Reverse Engineering Company Breaks Open Xbox 360 Silicon

Source: Chipworks
Logo_chipworks

Chipworks Inc., the industry leader in reverse engineering and analysis of semiconductor chips and systems, today announced that they have analysed the key chips of the new Microsoft Xbox 360 console and that detailed technical reports are ready for purchase immediately.

Mother_Board

Chipworks monitors advanced semiconductors and systems, and creates detailed reports of what is inside technology. Their customers use this information to maintain their competitive advantage, benchmark their innovations and improve their business costs. To purchase an in-depth study of the key chips in the Xbox 360, contact [email protected].

“Microsoft has developed creative relationships with some of the leading-edge chip suppliers in order to meet the performance needs of the Xbox,” said Gary Tomkins, manager of Technical Intelligence at Chipworks. “We wanted to see how advanced the process technology is that is being used, considering the pressure to keep the component costs down.”

The extensive use of state-of-the-art technology in the Xbox illustrates the trend that the consumer market is driving technology these days,” continues Tomkins.

Graphics_Processor
ATI Graphics Processor (Large Chip – center) and NEC Embedded DRAM ASIC

Dick James, senior technology analyst, also commented: “Earlier press announcements revealed that the Xbox’s custom microprocessor was being fabbed by IBM, and the graphics processor was designed by ATI, both using 90-nm processes. Later, NEC announced that they were supplying the embedded DRAM to work with the ATI chip, and Infineon has also declared they will have parts in the console. ATI has used TSMC as a high performance foundry at the 130- and 110-nm process nodes, so we’re curious to see if the relationship has continued.”

IBM_Die_Marking IBM_Custom_Processor
ATI Graphics Processor Die Marking IBM Custom Processor

NEC_ASIC_Die_Markings
NEC ASIC Die Markings

Most of the dedicated parts have the Microsoft X-logo on them, including the silicon die markings, not the design or IDM origin. We could call this ‘Microsoft inside’,” added Tomkins. “So far we have identified the IBM, ATI, and NEC parts, Samsung GDDR3 SDRAM, Hynix NAND flash, and other chips whose origin we are investigating.”

Chipworks also reports that the NEC embedded DRAM is co-packaged with the ATI processor, rather than being integrated into the same piece of silicon. This allows the processes to be optimised for the separate devices, without forcing a compromise to achieve what could be a false economy.

Source: Chipworks
Logo_chipworks

Chipworks Inc., the industry leader in reverse engineering and analysis of semiconductor chips and systems, today announced that they have analysed the key chips of the new Microsoft Xbox 360 console and that detailed technical reports are ready for purchase immediately.

Mother_Board

Chipworks monitors advanced semiconductors and systems, and creates detailed reports of what is inside technology. Their customers use this information to maintain their competitive advantage, benchmark their innovations and improve their business costs. To purchase an in-depth study of the key chips in the Xbox 360, contact [email protected].

“Microsoft has developed creative relationships with some of the leading-edge chip suppliers in order to meet the performance needs of the Xbox,” said Gary Tomkins, manager of Technical Intelligence at Chipworks. “We wanted to see how advanced the process technology is that is being used, considering the pressure to keep the component costs down.”

The extensive use of state-of-the-art technology in the Xbox illustrates the trend that the consumer market is driving technology these days,” continues Tomkins.

Graphics_Processor
ATI Graphics Processor (Large Chip – center) and NEC Embedded DRAM ASIC

Dick James, senior technology analyst, also commented: “Earlier press announcements revealed that the Xbox’s custom microprocessor was being fabbed by IBM, and the graphics processor was designed by ATI, both using 90-nm processes. Later, NEC announced that they were supplying the embedded DRAM to work with the ATI chip, and Infineon has also declared they will have parts in the console. ATI has used TSMC as a high performance foundry at the 130- and 110-nm process nodes, so we’re curious to see if the relationship has continued.”

IBM_Die_Marking IBM_Custom_Processor
ATI Graphics Processor Die Marking IBM Custom Processor

NEC_ASIC_Die_Markings
NEC ASIC Die Markings

Most of the dedicated parts have the Microsoft X-logo on them, including the silicon die markings, not the design or IDM origin. We could call this ‘Microsoft inside’,” added Tomkins. “So far we have identified the IBM, ATI, and NEC parts, Samsung GDDR3 SDRAM, Hynix NAND flash, and other chips whose origin we are investigating.”

Chipworks also reports that the NEC embedded DRAM is co-packaged with the ATI processor, rather than being integrated into the same piece of silicon. This allows the processes to be optimised for the separate devices, without forcing a compromise to achieve what could be a false economy.

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