The successor to the Xbox 360 is strongly rumoured to be entering its manufacturing stages, according to reports. This comes a week after SemiAccurate’s Charlie Demerjian reported that 32-nanometer chips code-named ‘Oban’ will be powering Microsoft’s third gaming console and had been in production since “the final days of 2011”. According to Demerjian, Microsoft is planning to combine a Power PC central processor from IBM – and co-manufactured by GlobalFoundries - with the Radeon HD 7000-series GPU from AMD as the basis for the '720'.
Though Oban’s architecture is not finalised, the veracity of reports concerning the chip entering production in December would imply dev kits aren’t far around the corner (some are suggesting late March/April). As for when we can expect the console to hit retail shelves, things begin to get a little hazier still. SemiAccurate’s Demerjian in his piece on the matter ‘XBox Next/Xbox 720 chips in production’ says he fully expects to see silicon production to start later this year for retail consoles, while production for end user consoles will likely be later still (possibly late 2012), planting the next Xbox launch in and around spring 2013.
We’ve been every which way trying to round up rumours about the next-generation of consoles; trying to sift through alleged fact from absurd fiction, while picking through the minutest of details with a fine tooth comb. In truth, it’s still too early to tell when exactly we can expect Microsoft and Sony to unveil their respective consoles, let alone trying to guess at what we can expect features-wise. Sufficient to say, it’s like trying to pin a tail on a real donkey, blind-folded; a near-impossible task that doesn’t half hurt when you get it wrong. We’re holding out that there’s truth behind the reports here.