Next Xbox to feature AMD processor, not compatible with 360 titles

By on April 9, 2013, 4:30 PM

Sources close to Bloomberg report that Microsoft has signed a deal with Advanced Micro Devices to manufacturer processors for its yet to be named, next-generation Xbox "720" console. This confirms previous rumors of an AMD-made "Jaguar" APU which would purportedly ship inside the Xbox 360's successor.

Microsoft's move to AMD's more general-purpose x64 "PC" architecture indicates that existing Xbox 360 games will not be compatible with its next-generation console. The Xbox 360 is fueled by a 64-bit Power PC chip designed by IBM.

One of the reasons cited for the major platform shift to AMD is developers; Microsoft says game studios will have an easier time developing cross-platform games for its Xbox 720 once the switch is made. 

It appears AMD has cornered the console gaming market, finding its way into the biggest-name consoles. The Playstation 4 is slated to house an AMD processor while the Wii U pairs an AMD Radeon GPU with an IBM-made processor. Even Valve's upcoming Steambox is expected to feature an AMD APU. 

AMD stated last year that it would be focusing less on desktop CPUs and more on its APU offerings. The company's recent console pair-ups ostensibly fit into this strategy, allowing AMD to thrive outside the PC market with its integrated solutions.

Investors certainly favored the news: AMD shares rose by 13 percent.

Additionally, Microsoft is planning a May 21 event although Bloomberg's sources note they don't expect Redmond's next-gen console to launch until this summer.




User Comments: 39

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domyz said:

No compatibility is a joke, for PS4 and XBOX720.

3 people like this | JC713 JC713 said:

No compatibility is a joke for now. Then people will begin to understand how large the leap is between current and next gen consoles, and will appreciate the new transition. Plus what is the point of being able to play old games on a new system? Just use the old system.

kuroiei kuroiei said:

Somewhere, at Microsoft headquarters, after the always-on decision, there's a meeting:

-"I've got an idea! Let's shoot BOTH our feet!"

I've got a question - I know the incompatibility between x86 and x64 architectures - as there's no way to run x64 on x86... but isn't the other way around doable? I've got a x64 PC machine and it works like a charm with all the other stuff (including some really old stuff). Is this a decision or is this a architectural restriction? The latter I would understand. Could someone help me with this one?

kuroiei kuroiei said:

No compatibility is a joke for now. Then people will begin to understand how large the leap is between current and next gen consoles, and will appreciate the new transition. Plus what is the point of being able to play old games on a new system? Just use the old system.

I think it's the cause of playing older, good games on a system that currently stand in your living-room, and not in the box under a bed or something. Believe me, there ARE good games that we all like to come back to. And having an AVGN-room like, filled with different consoles is a mess. Besides, what's the problem for NOT having your system able to play a generation older games?

JC713 JC713 said:

I think it's the cause of playing older, good games on a system that currently stand in your living-room, and not in the box under a bed or something. Believe me, there ARE good games that we all like to come back to. And having an AVGN-room like, filled with different consoles is a mess. Besides, what's the problem for NOT having your system able to play a generation older games?

I dont have a problem with not being able to play them. It is just that it is hard to port an older generation game to run on x86 architecture. They will have to emulate it. Or allow you to download it online. There will most likely be a solution. This isnt official news anyways. It is any ones game.

Guest said:

The reason why is the power pc Cpu from the xbox360, has different instruction set .Than the AMD chip they are using this time..AMD using X86 set.

The only other way to be able to play xbox360 games on a new 720 xbox.Would be play them from the cloud. Which Microsoft doesnt own right now..They need buy Onlive! to compete against Sony.

kuroiei kuroiei said:

The reason why is the power pc Cpu from the xbox360, has different instruction set .Than the AMD chip they are using this time..AMD using X86 set.

The only other way to be able to play xbox360 games on a new 720 xbox.Would be play them from the cloud. Which Microsoft doesnt own right now..They need buy Onlive! to compete against Sony.

Thanks for the explanation. So, they're moving from IBM to AMD, and this is the main reason, right?

JC713 JC713 said:

Thanks for the explanation. So, they're moving from IBM to AMD, and this is the main reason, right?

Not the move from company to company, but instead the change in architecture from x (not really sure) to x86. An x86 CPU is what you have in your PC.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

The short answer is, it's a question of basic core instruction sets. The PowerPC architecture is actually based on Enhanced RISC (it's even part of the name, PowerPC is really a long acronym: Performance Optimization With Enhanced RISC - Performance Computing). The x64 system you are using now was developed as an enhanced x86 platform, so there is common ancestry and basic code that allows for the x86 backward compatibility.

Chazz said:

I'm curious. The PS4 won't be backwards compatible as well. I've yet to read one article highlighting (not just here) that. So why is this news? What's different? Or will the PS4 be backwards compatible?

VitalyT VitalyT said:

Nice play by AMD, scooping all the big orders for their APU-s. And this is Intel taking up for having prices above the competition.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I dont have a problem with not being able to play them. It is just that it is hard to port an older generation game to run on x86 architecture. They will have to emulate it. Or allow you to download it online. There will most likely be a solution. This isnt official news anyways. It is any ones game.

I'm guessing we'll see "remastered" games that have been recompiled for the new platform, available through an online digital delivery system. Similar to how Sony offers old PSX titles on the newer hardware.

Guest said:

Power PC was what ran older macs from about 1993 to 2005. Mac software wouldn't run on PC's which ran x86 processors. Same problem with the proposed change for xbox

JC713 JC713 said:

I'm guessing we'll see "remastered" games that have been recompiled for the new platform, available through an online digital delivery system. Similar to how Sony offers old PSX titles on the newer hardware.

Well, most companies dont really wanna spend money on an old game, only if it was successful like Doom.

1 person liked this | howzz1854 said:

Power PC was what ran older macs from about 1993 to 2005. Mac software wouldn't run on PC's which ran x86 processors. Same problem with the proposed change for xbox

motorola was the chip inside the macs before powerPC came to play in the early 2000's. Motorola dropped out of the race around the time of OS8/9 because they weren't able to keep up with the processing speed race. Apple went with IBM's power PC due to the similar RISC architecture (Reduced Instruction Set). AMD's earlier iteration CPUS K6/K7 share similarities in RISC architecture, but not a complete RISC chip. all the current generation X86 chips like intel and current gen AMD are all CISC based chips (Complex instruction sets). there're both pros and cons in RISC and CISC, if you remember back in the day of AMD Thunderbird VS Netburst, RISC was actually more efficient. but all this is just history, which has nothing to do with the main reason MS shifted to AMD's X86 based architecture, which is to make life easier for programmers to develop games across different platforums. hopefully this means less shittier console ports and better graphics. with cost of game development on the rise, it's increasingly difficult to develop games for both PC and Console. this just makes it cheaper and easier for the devs.

soldier1969 soldier1969 said:

The whole idea behind the next gen is next gen games, why play your old stuff on the new system. Keep your old system if you want to play those games. To me the next gen is a joke when compared to my current gaming pc (GTX 690,i7 @ 4.5, 2560 x 1600, 512gb SSD)

EEatGDL said:

Nice play by AMD, scooping all the big orders for their APU-s. And this is Intel taking up for having prices above the competition.

I own Intel and recommend AMD on notebooks; and I think this is very healthy to the market. I wouldn't want by any means Intel selling there too, AMD deserves to have a bigger profit that hopefully will be invested in more R&D.

GunsAblazin said:

Somewhere, at Microsoft headquarters, after the always-on decision, there's a meeting:

-"I've got an idea! Let's shoot BOTH our feet!"

I've got a question - I know the incompatibility between x86 and x64 architectures - as there's no way to run x64 on x86... but isn't the other way around doable? I've got a x64 PC machine and it works like a charm with all the other stuff (including some really old stuff). Is this a decision or is this a architectural restriction? The latter I would understand. Could someone help me with this one?

32-bit software can run on a 64-bit system, but the problem is the New CPU architecture and how games were programed to utilize the hardware and the OS on the system. If any drastic changes were made the game would have to be ported to the new system, or a patch would have to be made. It takes money to do that. They would rather resell it to you.

m4a4 m4a4 said:

You would hope that this sucker is powerful enough to emulate without too much of a hassle...

TS-56336 TS-56336 said:

Let's see, "No internet, no gaming" and a lack of backwards compatibility? Is Microsoft looking for the 720 to fail?

hitech0101 said:

Happy for amd but no compatability is painful most of games I played on xp not working on win7 now MS doing same shit to xbox.

dennis777 dennis777 said:

They don't have compatibility because they will re-release it online so you have to pay and download it again. More money for them!

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I will never understand this argument, you can't blame "Mess" on being a problem, all your old games will still be out so you can play them even with a new console, all the space that is being asked is an Xbox 360 sized gap by your TV, not much of an ask really.

No, you do not need to pay for your games again to play them, you just get the old console out and, you know, play them.

If the architecture of the processor has changed then accept the fact that it simply will not be backwards compatible.

If you do want features such as backwards compatibility then go and get a Gamecube, Wii, Wii U and have that feature, just don't moan that not many games are released for your console that are any good... Or get a PC.

scorpian007 said:

Lack of backwards compatibility (or very little) didn't stop the PS3/360 from being a success

bexwhitt said:

Compatibility damages innovation so suck it.

Sunny87 said:

Nice play by AMD, scooping all the big orders for their APU-s. And this is Intel taking up for having prices above the competition.

I own Intel and recommend AMD on notebooks; and I think this is very healthy to the market. I wouldn't want by any means Intel selling there too, AMD deserves to have a bigger profit that hopefully will be invested in more R&D.

Intel laptops are far superior to AMD, AMD notebook/laptops have the worst reliability issues ever, there's a reason Intel costs more, core for core intel destroy AMD every time AMD rely on the mid range gaming market to stay alive where intel has it's hands in both, if you want mid range get a cheaper i3/i5 for gaming if you wan't high end buy an i7.

AMD's issue is it's naming convention no one knows what any of it means so people often take it at face value often getting an inferior product as a result thinking they have bought a 5500MHz CPU because the number is bigger.

There is a reason intel wont lower price and thats because AMD is no competition to them anymore, and to be honest they probably havent made that much money out of these console deals, it's all just free advertising.

Adhmuz Adhmuz, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Lack of backwards compatibility (or very little) didn't stop the PS3/360 from being a success

The PS3 launched with backwards compatibility, first by having the PS2 CPU and GPU physically on the motherboard, then via software emulation. They later axed it to reduce production cost, and by then the library of available games was starting to mature. Sony pushed it as backwards compatible later to remove the feature saying it wasn't important, or some bs like that.

Also I have to point out that this AMD Jaguar chip is actually x86-64 so its compatible with both, did no one put together the fact that it has 8GB of RAM and a 32bit architecture can only address 3.5GB. Or did no one actually research this APU... In theory there should be a way to achieve backwards compatibility, but that; A cost money and B negatively effects new game sales.

wiyosaya said:

The whole idea behind the next gen is next gen games, why play your old stuff on the new system. Keep your old system if you want to play those games. To me the next gen is a joke when compared to my current gaming pc (GTX 690,i7 @ 4.5, 2560 x 1600, 512gb SSD)

Because you've spent money on them, continue to play them, and do not want to pay again for the same game?

EEatGDL said:

Intel laptops are far superior to AMD, AMD notebook/laptops have the worst reliability issues ever, there's a reason Intel costs more, core for core intel destroy AMD every time AMD rely on the mid range gaming market to stay alive where intel has it's hands in both, if you want mid range get a cheaper i3/i5 for gaming if you wan't high end buy an i7.

I have a Sandy Bridge i7 in my laptop; 2 colleagues have an i7 on their laptop too with a lot of heat problems, lag peaks, etc. I don't have problems with mine except with some buggy drivers in graphics and Turboboost (eating up all your RAM after a lot of use in a same session).

One year ago, a neighbor bought a nb with SB i3 and a classmate a notebook with an AMD APU and both felt well in use; being the AMD more balanced in performance/multimedia than the i3. The APU could handle Command & Conquer 3 fine in high preset [very low, low, normal, high, very high]; the i3 barely on normal preset; I have switchable graphics and I can choose when to run on the integrated graphics or NVIDIA GT540M, my HD 3000 graphics looses in high preset against the AMD.

Both using it for over a year and the AMD APU still kicking in with XCOM, Diablo 3 and Warface with not the maximum but nice graphics; while my neighbor with the i3 can barely play most games in low quality. Besides, drivers updates for AMD are released more often than the ones of Intel.

4 months ago I recommended an aunt a nb with AMD APU and for her teacher's use is fine and cheap; while my little cousin can casually play the games she likes without worrying about the graphics. AMD is more balanced in all aspects, not brute force, but average performance balanced. I have nothing against Intel, I own only Intel and I'm not complaining about it; is just that AMD deserves sales for the good of the market and all of us.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Because you've spent money on them, continue to play them, and do not want to pay again for the same game?

NOBODY IS ASKING YOU TO BUY THEM AGAIN! You can still play them on the console you purchased. Don't even try and complain about "mess" if your old games are still out, whether a new console has come out or not, those games will still be on, say, your shelf, the only space you'll need is for the old console, which isn't a big ask...

Sunny87 said:

I have a Sandy Bridge i7 in my laptop; 2 colleagues have an i7 on their laptop too with a lot of heat problems, lag peaks, etc. I don't have problems with mine except with some buggy drivers in graphics and Turboboost (eating up all your RAM after a lot of use in a same session).

One year ago, a neighbor bought a nb with SB i3 and a classmate a notebook with an AMD APU and both felt well in use; being the AMD more balanced in performance/multimedia than the i3. The APU could handle Command & Conquer 3 fine in high preset [very low, low, normal, high, very high]; the i3 barely on normal preset; I have switchable graphics and I can choose when to run on the integrated graphics or NVIDIA GT540M, my HD 3000 graphics looses in high preset against the AMD.

Both using it for over a year and the AMD APU still kicking in with XCOM, Diablo 3 and Warface with not the maximum but nice graphics; while my neighbor with the i3 can barely play most games in low quality. Besides, drivers updates for AMD are released more often than the ones of Intel.

4 months ago I recommended an aunt a nb with AMD APU and for her teacher's use is fine and cheap; while my little cousin can casually play the games she likes without worrying about the graphics. AMD is more balanced in all aspects, not brute force, but average performance balanced. I have nothing against Intel, I own only Intel and I'm not complaining about it; is just that AMD deserves sales for the good of the market and all of us.

Well I can safely say I've had nothing but the opposite, all the AMD laptops we had here from HP have all but melted themselves to death and we get on average 300-400 laptops a year and they have performed terribly compared to their intel counter part, intel systems last longer in my opinion an i3 with a graphics card added will out perform an AMD APU but my i5 has been nothing but bliss and has already outlasted my HP AMD laptop, we get many different brands a year and it's been the same storie over and over for the last 8 years.

EEatGDL said:

Of course a graphics card added will probably beat (depending what vs what) integrated; I wrote about my [i7] integrated vs i3 integrated vs AMD APU; I said I have NVIDIA too in my laptop, obviusly I play with it, but while the NVIDIA [GT 540M] can run XCOM at highest, HD 3000 can't run it well at low [tryed it 2 weeks ago].

The other two mentioned i7's [colleagues] with the heat issues, etc. are HP too; and they heat bad. And in laptop the i3 and i5 are basically the same processor but the latter with more cache and Turboboost enabled; both 2 core-4 threads.

Out of the box, same price vs same price; the AMD APU is surprisingly more balanced in everything; Intel graphics are honestly targeting 2D graphics while failing a lot in my opinion for casual gaming in 3D, even titles before 2008.

And now that you mention HP there's a strong conspiracy theory about it being "programmed to fail"; my father's laptop HD fatally failed -detected but without capacity, unable to format- 13 months after it was bought; my colleague [previously mentioned] with HP and i7 started heating like hell after 1 year and a week of owning it, similar with a cousin. But that's another topic.

I didn't like myself AMD laptops for similar reasons; but the AMD APU is a good step forward. Just understand there's no good in having a monopoly without competition -because Intel is a monopoly with competition.

AMD fanboys will say wonders about their PC's with AMD and Intel fanboys will do the same; during the Athlon vs P4 era the AMD fanboys would say exactly your arguments, because sincerely Netburst sucked -I owned Pentium 4 SK775 @3.4 GHz and a Pentium D SK775 @3.4 GHz, regret buying them and were HOT and noisy. Super-deeping the pipeline and rising the frequency wasn't the solution for performance; you can see that with Core processors and in that era in the laptops with Pentium M (P6 architecture) vs Pentium 4: the latter running hotter, eating battery and not being that fast.

1 person liked this | Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Well I can safely say I've had nothing but the opposite, all the AMD laptops we had here from HP have all but melted themselves to death and we get on average 300-400 laptops a year and they have performed terribly compared to their intel counter part, intel systems last longer in my opinion an i3 with a graphics card added will out perform an AMD APU but my i5 has been nothing but bliss and has already outlasted my HP AMD laptop, we get many different brands a year and it's been the same storie over and over for the last 8 years.

I can also backup this claim, HP are our main supplier and we are also a reseller of there's. Over the fast 5 years I've worked at my company We have ordered around 40 AMD laptops and well over 100+ Intel's for ourselves. It must be in the thousands per year of actual laptop orders for our clients etc.. Anyway...

Pretty much every single Intel laptop (Mixture of Corei3's and i5's) run superbly, ever since Sandy Bridge not a single one has failed or had any significant failure due to hardware (except for a few people pouring drinks over there's but even then, HP's Sink hole systems seem to work pretty well most the time).

Now the AMD laptops, I can safely say as of late last year every single one has been thrown in the bin or melted, or are just unused. They are first and foremost, slower, I don't know what it is but even the higher end AMD's just can't get close to an i5 when using something like VMware workstation all day.

Second, battery life pretty much sucked on every single AMD laptop, would be lucky to get 2 hours, maybe 2 and a half, all Intel laptops could get 3+.

Finally, the heat generated from the AMD's were intense, I mean really intense, they just got very hot, after a BIOS update on a few of them it sorted out a few but then they were constantly loud as the fan was working harder.

The reason we got the AMD's though were more of a test, if they were able to cope with what we needed them for they were a much cheaper alternative, unfortunately it was a costly mistake, we will not make that mistake again.

Some of our clients have had AMD laptops exclusively, one client hated them, every single one they ordered (60+) had a bug whereby the screen would be completely covered in grey and black stripes, this was due to a firmware / heat issue, even after updating all the laptops, some still had the issue.

Another client though with AMD laptops seem to be quite content, maybe its pot luck if you get a decent AMD system perhaps?

Sunny87 said:

I can also backup this claim, HP are our main supplier and we are also a reseller of there's. Over the fast 5 years I've worked at my company We have ordered around 40 AMD laptops and well over 100+ Intel's for ourselves. It must be in the thousands per year of actual laptop orders for our clients etc.. Anyway...

Pretty much every single Intel laptop (Mixture of Corei3's and i5's) run superbly, ever since Sandy Bridge not a single one has failed or had any significant failure due to hardware (except for a few people pouring drinks over there's but even then, HP's Sink hole systems seem to work pretty well most the time).

Now the AMD laptops, I can safely say as of late last year every single one has been thrown in the bin or melted, or are just unused. They are first and foremost, slower, I don't know what it is but even the higher end AMD's just can't get close to an i5 when using something like VMware workstation all day.

Second, battery life pretty much sucked on every single AMD laptop, would be lucky to get 2 hours, maybe 2 and a half, all Intel laptops could get 3+.

Finally, the heat generated from the AMD's were intense, I mean really intense, they just got very hot, after a BIOS update on a few of them it sorted out a few but then they were constantly loud as the fan was working harder.

The reason we got the AMD's though were more of a test, if they were able to cope with what we needed them for they were a much cheaper alternative, unfortunately it was a costly mistake, we will not make that mistake again.

Some of our clients have had AMD laptops exclusively, one client hated them, every single one they ordered (60+) had a bug whereby the screen would be completely covered in grey and black stripes, this was due to a firmware / heat issue, even after updating all the laptops, some still had the issue.

Another client though with AMD laptops seem to be quite content, maybe its pot luck if you get a decent AMD system perhaps?

We've had the grey screen and lines issue too, and GPU's melting with them, I just don't know if it's the design of the laptops that doesn't do the AMD's any favours but the design always works with intel based laptops, we've had our fair share of bad intel ones don't get me wrong, core2duo's used to be terrible at times, but like for like I've never had it nearly as bad as I do with AMD.

yukka, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Sounds good to me, AMD have decent performance and don't cost as much as Intel. Also shouldn't be any driver problems and having the GPU and CPU made by the same company can't help but improve performance. I don't care about backwards compatibility really. Its a shame I won't be able to download the Xbox live titles I purchased over the last few years on the new console but then again my 360 has been switched off for the last year and I am still paying an Xbox Live Gold sub. Maybe I have more money than sense but I don't really care. I will buy it and play. When I am not playing my 216 steam games on my i7 Macbook Pro with its 360 controller. Or going outside and doing stuff. Or working. I can see why the kids would be pissed off tho.

gingerbill said:

I don't care about backwards compatibiity . I'd rather it didn't have it if it moves the technology on more and makes it cheaper.

ddg4005 ddg4005 said:

Compatibility damages innovation so suck it.

Just how does compatibility damage innovation and what, exactly, is 'innovation'?

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Just how does compatibility damage innovation and what, exactly, is 'innovation'?

I don't think he was thinking it through completely when stating this, however, I have to admit, when you look at Wii and Wii U, they both have backwards compatibility and both have dreadful specs and (in particular the Wii) a lot of devs just ignore them. I don't know if the backwards compatibility is causing the low specs on the consoles or what but it really doesn't put Nintendo's consoles on the forefront of modern (or even multi-platform) games.

Sure, the Wii has some fancy controllers, Sure, Wii U has a fancy screen, but what use are they when game devs just don't care? The only good games (not always of course, but generally) that get released on Nintendo consoles since the Wii were first party games.

ddg4005 ddg4005 said:

I don't think he was thinking it through completely when stating this, however, I have to admit, when you look at Wii and Wii U, they both have backwards compatibility and both have dreadful specs and (in particular the Wii) a lot of devs just ignore them. I don't know if the backwards compatibility is causing the low specs on the consoles or what but it really doesn't put Nintendo's consoles on the forefront of modern (or even multi-platform) games.

Sure, the Wii has some fancy controllers, Sure, Wii U has a fancy screen, but what use are they when game devs just don't care? The only good games (not always of course, but generally) that get released on Nintendo consoles since the Wii were first party games.

Interesting points but perhaps developers ignored the Wii U because Nintendo's consoles have never been seen as 'hardcore' in the same way as Sony's and Microsoft's. Whenever I think of Nintendo I think of Mario and Donkey Kong; when I think of the Xbox 360 or the PlayStation 3 Call of Duty and Tekken come to mind respectively.

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