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The future of console hardware design

Kyle Orland

The next generation has just barely become the new generation, but the folks at Semiconductor Insights are already thinking about what might be under the hood of the next generation of consoles. In an article at TechOnline, SI manager Allan Yogasingam discusses how the focus of system design has tilted from simple cosmetics for the Atari 2600 to "cost, heat [management], cooling and [efficiency] test." in the 30 years since.

That cost bit might be the most important -- SI manager Greg Quirk predicts Sony and Microsoft will soon introduce 65 nanometer processors to reduce the costs associated with their current, 90-nanometer-chip systems. Yogasingam also predicts that the drive for cost reduction might lead console makers to look towards "second- and third-tier chip and software vendors " for the next generation. Someone better warn IBM that their gravy train might be in jeopardy.

What else is likely to be in the next generation of hardware? The SI team thinks 802.11n wireless, tilt-sensitive MEMS controller sensors and other entertainment features are likely to stay hot, but that's not exactly rocket science. Where are the bold predictions for things like laser cannon attachments and Holodeck-style projectors.

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