Industry publications are abuzz with the idea that the next-generation Xbox, commonly referred to as the Xbox 720 in the media, is going to hit in the fall 2013 timeframe, powered by AMD’s Radeon 6670 graphics chip. The new Xbox will hit the market nearly a year after Nintendo’s own Wii U is expected to launch.
This lines up with our own sources at AMD, who admitted that Microsoft had already ordered the next-generation GPU. IGN is claiming that the Radeon-powered game console will be roughly equivalent in performance to AMD’s Radeon 6670 graphics chip from last year. It’s common for console makers to use ‘last-gen’ PC parts for a number of reasons: it keeps costs down, it keeps heat down and it’s easier to order by the bucketful – an important consideration as manufacturers ramp up the production lines.
It’s rumored that the new Xbox will be somewhere on the order of “six times as powerful” as the Xbox 360, as measured by some unknown metric. It will very likely be noticeably more powerful than Nintendo’s upcoming Wii U game console, but a 20% difference will matter less to gamers than the current gulf in graphics capability between the two companies’ systems.
The Xbox 720, or whatever it’s called, will mark the third Microsoft system to use AMD’s graphics technology. AMD – then ATI – also provided the oomph behind the last Nintendo consoles: Sony has used rival NVIDIA, instead.