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Microsoft's CPU/GPU Combo Chip is Called 'Vejle'

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 68 comments

Microsoft and IBM beat Intel and AMD in designing a CPU and GPU combo chip.

We've been waiting for the realization of all the talk about the combination of CPU and GPU into a single chip for some time now. AMD and Intel will be achieving that goal in the not too distant future, but a major software giant (along with some other hardware help) beat them to the punch.

Microsoft's latest redesign of the Xbox 360 houses a CPU and GPU combo chip, which includes IBM's triple-core design with ATI's graphics core, and is called Vejle, named after a city in Denmark (not Valhalla, as many previously believed).

The two parts originally debuted as 90nm parts (codenamed Xenon for the IBM CPU and Xenos for the ATI GPU) but are now married as one 45nm part produced by IBM and Globalfoundries.

Compared to the original duo of chips, this single SoC is 50 percent smaller in size and draws 60 percent less power. This clearly reduces cost for Microsoft in both silicon as well as design of cooling hardware.

Despite being the first of its kind on such a mass scale, the new Vejle chip contains only 372 million transistors, which is about half as many as the Core i5-760.

Despite the fact that the CPU still runs at 3.2GHz and the GPU at 500MHz, the overall design is capable of higher performance than the original design thanks to its integrated design. Sadly, instead of the new Xbox 360s being able to take advantage of the improvements, the system must be throttled to maintain compatibility with the previous designs.

Seen in the block diagram is the FSB replacement, which puts limits the latency and bandwidth on the new chip so that it'll behave the same way as the older chips.

(Sources: Ars Technica, Venture Beat.)

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  • 21 Hide
    warezme , August 25, 2010 1:13 PM
    If it were a PC it would get unlocked, overclocked and better cooling put on the thing to make it better.
  • 21 Hide
    werfu , August 25, 2010 1:30 PM
    Why throttle it? Its been years since programmer last used the CPU frequency to time their game. Having it run full potential would simply let the CPU idle more often and reduce game lag under intense sequence.
  • 14 Hide
    webbwbb , August 25, 2010 2:44 PM
    dashipEver heard of Intel i3/i5 with integrated GPU. Maybe you should know what your talking about, or do research before you hit the keyboard.So no, Microsoft did not beat Intel.


    The problem is that is not on the same silicon. They have two separate dies inside the same package. It does slightly lower latency compared to moving it to the mainboard but it is very slight. This is indeed the first time this has happened in a production environment.
Other Comments
  • 10 Hide
    Darkerson , August 25, 2010 1:13 PM
    Thats pretty sad that game console tech more or less one upped pc tech, but good for them I guess.
  • 21 Hide
    warezme , August 25, 2010 1:13 PM
    If it were a PC it would get unlocked, overclocked and better cooling put on the thing to make it better.
  • -3 Hide
    jimishtar , August 25, 2010 1:14 PM
    hope to see this migrate as a desktop solution.
  • 0 Hide
    nforce4max , August 25, 2010 1:15 PM
    Nice work, it is a shame about the throttling. This is why consoles usually never live up to their true potential and they often cut corners by reducing costs and in this case the cooling system. They should have put much more memory in this console. The more memory the better the games that devs can make graphics wise as well content.
  • 8 Hide
    amster , August 25, 2010 1:26 PM
    Does it have DirectX 11?
  • 8 Hide
    counselmancl , August 25, 2010 1:27 PM
    the overall design is capable of higher performance than the original design thanks to its integrated design

    Who designed this?
  • 21 Hide
    werfu , August 25, 2010 1:30 PM
    Why throttle it? Its been years since programmer last used the CPU frequency to time their game. Having it run full potential would simply let the CPU idle more often and reduce game lag under intense sequence.
  • 7 Hide
    smeker , August 25, 2010 1:38 PM
    DarkersonThats pretty sad that game console tech more or less one upped pc tech, but good for them I guess.


    How exactly did game console tech upped the pc tech?

    What the person that wrote this article dont understand is that MS is using a four year old architecture of a 3 core cpu. They just shrunk the size and placed it on a single silicone. Instead of using 90nm they used 45 nm tech to print the CPU and GPU on a single silicon. You can see that from the images above.

    Why dont they try doing that with an i5 CPU and and hd 5870 or GT480...

    There is nothing revolutionary in this chip....
  • 12 Hide
    siman , August 25, 2010 1:47 PM
    "Microsoft and IBM beat Intel and AMD in designing a CPU and GPU combo chip."

    umm ATI is AMD....or DAAMIT...
  • 12 Hide
    rocket_sauce , August 25, 2010 2:11 PM
    werfuWhy throttle it?

    My guess would be to avoid the fiasco of the dreaded RROD of its last gen predecessor and to keep cooling on the cheap side.
    smekerHow exactly did game console tech upped the pc tech?

    Sounds to me he is just talking about a console getting this tech before a PC.

  • 11 Hide
    gamerk316 , August 25, 2010 2:27 PM
    nforce4maxThey should have put much more memory in this console. The more memory the better the games that devs can make graphics wise as well content.


    I disagree on this one; you don't need that much physical RAM when running a single application. PC OS's have to deal with thousands of threads, just from teh OS, where consoles have a very lightweight OS, and teh rest of the RAM is guranteed to be free. There is no reason for >512MB RAM on current consoles, and no reason for >1GB for the next line of consoles, as that much space isn't physically needed.

    werfuWhy throttle it? Its been years since programmer last used the CPU frequency to time their game. Having it run full potential would simply let the CPU idle more often and reduce game lag under intense sequence.


    Maybe the 360 CPU lacks that functionallity? Remember, consoles are DESIGNED to be single-spec machines. As such, you can never assume developers coded in such a way that is correct for multiple CPU configurations, as the entire point of a console is to remove that from being a consideration.
  • 7 Hide
    triculious , August 25, 2010 2:28 PM
    I don't know if we would see this on a desktop pc but I think it would be awesome for laptops/netbooks
  • 2 Hide
    Trueno07 , August 25, 2010 2:30 PM
    Game devs are starting to get frustrated with the lack of power in consoles. It's time for an upgrade, not a shift sideways.
  • 1 Hide
    smeker , August 25, 2010 2:38 PM
    rocket_sauceSounds to me he is just talking about a console getting this tech before a PC.

    I dont think is a matter of not being able to do it for the Desktop PC but rather doing it with newer tech.
    Who would want to buy a 5 year old CPU and GPU integrated on a single piece of Silicon for a Desktop PC usage? No-one sane...

    Games consoles can do this because they do not change as much as PCs. Their refresh cycle is 5 to 6 years and probably longer for the current PS3 and 360. While people purchase new PCS every other year, or they upgrade components every year, so placing an old (repackaged) tech on the Desktop PC market would be a waste of money.
  • 4 Hide
    kikireeki , August 25, 2010 2:44 PM
    "Microsoft and IBM beat Intel and AMD in designing a CPU and GPU combo chip"
    Since the GPU is ATI then AMD is involved in the project!
  • 14 Hide
    webbwbb , August 25, 2010 2:44 PM
    dashipEver heard of Intel i3/i5 with integrated GPU. Maybe you should know what your talking about, or do research before you hit the keyboard.So no, Microsoft did not beat Intel.


    The problem is that is not on the same silicon. They have two separate dies inside the same package. It does slightly lower latency compared to moving it to the mainboard but it is very slight. This is indeed the first time this has happened in a production environment.
  • 2 Hide
    Netherscourge , August 25, 2010 2:59 PM


    The GPU/CPU combo is not a tech-upgrade for the Xbox 360; it's a quality upgrade. They needed to solve the RROD problem - this chip does that (we hope)AND saves Microsoft manufacturing costs.

    PC's still are the cutting edge in hardware and will always be until console makers adapt an upgradable structure and console software developers are willing to make games for it.

    But then, it they do that, why bother making consoles when you can do the same thing cheaper on a PC?

    The only thing consoles provide that PC's can't is solid anti-piracy measures. And that's good enough to pull game makers away from PC's and into consoles.

    It's all about the Benjamins. $$$
  • -1 Hide
    willgart , August 25, 2010 3:18 PM
    When this version of the XBox will be available?
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , August 25, 2010 3:28 PM
    As a dane, having been to the city of "Vejle" them naming their most advanced chip after it, seems a bit funny :-) Vejle is a nice city sure, but nothing especial high-tech comes to mind thinking about it.
    One cannot help wonder, where that idea came from?
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