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The switch from Intel/NVIDIA to IBM/ATI

The "Dean" (har har) of Xbox education, Dean Takahashi, wrote a typically thorough and thoughtful piece for this month's Electronic Business magazine. What? You're not a subscriber? Tsk tsk. Lucky for you, the good folks at EBM have put the article online.

Takahashi profiles Nick Baker, one of the 360 system architects who decided to switch chip camps, going from Intel to rival IBM and switching from NVIDIA to (bitter) rival ATI. Takahashi covers the fascinating project of building a next-gen game console in -- what we assume is -- just a taste of his upcoming book on the 360.

One of the most interesting parts in the piece is Takahashi's details surrounding the shortage of the GDDR3 RAM. He writes, "Both Samsung and Infineon Technologies had committed to making the GDDR3 memory for Microsoft. But some of Infineon's chips fell short of the 700 megahertz specified by Microsoft. Using such chips could have slowed games down noticeably. Microsoft's engineers consulted and decided to start sorting the chips, not using the subpar ones. Because GDDR3 700-MHz chips were just ramping up, there was no way to get more chips. Each system used eight chips. The shortage constrained the supply of Xbox 360s."

Microsoft has argued that it was a generalized component shortage, but we've known better.

[Thanks, Joe]

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