GAMING BLEND

Rumor: Xbox 720 System Specs, 2012 Launch Unlikely

By William Usher 2011-11-24 18:00:32 discussion comments
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All next-gen rumors are to be taken with a spoonful of salt. We’ve had a lot of wavering rumors from here and there that sometimes end up sounding more silly than they do authentic. Anyway, another series of reports have surfaced detailing some of the system specifications for Microsoft’s next Xbox as well as reasons why 2012 could be completely out of the question for launch.

According to XboxyGen, the new console will feature a hex-core CPU architecture, only 2GB of system RAM and unspecified dual cross-fire AMD cards. The specs actually sound about right, especially the dual-card layout, where AMD already hinted at the system’s graphics rivaling that of Avatar.

Some industry experts believe the dual-graphics card bit is over-the-top, too costly and would create too much heat. But this is AMD not Nvidia. Most mid-ranged cards running in crossfire run cooler and require less voltage than a high-end Nvidia card. For instance, according to Hexus (and some personal experience) two mid-ranged cards running in Xfire mode are a lot more efficient than one high-end card running standalone, not to mention cheaper.

The hex-core architecture is interesting but unfortunately no details on the clock speeds were released. Regardless, any moderate clocking speed over 3GHz should be sufficient.

The one issue I think most sensible people would have (and especially developers) is with the RAM. 2GB of RAM is poor man’s stats, even for a console. I can’t imagine a developer wanting to do a game on the scale of GTA V with fully destructible environments and only have 2GB of RAM to work with. Again, that’s poor man’s stats. 4 gigabyte of RAM is nominal but 6 is practically future proof. Heck, 512MB was showing its age early in the life cycle of the Xbox 360 because at the time of its release in 2005, 512MB of RAM wasn’t impressive at all even on PC.

What’s more, though, is that apparently these stats have surfaced because Microsoft is rumored to make an announcement at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, this upcoming January in 2012 for a late holiday launch later in the year.

GameIndustry.biz and Michael Pachter both disagree about Microsoft releasing the next Xbox in 2012 as it conflicts with the launch of Halo 4.

However, some industry experts believe that since we haven’t seen any in-game or in-engine footage of Halo 4, just the pre-rendered CG, there’s no guarantee that Halo 4 won’t be a launch title, even though it has already been confirmed that the new trilogy is being designed for the Xbox 360.

Still, the argument stands that it would be fiscally irresponsible and a poor marketing decision to launch a new console just as the old one is starting to turn up the revenue flow with very little loss, and I concur with that assessment.

Pachter believes that we won’t see another Xbox console until 2014. Here at Gaming Blend we ran our own little ‘What if?’ scenario practically saying the same thing. However, looking ahead, there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of noteworthy titles on the table through 2013 to sustain a 2014 release. I mean, a 2014 release basically means that we have 2012 and 2013 of Xbox 360 and PS3 titles to tide us over where developers have admitted that the consoles have already hit their technical ceiling.

Still, we have until the 2012 CES to determine whether the new set of rumors will hold fast or not. If the event comes and goes without a single whisper from Microsoft about a new console then we can just pass these latest rumors off as bogus.

We’ll definitely keep you posted on any developments regarding this news.
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