According to a number of sources, Microsoft has apparently spoken to close partners and filled in the final blanks on what the hardware configuration is going to look like on the Next Xbox or Xbox 720. Perhaps the most interesting news is that Microsoft is still targeting a release during the holiday season of 2013; and the latest news suggests that Sony could be closer to releasing the PlayStation 4 than had been thought.
The hardware for the Xbox 720 seems to be very close to what we have been hearing, with a few exceptions. The CPU will be four or six cores, depending on some decisions that will be made closer to launch. We do know that one of the CPU cores will be reserved for Kinect, which will be included with the 720; and one of them will be allocated to the OS. This is why we believe that a six-core processor will be the ultimate decision despite additional cost.
Perhaps the most interesting news is that while the unit will be powered by something like a customized AMD 7000 series GPU, the Xbox 720 is said to be getting two of these GPUs. The two GPUs are said to run in a normal dual PC style setup: the GPUs take turns drawing lines of the same object or the dual GPU configuration can run independently of each other, drawing or rendering independently of the other GPU. It is believed that the configuration is more independent and simultaneous, rather than dual GPU technologies such as CrossFire or SLI. In addition, it is believed that the power of the GPUs can also be leveraged to offer DirectCompute style functionality.
The 720 will feature a Blu-ray drive standard and the drive is said to be enhanced for better performance and access times. While it isn’t confirmed, it is most likely that the drive has been tuned for backwards compatibility; and that does seem likely given the choice of a CPU in the same family. The 720 will come standard with the next generation Kinect, which will apparently be built into the device.
The final decision on storage has yet to be finalized. As we told you, Microsoft is apparently still considering some sort of solid state solution for storage, but we are told that going with a hard drive has not been ruled out, either. As for actual software delivery, that also has not been finalized. It is apparently possible that Microsoft could offer both a solid state card solution as well as a Blu-ray disc solution, depending on developer needs.
More intriguing information is that Durango will apparently require an “always on” Internet connection as an anti-piracy measure. It is unclear if any offline play will be allowed on the unit. Apparently, the unit will need to be connected to the Internet even when playing single player games. Slow Internet connections are said to be “OK” for this connection. While you may not have enough bandwidth or too high of latency to play online, it will apparently be enough to allow you to use/access the console. It will be interesting to see how Microsoft does this so that it does not overly contribute to the bandwidth caps that many are starting to endure.
It seems that others are hearing similar information. Read more here.