Xbox 360 S Hardware Dissection

PC Perspective has a nice, well photographed, dissection of the new Xbox 360 hardware for those who like those kind of things.  Turns out that the change in architecture is more significant then I thought particularly since the CPU and GPU are located beneath the same hood.  The relevant information is on page 3 of the article and it some fascinating stuff that hardware geeks will dig.  PC Perspective sums it up nicely:

Either way, the change from a technological perspective is important and noteworthy as it is the first instance of a “high performance” graphics core being paired with a “high performance” CPU core in a product that will see millions of sales.  Yes we have the Intel Core i5 processors but I wouldn’t put the Intel HD Graphics core on par with the Xenos-based design here.  And while AMD’s Fusion parts will fall into this same realm we are still months from seeing production parts.

I don’t know if this means anything to average console gamer or not but for those of us still somewhat entrenched in the PC Gaming side of things it is a fairly significant achievement.  If I’m reading this right and AMD’s Fusion does manage to take off it is entirely possible that gaming on an integrated graphic processor might actually be feasible.  Of course the upgrade path for such a system is still problematic (i.e. the same problem that consoles have) but still a fascinating development if applied to the HTPC market.

A different singularity

Ferrante and I have a lot of shared interests.  Video games, music, music games, and scifi/fantasy to name a few.  But we’re individuals and of course we have our differences.  He’s got comics; I’ve got sports.  He sports a full beard, while my facial hair is more akin to that of a middle schooler.  And he’s got computers, while I’ve got science.  I’m not saying I’m not computer literate.  I am.  But I can’t (also won’t) make my own computer.  Full control over the GHZ or whatnot is outside the realm of things I need from the machine I’m currently typing on.  Hell, the Dell laptop I’m using has a broken graphics card fan that makes a high pitched whining noise sometimes.  Most computer nerds would probably have a seizure over that.  Anyway, I fill the void left by lack of computer skills with science.

Fortunately, science and computer technology are not too terribly far apart (hence the name computer science?).  And they’re getting closer all the time.  So sometimes we have a meshing of our individual fields, like when scientists start using bacteria for problem solving. The method is pretty cool.  They inserted a plasmid carrying mixed up pieces of an antibiotic resistance gene into E. Coli.  They then inserted a Salmonella enzyme to randomly flip genetic material, waited for a bit, and exposed the E. Coli to antibiotics.  Any bacteria that survived would have had to form the entire resistance gene, thus “solving” the problem.  I’d be interested to know where they go next with this kind of technology.  Clearly the DNA computing system they’ve created can solve certain problems much faster than a normal PC.  But the obvious problem is priming the system so that it actually solves the problem.  You have to put in the plasmid/enzyme/etc that’s akin to the code for a computer program.  The more complex problems you want to solve with bacteria the more “stuff” you have to prime the system with and, as every scientists knows, there are always consequences of putting foreign materials into living things.

On the other hand, I’m looking forward to a day when I try to calculate something in Excel and my computer transfects bacteria to do it.