Last week (February 28th), a leaked in-depth overview on Microsoft’s next Xbox’s CPU had surfaced on VGLeaks, an apparently respectable rumour aggregation site concerning next-gen hardware. Whether to say the leak is legitimate I cannot say, but I can say it’s very tech-intensive — and very detailed, too. I originally intended this article to be an analysis of the CPU, and see how it compared to the recently announced PS4, but because the report is so tech-heavy, I’ve decided to just bring you the news of said leak, and submit my analysis later.
The report opens up with a brief summary to the wall of text that soon follows. It states that the Durango CPU brings modern performance features to console development; that developers can spend more time on ironing out content than spending development time on optimization and that due to a trend of parallel processing, a strategy for multi-core processing is more important now than before.
“The Durango CPU brings a host of modern micro-architectural performance features to console development. With Durango, a familiar instruction set architecture and high performance silicon mean developers can focus effort on content and features, not micro-optimization. The trend towards more parallel power continues in this hardware; so, an effective strategy for multi-core computing is more important than ever.”
Simply put – from what I understand of the summary – the opening paragraph describes how Durango will be more friendly for video game developers; that the new architecture of the CPU will bring performance features to – I speculate – make it easier for developers to understand how their project runs on the new console. Along with that, the CPU’s improved design will allow for developers to concentrate their efforts on developing the game itself, rather than spending time ensuring that the game has been optimized and fine-tuned correctly to better perform on the console. Finally, since the console has been designed around parallel processing, a new development strategy would have to be thought up in order to take advantage of the Durango.
The CPU itself is structured as two modules, what I believe to be essentially two processors. Each module contains four x64 cores, which all run a single thread that clocks 1.6GHz. Within one core contains 32Kb of instruction cache and as many of data cache. All four cores within their own module share 2Mb of level 2 cache. In total, the CPU has eight threads, 128Kb I-cache, 128Kb D-cache, and 4Mb of L2 cache.
The cores within each module communicate with their respective L2 cache via a level 2 interface, as well as between each other (both modules can “speak” to one another). This communication also includes what I assume to be the console’s main RAM via a Core Communication Interface and the North Bridge.
Told you it was tech-intensive. I don’t blame you if your brain’s already broken – I don’t understand half of it either. In any case, I must stress that these specs have not been confirmed by Microsoft any anyone affiliated to them, as far as I’m aware. I suggest you take VGLeaks’ overview with a pinch of salt until something official is announced – probably in April.
I will follow up on this article with my analysis as soon as I understand and wrap my head around the tech-speak and am able to simplify it. Until such times, you can head over to VGLeaks and read the report for yourself.
Chirp to VGLeaks.