Inside the Xbox 360, Part II: the Xenon CPU

Part I of this series covered Microsofts vision for dynamic content creation in the next generation of console games. The XBox 360s procedural synthesis techniques were explained, and a general overview of the multicore PowerPC CPU that powers the new console was given. In the present article, well zoom in for a closer look at this CPU, codenamed Xenon. Well cover the design of its individual parts, and well talk about how each part fits with the vision outlined in Part I.

Xenons design philosophy

The Xenons triple-core design shares some DNA with the Playstation 3s Cell processor, so its not surprising that it also embodies many of the same assumptions about the best way to wring performance out of the sorts of extremely large transistor counts that Moores Curves have given the latest generation of integrated circuits. Like the Cell processor that will power the Playstation 3, the Xenon carries on the "RISC"-style tradition of trading programmer/compiler effort for hardware. In a nutshell, software writers who develop for Xenon must take on more of the burden of optimizing their code by making it explicitly parallel, and in return they get more execution hardware to play with.

News source: Ars Technica

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