What Is The XBox?
The XBox is an upcoming 'next generation game console' from Microsoft. This console is aimed to compete with existing game consoles such as the Sony Playstation2 and the Sega Dreamcast. The XBox will be powered by a 733MHz Intel Pentium III processor and a 250MHz custom 3D graphics processing unit (GPU) by nVidia that is two generations ahead of what they have on the PC, the other key components and features are 64Mb of RAM, 8Gb hard disk drive, 4x DVD player, HDTV support and broadband compatibility. The XBox will have a lot in common with the current technology being used by PC game developers as the XBox be utilising Microsoft DirectX 8.0 technology. The XBox impressive specifications will make it the most powerful console available when it launches later this year.
The 250Mhz custom-designed chip, developed by Microsoft and nVidia can generate 125 million polygons per second, compare that to the Sony PS2 of 66 and a fill rate that is twice as much as the PS2 and four times as the high end Voodoo cards.
The card will support high resolutions of up to 1920 x 1080, which is greater than most people's TV and monitors can handle, And with support for such things as HDTV, Microsoft is definitely thinking of the future.
The XBox will contain the ability to play DVD movies and if you don't already own a stand-alone DVD player this could be a great incentive to purchase an XBox.
The 733MHz Intel Pentium III processor is not the fastest processor when compared to what is currently available for desktop computers, but the graphics processor takes the work load off the processor.
A 8Gb hard disk drive is included in the XBox, most people believe that it won't likely be used simply for storing games. It could be used for downloading demos of upcoming games. It could also give developers extra hard disk space to smooth out load times, store textures and speed up overall performance of games.
The XBox's built-in Ethernet 10/100 communications port, will allow connection to the internet through an existing broadband connection such as DSL, cable, or another dedicated line. A modem will be available separately for the system as an add-on, but will only be needed if you have a modem based ISP.
Along the front of the console there are four custom-made USB controller ports, rather than two as seen on other game console systems. Microsoft has had their USB ports custom made to better take the physical strain of hardcore gaming rather than using the USB standard found on PCs. On the front centre of the console are two buttons, the smaller controls the power, the larger button is the eject button which opens the DVD tray.
At the rear of the console you can find a standard power supply along with several ports. There is the Ethernet port which is used to connect the gamer to the world through a broadband Internet connectionand can be used to connect two XBoxes together for local gaming network. Also there is the Multi-A/V port which allows connection to monitors, televisions, HDTVs.
The XBox has been designed by Microsoft from the ground up as a gaming console, every XBox will be be exactly the same, so game developers will have a much easier task than developing for the PC since they don't have to worry about making sure their games work on a large variety of system configurations. The games for the XBox will be written specifically to use every bit of power and every feature of the XBox.