Excitement, building... first off, I've just sprinkled down some salt on this news, remember, rumor, rumor, rumor. Nothing is fact in this world until we see, hear, feel or experience it for ourselves, until then it's pure faith. In the technology industry, there are so many insiders, "upstream sources" (still need to get me a few of those), and "leaks".
Today, we have some news from SemiAccurate, that talks of the next-generation Xbox chip, "Oban" that has reportedly just taped out. Charlie goes into some serious detail, and for as much flak he gets, he is right a fair bit of the time, and I enjoy his style, so on with the news. It has been reported that the new Xbox Next/720 "Oban" chip is in initial production with sources at a foundary confirming that the Oban wafters starting running in the final days of last year.
Sources at Redmond, when questioned, responded with "Who the f*&$ told you that? I am going to f#*&ing rip someone's head off". You don't say that if it's rumors, that aren't true, so SemiAccurate could be onto something here. More sources as Microsoft said that the initial order for Oban chips was for 10K wafers. Oban is supposedly being built by IBM primarily, which means an x86-based chip is out of the question.
It seems as though Xbox Next/720 will sport an IBM Power PC CPU, plus get this, an AMD Graphics Core Next (GCN), HD7000-series/Southern Islands-based GPU. Are you as turned on as I am right now, baby? If this is true, we could be in for quite the treat. Considering AMD's latest silicon is just out of the oven, it has a lot of life left in it, with lots of goodies to be milked from it for years to come, it would be the perfect choice for Microsoft's [hopefully] powerhouse next-generation Xbox.
Sources of SA still expect silicon production for retail consoles to start toward the second half of this year, with production for end-user consoles not starting until late-2012. We shouldn't expect the Xbox Next/720 until at least the end of this year, and more likely, 1H 2013.
But this seems to be the most plausible situation so far, and the most hopeful. If Microsoft are reading this, please allow the new console to be at least capable of a minimum of 1080p with anti-aliasing, with frame rates at an absolute minimum of 60fps, targeted toward 120fps. Let the console go up to 4K as those TVs are hitting this year, or else it's going to launch and not even be capable of what TVs will be this year.
If required, have two consoles and split the market up and change things up. A $300 console and an $800 console. The $300 console is a better-than-Xbox-360-graphics, but not as good as the Xbox Next, with the Xbox Next/720 capable of 4K @ 60fps. The GPU inside the Xbox Next/720 should be at least 10x more powerful than the 360, which really does 720p @ ~30fps. The reason I want this much power, is it will be here for 5 - 10 years, which means PC graphics, with GCN-based GPUs now, supporting 4K, will be so limited within 2 years.
The next-gen consoles need to really amplify things up, significantly, if we don't want the PC GPUs to be held back in an even shorter amount of time.
Am I dreaming? What would you like from the next-gen Xbox?