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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 October 2005, 13:17 GMT 14:17 UK
IBM opens up on Xbox 360 innards
Screenshot from Ghost Recon 3, Ubisoft
Games such as Ghost Recon 3 will be on the XBox 360
IBM has lifted the veil on the chips inside Microsoft's Xbox 360 console.

Under the hood of the game gadget will be three processing cores, each one running at clock speeds of more than three gigahertz.

So much processing power is needed because it is intended that many of the games for the console will use high-definition graphics.

The Xbox 360 will go on sale in the US on 22 November. Launches in Europe and Japan will follow in December.

Number crunching

The Xbox chips are based on IBM's 64-bit PowerPC processors but have been modified for game playing during the two years IBM has been working on the project. Three PowerPC cores made up of 165 million transistors form the processing engine of the device.

High speed links have also been put in place between the main processing engine and the graphics chip on the console.

To meet demand the chips will be manufactured at IBM's plant in East Fishkill, New York, and at a plant run by Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing in Singapore.

Image of the Xbox 360
The 360 is the first of the next-generation consoles released
When it goes on sale the basic Xbox 360 console is expected to cost $299 (209). The high-end version should cost $399 (279).

The chips in the first Xbox were made by Intel and were a 733MHz variant of the Pentium III processor.

In 2003, Microsoft decided to drop Intel as it began work on what has become the Xbox 360 console.

When released the 360 will be the first of the new generation of consoles due to appear from gaming giants such as Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo.

IBM unveiled the chips at the Fall Processor Forum currently underway in San Jose and which runs from 24 to 27 October.

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