The blogger who famously broke the news that Bungie was parting ways from Microsoft has tipped us off to yet another internal MS situation. 8Bit Joystick is reporting that Microsoft is working on two new motherboards for the Xbox 360 to combat the persistent, but apparently dwindling, failure rates of our favorite console. Fifth and sixth generation Xbox 360's are being developed in Redmond codenamed Opus and Valhalla, respectively.
In October 2007, Joystiq reported that the third generation Xbox 360, codename Jasper, was being developed for an August 2008 launch to replace the current Falcon models. The Opus is described as the "zombie Xbox 360 killer," a mishmash of working parts from current red-ringed first generation Xbox 360's (codenamed Xenon) that includes a 90nm GPU and a 65nm CPU fitted onto a Falcon motherboard squeezed into the original Xenon case, which means this console would lack the new HDMI port. This replace-repair scenario was designed to rid Microsoft of the "millions of dead Xenon's" they currently have in stock according to the post by Jake Metcalf at 8Bit Joystick. Due to its refurbished nature, the Opus will never be available at retail and will only be used as replacement units for replacement during RRoD situations.
The Valhalla motherboard is a different situation entirely and is in very early stages of development. The sixth generation Xbox 360, which will reportedly be the last reconfiguration of the console, includes a combined 65nm CPU and 65nm GPU on a unified super chip. This version will apparently only require one cooling system and be much quieter and thus more reliable than previous Xbox 360 systems. Hopefully.
With this rumor in the wild we wonder how it fits in with the current claim from Microsoft that they are experiencing a hardware shortage due to misjudging demand.
With the list of Xenon, Zephyr, Falcon, Jasper, Opus and Valhalla motherboards we only have one question for Microsoft. Who the hell names these systems and how much do they get paid? While it might be easier just to number the various generations of hardware, we figure Microsoft has a strange love for naming things so they all sound like maps in Halo 3.
Note: While Jake doesn't actually count the Opus when listing the generations, we have, for the sake of argument.