It's no secret Microsoft does periodic hardware revisions to the Xbox 360 that are meant to fix bugs, improve performance and lower production costs. Usually these updates go unannounced, and never have they involved a change to the console's form factor since its 2005 release. But with project Natal coming up later this year it seems the company might be considering releasing something sleeker and lighter along with it to help boost sales.
The picture above shows the guts of what's supposed to be a redesigned, slim version of the Xbox 360. Notable changes include the use of a single GPU/CPU chip and, of course, a much smaller motherboard. There's also a rather large Cooler Master-branded fan attached to the chip, which will cast some doubt on the legitimacy of the leak, but the board is reportedly just an early sample Microsoft finished testing recently in China.
The originating website is Chinese-language site A9VG. While there's not much information to back up their claims, this is not the first time we're getting clues of a revised 360 either. Microsoft's own Steve Ballmer has hinted at SKU's dependent on "form factors" and just recently the company posted a job ad searching for a motherboard engineer for the Xbox 360 development team.
We'll just have to wait to see how these rumors pan out, but considering the success Sony has seen with its PS3 Slim, a new hardware redesign could certainly make a lot of a lot of sense for the Xbox 360 before the end of the year.