:Whee wild speculation! (1)

scot4875 (542869) | more than 10 years ago | (#8153410)

I don't want a debate about whether the PC is/was/ever will be the ultimate gaming platform; BUT, if it was/will be again, the XBox's hard drive was most certainly not the deciding factor.

--Jeremy

Microsoft=Nintendo (-1, Flamebait)

Zevets (728720) | more than 10 years ago | (#8152940)

If I get this right, Microsoft is trying to make an incompatible, low cost console that has mediocre technology. Wasn't that the downfall of the gamecube? Lousy technology? No back compatability?

The next thing is having three 64bit processors. Won't that be a pain in the ass to develop for? 64bit is relatively new in games. And three processors? WTF is MS thinking? As powerful as average computer? The average computer processing power is only 1.4ghz(I think. And remeber by the end of 2005 there will be (supposedly) 4ghz chips from Intel's Prescott core.

They also say the chip is based of the r400 core. The r400 core will be used to power the next generation 9800xts or whatever they are called. But they will also power some mediocre cards.

Learn from your competitors Microsoft! Back Compatibility? No, but the PS3 will. Hard Drive? No, but that was the best feature of XBox along the XB live. What the hell MS! You are going to lose to tux and to sony!

Note the mistake: The machine also will have about 256 megabytes of dynamic random access memory. But Microsoft will upgrade that to 512 gigabytes ......

Wow, if thats true, I just might buy one.

Re:Microsoft=Nintendo (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 10 years ago | (#8153055)

it's just speculation, wild wild speculation.
as much credit if I said that we'll be in mars in 2020, sure it 'might' happen but probably not.

The cpu's wouldn't be a problem if they had the sdk to go with it. It's not like you would write a lot of lowlevel code for it anyways.

Re:Microsoft=Nintendo (1)

shiva600 (323459) | more than 10 years ago | (#8153066)

Actually, GameCube Tech isn't "lousy" at all.
And there is no "downfall" to speak of concerning the GameCube - it's on par with Microsoft's offering marketshare-wise, but whith the added bonus of being actually profitable.

And lastly, 64bit isn't new at all in console gaming.

Re:Microsoft=Nintendo (1)

Cebu (161017) | more than 10 years ago | (#8154440)

The 64bit PowerPC cores are capable of 64bit load/store, as well as 64bit logic, integer and float point operations.

There has never been a true 64-bit CPU based game console. Even the PS2 uses the MIPS III core with a 128bit bus and 32 128bit GPRs, but it still uses 32bit IPUs as well as 32bit FPUs (in the form of the COP1 coprocessor).

Re:Microsoft=Nintendo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8155103)

"There has never been a true 64-bit CPU based game console."

Nintendo's N64

Re:Microsoft=Nintendo (1)

Cebu (161017) | more than 10 years ago | (#8156058)

Depends on how strictly you define what a 64-bit CPU to be. The N64 uses a customized R4300i, which is quite different from the R4000 series -- one of the main differences is that the R4300i has a 32-bit multiplexed address/data bus.

Microsoft = Microsoft (1)

JMMurphy (533825) | more than 10 years ago | (#8153141)

If I get this right, Microsoft is trying to make an incompatible, low cost console that has mediocre technology. Wasn't that the downfall of the gamecube? Lousy technology? No back compatability?

Right, because Microsoft whipped the pants offa them Nintendo fellers.

Re:Microsoft=Nintendo (1)

dogbowl (75870) | more than 10 years ago | (#8153212)

When did the gamecube have a downfall? And if it did, where would that put the xbox??
Fat and lazy is no way to go through college, and last place and unprofitable is no way to sell a console.

Re:Microsoft=Nintendo (0)

TechniMyoko (670009) | more than 10 years ago | (#8155068)

last, and every time ive checked except 2 weeks at christmas, xbox has been outselling cube

Re:Microsoft=Nintendo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8155147)

You're imagining numbers.

More GameCubes were sold in 2003 (both in North America and overall worldwide) than Xboxes. Xbox has never had a higher installed base than GameCube worldwide, and their lead in America is shrinking. Shrinking lead in America compared to GameCube = selling less in America compared to GameCube.

Re:Microsoft=Nintendo (1)

dogbowl (75870) | more than 10 years ago | (#8155801)

I think you've got your press releases confused. The x-box outsold the gamecube for the last 2 weeks before Christmas. And Nintendo's response to that was that most retail stores were already sold out of Gamecubes by then.

Look at the NPD sales numbers, its pretty cut and dry.
The X-Box is only being kept alive by MSFT .. and its costing them a billion dollars a year to do it.

Nintendo = Gateway (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8155983)

Gateway has a big market share. For a while it was neck and neck with Dell. Now it's on the verge of bankruptcy. Why? Because like Nintendo, it is in DECLINE.

If you're not growing, you're shrinking.

512GB (-1, Redundant)

Psykechan (255694) | more than 10 years ago | (#8153040)

The machine also will have about 256 megabytes of dynamic random access memory. But Microsoft will upgrade that to 512 gigabytes if Sony puts in more.

Let's say when this thing launches, RAM is $30 for a GB in quantities. That sounds fair enough. The RAM in each console would cost MS $15,360.

I don't even want to think of how much heat it would give off.

Yes, we all know it's a typo, but it's a typo in a rumor which is even more fun.

Hey I've got a better idea (1)

_Sexy_Pants_ (703751) | more than 10 years ago | (#8153129)

how about a smaller hard drive? Has anybody ever filled their hard drive on an unhacked xbox?

The hard drive is one of the best things the xbox has going for it. I think this article was printed 2 months early

Re:Hey I've got a better idea (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8153791)

a 1GB HD is going to cost the same as an 8GB HD.

Re:Hey I've got a better idea (1)

FatRatBastard (7583) | more than 10 years ago | (#8154089)

It'll actually cost MS *more* money. In two years who's going to be making 5 gig hard drives? That's right, no one. Thus they'll have to pay someone extra $$$ to ramp up production. Which HD manufacturer in their right mind would cut into their production of hard drives in order to make a non-standard part that MS will demand be priced less than their cheapest unit?

Re:Hey I've got a better idea (1)

ColaMan (37550) | more than 10 years ago | (#8156179)

Which HD manufacturer in their right mind would cut into their production of hard drives in order to make a non-standard part that MS will demand be priced less than their cheapest unit?

The HD makers with multi-platter drives that have dud platters perhaps?
"Gee , we *could* send it back to QA for testing and repair... or we could just reflash it and sell it as a 5GB drive to microsoft and make a profit out of useless hardware. God knows we have plenty of crap drives here."

Either backwards compat. OR no hard drive (4, Insightful)

xingix (601512) | more than 10 years ago | (#8153142)

I feel that MS can't get rid of the hard drive AND expect backwards compatibility. Many of the games required the hard drive--- like Halo. So, if MS gets rid of both of those features, the system will lose before it leaves the gates.

Re:Either backwards compat. OR no hard drive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8153236)

I can't see them getting rid of the HD, not with the success of XBox live. Having downloadable content for games is a nice selling point, not to mention a 10 gig hd won't cost much when the XBox 2 goes into production.

Flash Memory instead of HD? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8153207)

Well maybe instead of using a 10gig hard drive they will use 1 gig of flash memory and still be able to maintain their backwards compatability

Re:Flash Memory instead of HD? (4, Informative)

meta-monkey (321000) | more than 10 years ago | (#8153308)

Probably not. A 10GB HDD in quantity is less than $50. A slow 1GB compact flash card is about $180, or $275 for a high-speed one.

M$ should BUY a clue (2, Insightful)

bmnc (643126) | more than 10 years ago | (#8153425)

I can't believe that M$ are waiting to see what the PS3 is ggoing to be like.

"The machine also will have about 256 megabytes of dynamic random access memory. But Microsoft will upgrade that to 512 gigabytes if Sony puts in more. "

Consoles are all about optimisation. They need to decide on the specs, make them known to the devs, so the devs can optimise their games.

And there is still no info about mouse and keyboard support, in my hubmble opinion, the best way to play FPSs, RTSs, navigate menus, etc.
If they remove the HDD (why oh why are they so stupid and now taking a step back?! Sony agreed that HDDs were a good idea, and began selling HDDs for PS2 along with Linux kits) ppl wont be able to install Linux (easily!) and so the mouse/kb issue... wont be an issue.

Bottom line, M$ need to pony up, stop being Sony's b*tch, stop "competing" with Sony, and just make good hardware and games. THAT will win them mkt share.

Re:M$ should BUY a clue (2, Insightful)

Clockwurk (577966) | more than 10 years ago | (#8155661)

And there is still no info about mouse and keyboard support, in my hubmble opinion, the best way to play FPSs, RTSs, navigate menus, etc.

I don't think you understand the mindset of console users.

Consoles are meant (and designed) to be used in a relaxed enviroment, like a family room or a den, and require a television connection.

Sitting in an easy chair, or laying on the floor are terrible enviroments to be useing a keyboard/mouse, but are great for the gamepad style controller. Another example of this would be the failure of wheel/pedal combos for driving games on consoles. Any peripheral that is designed for use on a desk (keyboard, mouse, joystick, wheel, etc.) aren't going to be highly successful or widely used on consoles meant for the living room.

This sounds terrible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8153491)

I'm excited about the proposed computing power of this new Xbox but it sounds like the great parts of Xbox are going to be dropped. I have an Xbox and I love having my own music tracks and downloadable maps and patches. With a flash card I doubt I could store music tracks although maps might be possible. I bought Xbox specifically because it has an HD now what's the point? I might as well go for PS3.

Re:This sounds terrible (1)

ChaoticLimbs (597275) | more than 10 years ago | (#8154836)

Relax, it will have USB2 ports and MS will probably offer an external hard drive for it for 75 bucks. That would pretty much allow the system to be upgraded easily (just like a PC).

Re:This sounds terrible (0)

TechniMyoko (670009) | more than 10 years ago | (#8155089)

Relax, it will have USB2 ports and MS will probably offer an external hard drive for it for 75 bucks. That would pretty much allow the system to be upgraded easily (just like a PC)
And you told you this?

return of the Halo promises (1)

MrLint (519792) | more than 10 years ago | (#8153631)

Well if they are allegedly using PM g5s for make xbox 2 games, im sure we will get empty promises of games for the mac RSN, that will eventually show up when no one wants to buy them anymore.

Besides this also implies that the x2 wont be using windows as the nightmare it would take to port it to non x86.

ok i shall end my baseless speculation.

you know you wanna mod me as troll. its ok:)

Re:return of the Halo promises (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 10 years ago | (#8153777)

why would it be a nightmare for microsoft to port it(stripped down windows) to non x86? you know, windows ce runs on variety of stuff already and has been for a while and they got the sources and docs. I wouldn't think it to be that much of a problem for them, they would probably keep the developing tools pretty much the same as well and developing wouldn't be that different then for it as it would be for xbox1 now(and please, don't say that there's zillions of guys out there doing hardcore lowlevel assembler optimising for it). binary compability, now that's an another issue.

even some dreamcast games use wince(the one's with uglier & slower graphics usually)..

Re:return of the Halo promises (1)

Cebu (161017) | more than 10 years ago | (#8154301)

Windows NT 4.0 was designed to highly portable. In fact, Windows NT actually had a PowerPC version back when Motorola was the primary producer of PowerPC cores. Though it would be non-trivial effort to produce an OS for a PowerPC based game console, at least Microsoft wouldn't be working from the ground floor and most likely has retained at least some of the developers which worked on the PowerPC version.

Re:return of the Halo promises (2, Informative)

antime (739998) | more than 10 years ago | (#8155941)

However, the PPC970 does *not* support little-endian mode and to date, Microsoft has never released a big-endian version of Windows.

I want HDTV resolution games for my HDTV! (4, Interesting)

brienv (144297) | more than 10 years ago | (#8153716)

That's my biggest wishlist item for the next generation consoles. It's kinda' frustrating to finally have a television that doesn't have 50-year old resolution limitations but still not be able to really take advantage of it in my gaming...

Brien Voorhees

Re:I want HDTV resolution games for my HDTV! (1)

VikingBrad (525098) | more than 10 years ago | (#8155129)

Standard Xbox already does 480p resolution for all games and some games have support 1080i resolution.
See Xbox FAQ [xboxfaq.com] for more.
My bet is the latest Halo 2 multiplayer screenshot is a 1080i image which explains the details.
Pretty safe bet Xbox Next will have at least the same HDTV support.

Cheers
VikingBrad

Re:I want HDTV resolution games for my HDTV! (2, Informative)

brienv (144297) | more than 10 years ago | (#8155332)

99% of the games are only 480 so I wouldn't call that true HD support. There's a big difference between 1080i and 480p. I want the next gen consoles to have enough power (and memory) so that all of the games actually support the high resolution modes of HDTV. Hopefully that will make split-screen multiplayer a little more palatable, as well.

Brien Voorhees

OK, I know you're trolling, but I'll bite (-1)

Amsterdam Vallon (639622) | more than 10 years ago | (#8155148)

Most Xbox games support 480p and 5.1 sound.

Here's a list: http://www.hdtvarcade.com/xboxlist.htm [hdtvarcade.com]

Oh, and I just got done playing Xbox in my high definition home theater. So, uh, yeah.

Pssss. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8153862)

No comment on the other issues, but trust me on this one: Xenon has a hard drive.

Grain of Salt... (4, Funny)

malakai (136531) | more than 10 years ago | (#8153929)

Not only is it speculation, whoever wrote it doesn't even have enough of a clue to ignore wildy inaccurate data points....

The machine also will have about 256 megabytes of dynamic random access memory. But Microsoft will upgrade that to
512 gigabytes if Sony puts in more. The previous Xbox had 64 megabytes.

emphasis mine

<sarcasm>Atleast with 64bit processors the virtual address space can access all the memmory</sarcasm>

Change of processors (4, Insightful)

8tim8 (623968) | more than 10 years ago | (#8154008)

I don't know that much about consoles, and I'm probably talking out of my a** here, but wouldn't MS's switch to IBM PowerPC chips be something of an admission of failure for MS? The whole point of the XBox being a stripped-down computer was to save money while also leveraging MS's experience with PC's. Yes, I know the cost savings never panned out, as neither did the concept of "we'll have tons of developers because it's so easy to program for!", but MS has never really admitted that. If they make a change away from "stripped-down PC" it would seem to me to be a marketing problem, and nothing would make Steve Jobs salavate more than to proclaim that a) MS uses Mac G5's to design games and b) the XBox 2 is basically a stripped down Mac. On a technical level, using G5's in the XBox 2 sounds fine, but in terms of marketing it sounds like a disaster.

Re:Change of processors (1)

Babbster (107076) | more than 10 years ago | (#8155319)

I agree! After all, Microsoft has never [apple.com] developed [apple.com] anything [apple.com] for Macs before, and, of course, Macs aren't PCs.

Give the fucking things away! (1)

mrshowtime (562809) | more than 10 years ago | (#8154157)

I don't know why M$ is wasting money on advertising and actually trying to sell the system (xbox). If M$ gave the systems away for a cheap price they could easily outspend SONY. Much like they did with IE. But with THREE processors and PS3 having some never before seen CELL processor(s), who the fuck is going to be able to program games for these new systems. Everyone bitched about how hard the ps2 was, and now this. If they don't put a hard drive in, then they are stupid. Can't have online games without the drive. Look what has happened to the online games for the PS2. People are using the gameshark and cheat codes and have ruined the ps2's online game linup. If the ps2 had a built in drive they could easily issue a patch. Lastly, who cares about backward compatibility anymore?! Is this really an issue? Most people sell their old systems whenever a new one comes out and happily abandon their old system. For the diehards are the new systems really going to have a problem emulating the older systems? Really, if the xbox2 cannot emulate a 800mhz processor and an aging geforce 3 chipset, then it sucks.

Re:Give the fucking things away! (1)

Quobobo (709437) | more than 10 years ago | (#8156170)

Are you kidding? Achieving 800mhz in x86 emulation on a top of the line Mac isn't anywhere near reality, so I doubt MS could do it with the Xbox 2. They wouldn't have to do nearly as much emulation with the graphics chip, but emulating the processor would be a massive task.

$50 HD my foot! (4, Insightful)

MBraynard (653724) | more than 10 years ago | (#8154360)

I don't think the editors at /. should have bothered posting this. The typical /. poster could probably have written a better and more accurate 'speculation' piece off the top of his head.

The big clue here is suggesting that the HD costs $50 each. That is an 8gig hd inside (some are actually 10, but they probably cost MS the same).

A 9.1 gig hard drive - just one - costs $10 shipped from a [computergiants.com] reputable seller. [resellerratings.com] Another vendor [yahoo.com] is selling them for $5.99. How much do you think MS would pay for a few million?

Additionally, even if this is correct, the XB2 will still have *storage*, it will just be in the form of flash rather than an HD. Other than the CD ripping option, my three years of Xbox ownership and 40+ game playing have never caused me to show even 1% usage of the hard drive (despite having ripped 4 CDs to it!)

Re:$50 HD my foot! (1)

Squidgee (565373) | more than 10 years ago | (#8155000)

However, they -need- to include some sort of internal memory for LIVE. I love the DLC they provide; without internal sotrage, however, I don't see how it could be effectively done.

Re:$50 HD my foot! (4, Interesting)

dackroyd (468778) | more than 10 years ago | (#8155496)

Amusing - you've made the same mistake Microsoft made when speccing out the price of components for the Xbox - searching online for the cheapest hard drives and then saying we can get these things even cheaper.

Ignoring the fact that the second link was to a batch of 2nd hard drives (The other 2% still look & function as if they were brand new BUT have a "Seagate Recertified" sticker on them.) you don't understand how hard drives are priced.

New harddrives come out and are expensive - the harddrive manufacturers make a profit on these. They have production lines setup to make these hard drives. The price for those hard drives drop and the manufacturers make less and less money. When they are no longer making money from selling those hard drives, they stop the production line, and reconfigure it to make a new design of hard drive.
This leave a small number (where small = tens of thousands) of the old hard drives in the sales channels. Because these hard drives are the end of a line and because they are limited in number (so no friggin use to pc manufacturers who need a large number of identical drives) they are sold off at what is effectively below cost, to people who only need a couple of hard drives.

So although you can find hard drives at below $50, it's much harder to find a continual guaranteed supply of hard drives below that price.

You have also ignored the fact that a company has to pay more when they want the products to be guaranteed to be delivered on time and to spec - Microsoft can't wait until there's a sale on, they need to know that X amount of hard drives are going to arrive week in week out.

The final thing that adds to the cost of the hard drive is that it adds to the manufacturing costs, including a few more power wires, a beefier power supply, an IDE cable (again you'd probably say 'hey I can get those from my mate for nothing' - Microsoft needs to have a regular supply), the hard drive needs to be formatted and pre-loaded with the Xbox software, they'll be a higher rate of failure amongst Xboxes for the ones that get dropped during transit.

Anyway - the reason that Microsoft are leaving it out is because there is almost rampant piracy on the Xbox. People are renting games, copying them to the hard drive and then taking the game back to Blockbuster. Understandably this has pissed off quite a few publishers, who were making little enough money on the Xbox anyway. Not having a hard drive is one way that Microsoft can convince them that it won't be possible on Xbox 2.

It will be interesting to see how MS spin this - although it shouldn't have done, having the hard drive in the Xbox did reinforce it's aura of 'power', (dude the Xbox is way more powerful than a GameCube, the Xbox has a hard drive). What's the marketing phrase going to be - Xbox 2, now with less stuff !

Re:$50 HD my foot! (2, Insightful)

edwdig (47888) | more than 10 years ago | (#8156190)

A 9.1 gig hard drive - just one - costs $10 shipped from a [computergiants.com]reputable seller. [resellerratings.com] Another vendor [yahoo.com] is selling them for $5.99. How much do you think MS would pay for a few million?

Those $10 hard drives are models in the clearance bin because no one wants a drive that small. The seller is taking on loss on them just to get rid of the inventory. You won't be able to get someone to produce drives for you at prices like that.

what i dont understand... (2, Interesting)

crazyhussar (702110) | more than 10 years ago | (#8154699)

...is how ms plans on adding hardware "only if sony does it" when they plan on releasing the 6 - 12 months before sony does. if, 3 months after the xbox2 debut, sony announces the ps3 will have a hdd, will ms upgrade all the units they have allready sold? doubtfull. i am unable to take specific details about a hardware system this far in advance as anything more than speculation and media hype.

Re:what i dont understand... (1)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 10 years ago | (#8154863)

Maybe Sony should announce that they will be adding 2 GB RAM, then later downgrade it to 256 MB after Microsoft puts out the X-Box 2, costing Microsoft boo-coo bucks. :-)

AMD should get involved (3, Insightful)

Toxygen (738180) | more than 10 years ago | (#8154918)

If Microsoft is using the G5 mainly for it's 64 bit capabilities, then this could be a great opportunity for AMD to jump in, undersell Apple, and gain some good solid ground for their Opterons. That would certainly lead to more AMD optimizations in other MS apps, and probably help them get a bigger peice of the grey box market too.

Re:AMD should get involved (1)

TelcusFreshbreeze (601347) | more than 10 years ago | (#8155880)

then this could be a great opportunity for AMD to jump in, undersell Apple

Apple doesn't actually make the G5s, it only uses them in the PowerMacs. IBM are the guys that actually make the G5 (PowerPCs).

Re:AMD should get involved (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8156173)

Right, Apple doesn't fab chips. They have a major hand in the design and development of the PowerPC, but nothing to do with manufacturing them.

What microsoft should do... (5, Insightful)

jonwil (467024) | more than 10 years ago | (#8154936)

Backwards compatibility is key, look at how many PS2s were sold because they can run PS1 games also.

New specs:
1.Pentium 4 at something like 3GHz (by the time XBOX2 comes out, 3GHz chips will have come down in price)

2.at least 512 megs of RAM (its not like RAM is expensive)

3.hard disk at something like 20gb or 40gb or whatever

4.complete security (based on RSA or something better if its available by then) with the BIOS engineered inside some kind of unremovable, unflashable, unreplacable surface-mount chip (making it so that the BIOS cant be fiddled with without screwing the XBOX2 completly should be possible).

Most people here probobly despise DRM, copy protection and stuff (Even I dont like it much) but the fact is, the XBOX2 is going to have copy protection like this anyway (to stop all the hackers).

5.a drive that can play exisiting XBOX disks, DVDs, music CDs as well as special XBOX2 disks (using blu-ray or some other high-density standard to make them harder to copy). Add special features to the drive or the BIOS so that it will reject any disk with a signature indicating that its a recordable media (CD-R, DVD-R etc). This makes piracy even harder and also prevents running of pirate DVDs and music disks.

6.a good graphics chip (perhaps of GeForceFX level if the price has come down enough by then)

7.LAN card and drivers to allow broadband out of the box. Remove the need for an XBOX live kit to be purchased, instead, you purchase XBOX2 live subscription time.
Basicly, in order to play XBL games or download content for XBL games via XBOX2 live, you would just get a subscription which would cost a certain amount per month. Exactly how you sign up and pay I dont know but it should be designed so that you can sign-up online via a PC and also online through a special XBOX interface (i.e. plug your XBOX into the broadband link, run the special signup option and sign up with a credit card). Options for those that dont want to trust online signups would also be available. (i.e. its gotta be as easy as possible to sign up)

The XBOX2 should not allow email, web or anything like that (for one thing, previous attempts at "use the internet from your TV" bombed horribly)

8.complete backwards compatibility with existing XBOX games (only the legal origonals of course).

9.to prevent hacks, the hard disk and memcards would be encrypted with a strong encryption mechanisim with the actual encryption being inside the BIOS (which if you remember is supposed to be unreadable making it difficult to just disassemble the BIOS and get the encryption)

and 10.make good games with good online playability (if the libraries are done right, adding online play should be simple with all the tricky bits handled by the network layers)

Re:What microsoft should do... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8155774)

you forgot:

1) 1080i/ 120fps all the time

2) only $100 dollars

3) ground effects and a Type-R sticker for extra horsepower

4) endorsements by American heros - like Justin Timberlake or P. Diddy

Re:What microsoft should do... (1)

iCEBaLM (34905) | more than 10 years ago | (#8156088)

7.LAN card and drivers to allow broadband out of the box. Remove the need for an XBOX live kit to be purchased, instead, you purchase XBOX2 live subscription time.

It already has a NIC out of the box, the live starter kit is just the cost of the xb communicator and 1 year of xbox live subscription.

Backwards compatibility (1)

AltaMannen (568693) | more than 10 years ago | (#8155455)

If PS2 outsold XBOX 5:1 why should the xbox2 bother about backwards compatibility with the lower amount of customers expecting backwards compatibility? I for one would like to suggest that xbox2 is backwards compatible with PS2 instead! Everybody wins except sony.

Controllers (0)

jobbleberry (608883) | more than 10 years ago | (#8155508)

Maybe they will make the controllers the size of human hands.

Re:Controllers (1)

DaveCBio (659840) | more than 10 years ago | (#8155979)

Never used a Controller S have you? Besides, the poor placement of the black and white buttons it's the best controller of the big 3.

Re:Controllers (1)

Quobobo (709437) | more than 10 years ago | (#8156133)

Are you kidding? The first time I used an Xbox, it was with the small controllers (unbeknownst to me at the time)... and I thought to myself "Christ, these controllers are enormous, everyone who bitched about them was right. I wonder how the small ones are?"

Backward Compatability (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8155695)

How will it manage backwards compatability when so many current Xbox games use the harddrive?

Why PowerPC and not Athlon 64? (1)

donkeyoverlord (688535) | more than 10 years ago | (#8155804)

What doesn't make sense to me is that if MS goes with PowerPC then it means that if MS is going to run Windows as the OS then they will have to port it over to PowerPC... (Windows running on a Mac? Yeah I doubt it too). If they went with Athlon 64's or even Opterons then all the work that they are putting towards XP64 would apply directly to Xbox Next. It makes A LOT more sense then to switch to an entirely different system. Also I would think that backwards compatibility would be easier. Since your not having to emulate a different architecture you would only have to worry about any NVIDIA specific graphic calls and convert them to ATI calls.

Re:Why PowerPC and not Athlon 64? (1)

DaveCBio (659840) | more than 10 years ago | (#8155990)

It's about price. Next time around they need better margins and if it costs less to port the Xbox OS to PPC and ATI they will do it.

two separate video and audio out for multi tv.. (1)

jeoin (668566) | more than 10 years ago | (#8156166)

would be cool..
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