Xbox 360 GPU Hits 65nm With "Jasper"
A new Xbox 360 motherboard configuration was found this past week by a reader on the Xbox-Scene forums. This new motherboard, code named "Jasper" contains the fabled 65nm GPU among other improvements.
Since the Xbox 360 launched in November 2005, it has been plagued by an unusually high hardware failure rate. This has been contributed to the GPU chip warping away from the motherboard and causing the now infamous Red Ring of Death (RRoD). Speculations to the actual failure rates have been anywhere between 16 percent to 33 percent; however, the official statements from Microsoft has been that repairs are at "a higher rate than we are satisfied with." In July of 2007, Peter Moore, then the Corporate VP for Microsoft’s Xbox division confirmed the extension of the Xbox 360’s manufacturer’s warranty for the Red Ring errors to three years.
Since its launch, the Xbox 360 has had four different motherboard revisions. While some motherboard revisions were limited to larger heatsinks, the addition of an HDMI port, or the shrink in CPU die size, this latest Jasper revision marks the first shrink in die size for the ATI GPU. The GPU size has been decreased from 90nm to 65nm while an additional 256 MB of on-board flash memory has also been integrated. According to Microsoft, 128 MB is needed for the installation of the New Xbox Experience, which means the integrated flash memory will be able to handle its installation natively without the need for additional storage peripherals. The power supply has also been reduced in power consumption from a previous 175W to a new 150W model and as a safety precaution, the new power supply is equipped with a different connector than the 175W model; backwards compatibility is not supported.
Only time will tell if the decreased GPU size will solve the heat problems that have plagued the system since launch. If you are interested in hunting for a new "Jasper" model, comments on Xbox-Scene points to a Lot number of 843X with a manufacturing date of 10-23-2008. The easiest way to identify the new motherboard is by the wattage identification on the power supply unit which should clearly state the new 150W specification.