Engadget interviewed Bill Gates at CES on a myriad of topics including the Xbox360, his competition and HD DVD. Here is one excerpt from the interview:
Engadget: There were some shortages this holiday season (concerning Xbox 360 supply).
Bill Gates: The demand was phenomenal, and we did add Celestica as a third manufacturing partner. We think by the time we get to the 4.5 to 5.5 million unit level that the backlog won't be all that substantial. So obviously it's a good news situation, but we want to meet all the demand.
Now, this is some scary stuff. Every 13 seconds an Xbox 360 is sold on Ebay. Nice.
Read this article from TeamXbox about some more great stats such as (from the article):
In fact, over 586,035 bids were placed on 39,562 systems. The success rate for Xbox 360 systems listed on eBay.com was 78.2%. The average selling price for units sold was $718 per unit.
It is interesting to note that the majority of listings took place primarily between 8AM-12PM PST and in the evening between 2PM-7PM PST. 92% of the listings were auctions and approximately 65% of those transactions were 1-day duration listings. eBay.com Picture Services and Bold features were the most used selling tactics by eBay sellers.
IBM has released information concerning the design of the Xbox 360 CPU. From their white paper:
The Xbox 360 system has a single chip (with 165 million transistors) for its CPU. This chip is in fact a three-way symmetric multiprocessor design. The three PowerPC cores are identical, except that they are physically reflected through the X and Y axis. Each of the CPU cores is a specialized PowerPC chip with a VMX128 extension related to (and partially compatible with) the VMX instructions in the G4 and G5 CPUs. The three CPU cores share a 1MB Level2 cache. Each processor has 32KB each of data and instruction Level1 cache. The chip's front-side bus/physical interface has a 21.6GB/second bandwidth, and runs at 5.4GHz. The high frequency clocks are generated on-chip by four phase-locked loops: two for the core clocks, two for the PHY clock.
Games First has a review of the Xbox 360 as a cost effective media hub. From the article:
The Xbox 360 is also limited in its capabilities when connecting to a PC using Windows Media Connect. Other media hubs that work with Windows Media Connect allow you to view video streamed from your computer's hard drive on the television. The Xbox 360 does not let you stream video from a computer on your home network unless the computer is using Windows Media Center Edition 2005.
So if you do not have a computer running Windows Media Center Edition 2005 on your home network, then you will get better service from another media hub (such as the D-Link or Philips models). But if you're fortunate enough to live in a household with a Windows Media Center Edition 2005 PC, then the Xbox 360 becomes a very attractive option.
News Factor has a great article (and a necessary one at that), telling bidders on the Xbox 360 to really be careful when bidding on Ebay items. Many scam artists have tried to profit from the short supply of Xbox 360s by putting up misleading advertisements and buyers are losing money on fake items. I witnessed an auction for a Xbox 360 poster go for over a thousand dollars because the owner thought they were getting what was in the picture.
As the saying goes, buyer beware.
Joystiq has a step-by-step of what NOT to do with your new Xbox 360 so you can prevent disc scratching. Many customers are complaining of playing a game, taking out the discs and finding them "eaten" by the console unit. Joystiq qill help you diagnose what not to do and go from there.
Personally, I get frustrated by the fact that companies are responsible to make everything completely idiot proof. I would think that most people know that when a delicate, high-end piece of electronics is operating that you shouldn't move it or jerk it around.
Gamespot published a short recap on the Xbox 360's performance in Europe. In one word, you could call the launch - historical. The Xbox 360 is the fastest selling console ever in Europe.
Although Microsoft has 3 more (of the 5 total) worldwide launches left to do, Microsoft claims to be shipping a second batch of 360s to stores before Christmas producing a total of 3 million consoles worldwide. With their 3% defective rate coming from the warehouse and figuring in half of those consoles are being shipped
CNET has posted a great article about the Xbox 360 and its power usage. From the article:
We tested the 'box using Extech's MA200 power meter, which gives real-time power consumption results. It turns out that the Xbox 360 draws about 160 watts of power, over twice as much as the original Xbox, which draws 74 watts, and the PlayStation 2, which draws about 50. In fact, the great white beast chomps down more electricity than almost every piece of living room electronics we tested, including the JVC RX-D702 A/V receiver, the Denon DVD-3910 DVD player, and a DirecTV HD TiVo. The only pieces of A/V gear that draw more power than the 360 are big-screen high-definition TVs.
Ars Technica has posted their review of the Xbox 360 and I do have to say it is the most complete and well-written review out there. They not only examine the system itself, but also gives a bried rundown of many of the launch games from the perspective of an experienced gamer - not just someone who picked up an Xbox 360 on Ebay. Definitely worth the read before you go drop the 5 bills you need to buy one.
The Free 60 Project has a Wiki setup that explains the progress of their project as well as offering insights to the inner workings of the Xbox 360. Of note, their documentation offers some insights as to the design of the Xbox 360. Specifically, Free60.org has the following features listed:
- The flash is encrypted with a per-box key
- The key is stored inside the CPU
- The boot ROM is stored inside the CPU
- Also inside the CPU is a hypervisor that verifies the running state of the kernel, making sure there is no modification (RAM checksums), else the Xbox360 panics and blows up!