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The reason behind 360′s RROD: “Microsoft wanted to avoid an ASIC vendor”

Wednesday, 11th June 2008 10:18 GMT By Patrick Garratt

Speaking at the Design Automation Conference in California this week, Bryan Lewis, research vice president and chief analyst at Gartner, said that the reason Microsoft was forced to admit Xbox 360′s hardware faults and spend $1 billion on a recall was because the firm wanted to avoid paying a third party to help make the console’s GPU.

“Microsoft wanted to avoid an ASIC vendor,” said Lewis, designed the chip by itself, cut a traditional manufacturer out of the process and went straight to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.

When the RROD problem got out of hand, Microsoft struck a deal with an unnamed ASIC vendor – probably ATI – and issued the recall.

Lewis added: “Had Microsoft left the graphics processor design to an ASIC vendor in the first place, would they have been able to avoid this problem? Probably. The ASIC vendor could have been able to design a graphics processor that dissipates much less power.”

Thanks to EETimes.

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28 Comments

  1. Psychotext

    You might want to re-consider this news… you know, given that the 360 was never recalled

    #1 7 years ago
  2. Tiger Walts

    It was recalled at retail level, but not from the consumers. A full recall would have been impossible. The replacement scheme was the best solution until they were manufacturing enough stable units.

    #2 7 years ago
  3. Psychotext

    Was never recalled at retail either Tiger. Though many people thought it should have been. Besides the fact that if they did recall, it would have done nothing… the problems weren’t ironed out until the falcon model which didn’t even involve a new GPU – just a die shrunk CPU and motherboard modifications.

    #3 7 years ago
  4. Psychotext

    In fact… this story is pretty much all wrong. ATI designed the GPU from the start.

    http://news.teamxbox.com/xbox/9487/ATI-Releases-Xbox-360-GPU-Technology-Papers/

    #4 7 years ago
  5. Whizzo

    The story is total and utter bollocks.

    #5 7 years ago
  6. Newbie101

    I’m not sure if his right but I’ve learned in the past always to trust fanboys when theres an article about ‘their’ console.
    So…

    /me trusts Psycotext

    #6 7 years ago
  7. Psychotext

    haha… you don’t know me very well if you think I’m a fanboy Newbie. I hate all the consoles equally, but I hate bullshit more. =)

    The RRoD / 360 failure rates is just a pet interest of mine. I’ve been doing stats on it for a while now over at NeoGAF.

    #7 7 years ago
  8. patlike

    “Recall” is the wrong term, you’re right. I’ll edit it.

    #8 7 years ago
  9. Psychotext

    In fairness, it’s what they use over on the article. It’s just that the article is all sorts of un-factchecked wrong. =)

    #9 7 years ago
  10. Whizzo

    I’m amazed EE Times ever published it, it’s like the ramblings of the pub drunk who doesn’t appear to know anything about the subject he’s talking about but proclaims to be an expert.

    Gartner needs a better chief analyst if that’s the BS their current one spouts.

    #10 7 years ago
  11. patlike

    I think it’s OK to change the headline: it is actually incorrect. You’re right, it was never recalled. They just extended the warrantee.

    #11 7 years ago
  12. Psychotext

    By the way… if anyone wants to know more about this I would read “The Xbox 360 Uncloaked” by Dean Takahashi. Interesting reading if you’re interested in this sort of thing.

    #12 7 years ago
  13. patlike

    I’ve still never read that. I keep meaning to.

    #13 7 years ago
  14. Psychotext

    It’s not as good as the first book, but it’s still interesting. Especially now as you can see where some of their decisions have had a lasting effect.

    #14 7 years ago
  15. frod

    Just to reiterate, this article is just wrong from the start, middle, and end.

    #15 7 years ago
  16. OrphanageExplosion

    Indeed it is. It doesn’t really stand up to much scrutiny bearing in mind the modifications (especially the initial ones in the Zephyr unit) made to the machine once RROD became an issue.

    #16 7 years ago
  17. Blerk

    Is there any bit which is right? Maybe we could salvage something here? :-D

    #17 7 years ago
  18. Psychotext

    Blerk: They are indeed correct that the 360 is a Microsoft product.

    #18 7 years ago
  19. Blerk

    OMG! Teh revelations!

    #19 7 years ago
  20. Tiger Walts

    Maybe I was wrong with the term ‘recall’ but I’m pretty sure that Zephyr units without the heat-exchange modification were sent back to MS to be upgraded.

    #20 7 years ago
  21. Psychotext

    Tiger: No, that never happened. Would have been nice if it did though. There was an Australian retailer that sent their stock back at the time, but that was apparently related to a bunch of busted drives.

    #21 7 years ago
  22. Blerk

    Isn’t there supposed to be some more revised hardware on the way soon? Or did I imagine that?

    #22 7 years ago
  23. Psychotext

    Few different versions apparently.

    Opus: Falcon minus HDMI for replacing RRoD original machines.
    Jasper: 65nm shrink on the GPU to match the CPU shrink in Falcon.
    Valhalla: 65nm single die (CPU / GPU).

    #23 7 years ago
  24. Whizzo

    The CPU had a die shrink to 65nm in the “Falcon”, the GPU has the same done in “Jasper”, which is now in production.

    So it should get cooler/quieter/more reliable. Probably.

    #24 7 years ago
  25. Blerk

    When are we likely to see Jasper units on the shop shelves, then?

    #25 7 years ago
  26. Whizzo

    Not until the old ones sell out I would imagine, which could be a while given we’re into Summer in the northern hemisphere so console sales aren’t going to be that high. Probably the Autumn at the earliest.

    #26 7 years ago
  27. Blerk

    That’s fine. I don’t want one yet anyway. I might never want one. But I might. One day. Six months, maybe. Possibly.

    #27 7 years ago
  28. Psychotext

    Yeah, Jaspers are going to be hard to find. Partly because of old stock, partly because it’s doubtful there will be an easy way to differentiate them and falcons.

    #28 7 years ago

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