Post by Dan @ 02:31pm 12/07/12 | 17 Comments
A report over on Eurogamer, by the very technically-proficient journo Richard Leadbetter, shares some in-depth analysis of a patent application submitted by Microsoft back in 2010 -- and published last month -- that reportedly suggests that the Xbox platform holder has at least been considering some manner of scalable hardware in a future device.
The patent application appears to be largely about quality of service (QoS) processes for managing the simultaneous operating of application processes in a multi-tasking capacity -- which Eurogamer remarks has similarities with features outlined in the Xbox 720 leak documents that surfaced a couple of months ago and have been confirmed as genuine (albeit likely outdated) Microsoft documents.
More interestingly however is the reportedly proposed way in which these simultaneously running applications can be afforded more system resources -- with some manner of scalable hardware.
Eurogamer describes the concept as Microsoft proposing a "base architecture" for a new console system, where similar to how PCs are built around core components such as motherboards, CPU, RAM and expansion cards, so to might a console diverge from the traditional "fixed hardware" model.
The principle idea behind the patent is in providing a framework for integrating "platform" and "application" processing into a single system where both systems can run concurrently, but the overriding concept is the scalable architecture that allows for more advanced hardware revisions (with improved CPUs or GPUs for example) to be rolled out over time. One diagram even adds a third CPU/GPU set-up - shared processors that can lend a hand to the other two, for reasons unknown.The analysis concludes with the reminder that such patents are often for legal purposes only, and that what we have heard about the so-called Project Durango so far points to a more traditional fixed hardware system, but it still some tasty food for thought?
What if the next Xbox console contained hardware that could be augmented or swapped out over time with new revisions? It flies in the face of the traditional console model, but as Eurogamer points out, the notion of software disparity between newer models on a shorter lifecycle has worked out ok so far for the Apple iPad.