The brand spanking new Xbox 360 Elite (opens in new tab) may still be blushing in its first week at school , but a newer version of the Microsoft (opens in new tab) console is already on the horizon. Xbox-bound 65 nanometre processor chips have been put into production and are expected to land in a Microsoft console near you sometime in the autumn.
The new chips will replace both the central processor (CPU) and the graphics processor (GPU). The main benefit of this upgrade will be that the brains inside the Xbox 360 will be a lot more energy-efficient.
This will cure one of the main drawbacks of the Xbox 360: the noise it makes. The fans inside the console make it abnormally loud. But increased efficiency means cooler chips, which in turn means the internal fans need not work so hard. This should lead to a console which will once again be seen and not heard quite so much.
It was originally expected that these brand new computer processors would make their console debut inside the new Xbox 360 Elite. But this hasn't happened. The chips have only just gone into production and so will be ready en masse come the end of the summer.
New Xbox 360 version?
This leads to the obvious question: will the 65nm chips make their way quietly into the existing Xbox 360 models? Or will there be yet another version of the console?
One thing's for sure, it would please many people if a new console were to include HDMI 1.3 ports. The Elite includes the out-of-date HDMI 1.2 which limits the console in terms of high definition sound and picture quality.
As cheap as...
The chips will also be cheaper to produce, which could lead to cheaper consoles.
Microsoft stole a serious march on Sony when it unleashed the Xbox 360 a year before the PlayStation 3 was launched. Since then, Microsoft has flogged 11 million of its consoles, while the PlayStation 3 has seriously underperformed in the retail market since its inception earlier this year.
The black Xbox 360 Elite went on sale in the US on Monday. It's essentially an update to the existing console with new HDMI 1.2 output and a 120GB hard drive.