Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Microsoft Xbox 360 console

November 23, 2005 – Ottawa, ON, Canada - Chipworks Inc., (Chipworks) the industry leader in reverse engineering and analysis of semiconductor chips and systems, today announced that they have analysed the key chips of the new Microsoft Xbox 360 console and that detailed technical reports are ready for purchase immediately.
“Microsoft has developed creative relationships with some of the leading-edge chip suppliers in order to meet the performance needs of the Xbox,” said Gary Tomkins, manager of Technical Intelligence at Chipworks. “We wanted to see how advanced the process technology is that is being used, considering the pressure to keep the component costs down.”
The extensive use of state-of-the-art technology in the Xbox illustrates the trend that the consumer market is driving technology these days,” continues Tomkins.
senior technology analyst, also commented: “Earlier press announcements revealed that the Xbox’s custom microprocessor was being fabbed by IBM, and the graphics processor was designed by ATI, both using 90-nm processes. Later, NEC announced that they were supplying the embedded DRAM to work with the ATI chip, and Infineon has also declared they will have parts in the console. ATI has used TSMC as a high performance foundry at the 130- and 110-nm process nodes

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Xbox 360 dashboard

The Xbox 360 dashboard is actually a pretty darn slick little setup. There are different blades for Xbox Live, system setup, music-videos-photos, and more. It is very easy to navigate and gives you a lot of information and a ton of options to make your Xbox 360 experience however you want it. You can change the look of the dashboard by selecting a different theme and I am happy to report that the system comes with several themes already loaded that feature a number of different games and publishers. I’m quite fond of the Halo theme myself. A nice touch is that you can play music while you browse the dashboard. Not a big deal, but it is something that I appreciate. Even better is that the Xbox 360 recognizes CD-R’s so you can rip all of your copied music onto your Xbox 360. My custom soundtracks are going to be much improved from my original Xbox selection.
Another interesting feature is that you can adjust settings on the dashboard that will affect the games you play. You can set what difficulty level you like to play at or things like whether you want an automatic or a manual transmission in a racing game. These settings will apply to all games to order to give you a more consistent and streamlined experience as you move from game to game. Settings can be adjusted in the games individually, of course, but these global settings are definitely going to come in handy.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Xbox 360 review

The Xbox 360 is scheduled to be available for purchase in North America on November 22 (the Tuesday before Thanksgiving). International launches will follow soon after: December 2 in Europe and December 10 in Japan. Look for two versions of the 360 to hit store shelves: a $299 edition (dubbed the Core System) that comes with one wired controller, a detachable faceplate, and standard A/V cables; and a souped-up $399 version that ships with a 20GB hard drive, a wireless controller, a wireless headset, a limited-edition wireless Media Center remote (for the initial batch, at least), and HD-capable component A/V cables. Both SKUs will include a basic Xbox Live Silver membership.
Hardware: In addition to an IBM PowerPC-based CPU running at 3.2GHz and 0.5GB of RAM, the 360 sports a customized ATI graphics processor capable of advanced antialiasing and shader effects. What that technical jargon means, in practice, is that the new Xbox will have the processing power to deliver true 720p and 1080i wide-screen HDTV images for all of its games (by contrast, most games for the original Xbox maxed out at a DVD-level 480p). Multichannel surround sound is also standard, and the 360 natively supports up to four wireless controllers to cut down on cable clutter.
DVD vs. Blu-ray: The Xbox 360's optical drive is a standard DVD model. While using tried-and-true DVD technology may keep costs down, it also limits the games to just 8.5GB of space--that's pretty tight for high-def cut-scenes. By contrast, the PlayStation 3 will use a next-generation Blu-ray drive, which means more space for games (at least 25GB per disc) and compatibility with one of the competing high-def movie formats vying to replace DVD. Rumors persist that the 360 will get an HD-DVD drive at some point, but with Microsoft on an aggressive four-year console upgrade schedule, we're likely to see the third iteration of the Xbox (November 2009?) before we see a "360.1" with HD-DVD.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Halo 2 Pelican

Assualt on the Control Room, at the beginning, youll b able to see a door and grunts running in it. BEFORE YOU GET OUT, keep hitting "X" b/c u'll c it says "Press X to enter side-seat of Pelican" at the top. After it says that and you've hit it once, you can only hit it another 2 times max b/c u'll end up getting out. It doesnt really go too well b/c u'll eventually fall out after u start seeing green fog. it lasts for 45 sec though. Also possible in Silent Cartographer and 343 Guilty Spark. In Cart, play co-op, have one man stay in the pelican and the other clear the beach. Get the Warthog and have both people leave the pelican. When they start to take off, quickly drive up and jump in. Keep walking forward and you can stay in for long enough that the open water below will break your fall and you can get WAY further from the island than the Warthog will ever take you!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Halo2 Review

Most of the weapons from the first game return, although strangely the MA5B Assault Rifle (the default weapon in the first game) is not available. There is a single melee weapon known as the Covenant Sword, but the controls for it are the same as that for all the shooter weapons, making it difficult to direct. Also, for a new twist, you can hold two of the smaller guns at the same time and shoot double-fisted.
As for vehicles, the old favorites are back and joined by a few new, mostly Covenant wheeled monsters. Some improvements have been made to the AI so that the nonplayer characters can drive without running into too many obstacles while you man the turret. This improved AI also has enemies ducking for cover, and the banter from both the Marines and the bad guys has undergone massive improvements so that it no longer sounds quite so repetitive.