Xbox One Tech Blowout: Direct X 11.1+ Capability, One Big Chip and Kinect

New details regarding the inside of the Xbox One revealed.

Posted By | On 27th, Aug. 2013 Under News

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At the Hot Chips engineering conference at Stanford University, Microsoft chip architect John Sell talked about the SOC powering the Xbox One, which had been co-designed with AMD. He revealed that it is one big chip, which meausres 363 square millimeters and consists of 5 billion 28 nm transistors with the CPU, GPU and 47 MB of memory all in one place.

This led to questions about defects, since the bigger a chip, the more prone it is to small defects. And one little problem takes down the whole architecture. Interestingly, Microsoft has implemented redundancies in the chip that still makes it operable if one section fails. Senior analyst at the Linley Group Kevin Krewell also stated that chips of such size were created for Nvidia, so they wouldn’t be difficult to manufacture.

The CPU consists of eight 64-bit AMD Jaguar cores, with the CPU consisting of 15 special processors that transfer data at 200 GB per second or more. Apparently, the chips are highly customized on the console and that the GPU is a “DirectX 11.1+” chip (which reflects in the fact that Direct X 11.2 will be heading to the console). Sell stated that, “There’s more than a CPU’s worth of processing in there.”

The console also features 8 GB of shared DRAM (dynamic random access memory), a Blu-ray drive and a 500GB hard disk. The audio subsystem features two dedicated vector cores.


Microsoft engineer Patrick O’Connor then talked about Kinect and how it uses Canesta or “time of flight” technology to measure the duration it takes to light signals to be sent out and then received back, which can then be used to calculate object shapes and the room size. Kinect can apparently 2.5 cm objects, even discerning which way a child’s wrist is facing, and has a 20 ms latency. It can distinguish between six different players, though it takes some time to discern “who” is playing. It also features a 1080p sensor, 70-degree viewing angle and movement detection between 0.8 to 4.2 meters.

As of now there’s still a lot unknown about the console but future conferences will yield more information. The Xbox One will be releasing this November, but in the meantime, check out images of the presentation slides used in the conference (courtesy of Semi-Accurate).


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