Microsoft's 720 to herald new Xbox ecosystem

Posted by Trent Nouveau

Microsoft's next-gen Xbox will reportedly act as a central hub to a number of devices, all of which are likely to carry an "X" branding, such as the 7-inch X-Surface gaming tablet.

Indeed, according to Pocket-Lint, the X-Surface is a stand-alone gaming system, rather than a Windows 8 or RT device, as was previously rumored. To be sure, the device will be capable of accessing games, music and video hubs of the new Xbox (both locally and in the cloud?) but apparentlys lack indigenous apps.

In addition, the X-Surface won't be hobbled by a full-fledged desktop OS, but rather, will run a barebones UI focused on providing the best possible experience for console-quality games.

Although Microsoft has yet to officially confirm any X-Surface specs, reports indicate the device may well be capable of rendering Unreal Engine 3 titles at a solid 60FPS.

In terms of Xbox 720 hardware, a source told Pocket Lint that most "leaked" data about the next-gen console remains fairly accurate, namely Microsoft is working with AMD on both the central (8-core) and graphics (800 MHz) processor. However, says the source, each of the 8 cores will be clocked at 1.9GHz instead of the rumored 1.6GHz.

Additional Xbox 720 specs obtained by VGLeaks include a detailed graphics breakdown. Indeed, the new system may very well be equipped with a custom D3D11.1 class 800-MHz graphics processor and 12 shader cores - providing a total of 768 threads. Each thread can perform one scalar multiplication and addition operation (MADD) per clock cycle. At peak performance, the GPU will be capable of effectively issuing 1.2 trillion floating-point operations per second.

Additional key specs? 8 gigabyte (GB) of RAM DDR3 (68 GB/s), 32 MB of fast embedded SRAM (ESRAM) (102 GB/s), 50 GB 6x Blu-ray drive, gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi Direct, move engines, image, video, and audio codecs, Kinect multi-channel echo cancellation (MEC) hardware, as well as cryptography engines for encryption/decryption and hashing.