Microsoft's first video game console, the Xbox, has sold more than 20 million units worldwide since its introduction in 2001. Despite the Xbox's impressive power, the list of big-name video game titles to support it and the success of the Xbox's online component, Xbox LIVE, Sony's PlayStation 2 still outsold it.
As the game industry moved into the next generation of video game technology, Microsoft was determined to dethrone Sony's PlayStation. Enter the Xbox 360.
Microsoft rebuilt the Xbox from the ground up. From the name to the look to hardware and features, the Xbox 360 is a radically different and more powerful machine than its predecessor. Far more than a video game console, the Xbox 360 is a total media center that allows users to play, network, rip, stream and download all types of media, including high-definition movies, music, digital pictures and game content.
In this article, we will learn about the hardware and features that make the Xbox 360 a leap forward into the next generation of gaming consoles.
The Xbox 360, like all video game consoles, is just a computer with hardware and software dedicated to the function of running video game software. The original Xbox was essentially a Windows PC with a modified Pentium III processor, some relatively powerful graphics and audio hardware and a modified version of the Microsoft operating system Windows 2000, all packaged in that distinctive black box. The Xbox 360 is also a specially packaged computer, but once you look inside, you realize that this console has quite a bit under the hood:
- Custom IBM Power PC-based CPU with three 3.2 GHz cores
- Custom ATI graphics processor with 10 MB embedded DRAM
- 512 MB 700 MHz GDDR3 RAM
- Detachable and upgradeable hard drive -- all models except the Core system
- 12x dual-layer DVD-ROM
- Support for up to four wireless game controllers
- Three USB 2.0 ports
- Two memory unit slots
As you can see, Microsoft intends the Xbox 360 to be a serious game machine. The company is also serious about reaching more audiences with the Xbox 360. On the next page, we'll look at variations of the Xbox 360 that are marketed to different kinds of gamers.