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Rumor: Xbox One CPU moving to 20nm?

Ben Kuyt / October 31, 2014 at 9:01 PM / Technology

So apparently, AMD has designed a 20nm chip for the Xbox One. Discovered by Mosen from Beyond3D’s forums, the post quotes the LinkedIn page for the Senior Design Manager of SOC (system on chip) for AMD, which states he “”Successfully planned and executed the first APU for Microsoft’s XBOX One Game Console in 28nm technology and a cost-reduced derivative in 20nm technology.” Could the Xbox One CPU be getting a factory upgrade?

But what does this mean for the consumer? Well, the smaller the transistors, the cheaper, more powerful, and cooler it gets. Currently, the Xbox One and PS4 use a 28nm AMD APU, which holds the CPU and APU cores on one chip. Moving from a 28nm to a 20nm chip would allow production costs to go down, because the amount of wafers (pieces) you can get from a single ingot of silicon is increased by roughly 70%. That means that Microsoft, AMD, Sony, Intel, or whomever needs the silicon dye can lower the amount of cost for themselves and the consumer. It also makes it so that any broken chips on the production line won’t cost as much to replace, which is always a good thing.

xbox_one_internals-590x330 Xbox One Teardown

Why is this a good thing? Well, for one, it means the price of gaming consoles would be cheaper. It also means the potential to be smaller, so if this rumor is in fact true, we could see a slim version of the Xbox One in the future. It also means that the chip and console will be cooler, further reducing the potential for broken consoles which takes more money from Microsoft’s finances. There is also a potential increase in power from moving to a smaller chip, but that is doubtful since the console will most likely not gain power in a slimmed down version.

Furthermore, it means that AMD may finally be catching up to Intel’s 22nm transistor size on the desktop computer front, but it’s more than likely both will jump to 14nm in the next few years.

This is a very good thing for consumers of both the PS4 and Xbox One, and even PC. It shows an evolution in AMD’s chips which hasn’t really been seen in about 3-4 years with the FX line, and will keep competition between the Xbox One and PS4 close. It also will lower your electricity bill and be even quieter.

Would you buy an Xbox One if they offered a slimmed down version? If the rumor is true, we could be in for a very interesting console generation indeed.


Ben Kuyt

Gamer, Computer geek, Musician, Writer. Favourite series are Star Fox, Halo, Battlefield, and Forza. My last name is pronounced kite. Or kout, for the European Football fans.