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IBM Delivers Power-based Chip for Microsoft Xbox 360 Worldwide Launch


Engineering and Technology Services Unit Collaborates With Microsoft to Build Innovative Custom Game Processor

SAN JOSE, CA -- 10/25/2005 -- At Fall Processor Forum in San Jose, California today, IBM announced the custom designed microprocessor built for Microsoft’s Xbox 360 console is in production at the company’s East Fishkill, N.Y. fab and at Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing in Singapore. Together, IBM and Chartered’s common platform offers Microsoft a unique dual-source capability that provides the highest level of manufacturing redundancy and flexibility.

The specialized chip, featuring customized and enhanced IBM intellectual property, was designed and developed by IBM and Microsoft to meet the unique requirements of the next generation Xbox 360 console.

The chip was delivered to Microsoft in less than 24 months from original contract signing in the fall of 2003 in time to meet Microsoft’s massive worldwide product launch for the 2005 holiday season.

“The Xbox 360 chip set was designed from the ground up specifically for high-definition gaming and entertainment,” said Todd Holmdahl, corporate vice president, hardware for Xbox. “Working with IBM gave us the flexibility to design a processor to give game developers the kind of targeted power they need to make great games.”

“Microsoft’s aggressive timetable required that IBM take the Xbox 360 chip design from concept to full execution in just 24 months,” said Ilan Spillinger, IBM Distinguished Engineer and director of the IBM Design Center for Xbox 360. “IBM’s success in delivering the chip to meet Microsoft’s worldwide launch illustrates our commitment to innovative processor design that builds on IBM’s wealth of intellectual property.”

“The Xbox 360 project called upon the full range of IBM’s On Demand technology capabilities, including our Engineering & Technology Services unit for custom design work and our world wide manufacturing resources to meet the aggressive time-to-market demands for this advanced microprocessor,” said Jim Comfort, vice president and Strategic Client Executive, IBM Systems and Technology Group.

“Leveraging a common platform strategy, Microsoft benefits from a unique collaboration between IBM and Chartered for meeting its design and manufacturing needs, no matter how challenging they might be. With IBM and Chartered sharing a common focus on customer success, customers can have a single design sourced at multiple fabs, and benefit from tighter coordination and shared learning to speed prototyping, ramp and improve yield and meet time-to-market demands,” said Kay Chai “KC” Ang, senior vice president of fab operations at Chartered.

IBM engineers have been working with Microsoft to develop the chip since 2003 at IBM locations including Rochester, Minnesota; Austin, Texas; and Raleigh, North Carolina. Microsoft plans to formally launch Xbox 360 simultaneously in the United States, Japan and Europe later this year.

The chip features a customized version of IBM’s industry leading 64-bit PowerPC core. The chip includes three of these cores, each with two simultaneous threads and clock speeds greater than 3 GHz. It features 165 million transistors and is fabricated using IBM’s 90 nanometer Silicon on Insulator (SOI) technology to reduce heat and improve performance. The chip’s innovative 21.6 GB/s Front Side Bus (FSB) Architecture was customized to meet the demanding throughput and latency requirements of the Xbox 360 gaming platform software.

Other Xbox 360 chip features include:

-- 3 identical multi-threaded PowerPC-based CPU cores operating at 3.2 GHz enhanced with specialized function VMX acceleration for gaming applications and a high speed 128-bit vector unit

-- 1 MByte Shared L2 Cache with custom logic for high-speed data streaming for graphics and system applications

-- 5.4 Gb/s per-pin Front Side Bus (with an aggregated bandwidth of 21.6 GBs)

-- Highly configurable and programmable utilizing eFUSE technology

About IBM
IBM develops, manufactures and markets state-of-the-art semiconductor and interconnect technologies, products and services including Power Architecture microprocessors. IBM semiconductors are a major contributor to the company’s position as the world’s largest information technology company. Its chip products and solutions power IBM eServer and TotalStorage systems as well as many of the world’s best-known electronics brands.

IBM semiconductor innovations include dual-core microprocessors, copper wiring, silicon-on-insulator and silicon germanium transistors, strained silicon, and eFUSE, a technology that enables computer chips to automatically respond to changing conditions. More information is available at:


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