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Horse Armour
Member
(07-29-2012, 11:33 AM)
The Curious Case of the Durango Devkit Leak

Remember the guy claiming to sell the Durango devkit a few months ago? Turns out the devkit was real according to digitalfoundry's sources.


Beyond that, further information is sketchy and unreliable. DaE reckons that the current devkits were dispatched to studios in February, and feature Intel CPUs and a graphics card that carries the NVIDIA brand - but he doesn't identify either part more specifically. He also claims that the Durango kit features more than 8GB of memory (other sources have suggested 12GB), and that it is 64-bit in nature - at this point it's worth bearing in mind that dev hardware typically features double the RAM of retail kit in order to accommodate debugging tools and other systems. DaE also says that Microsoft is targeting an eight-core CPU for the final retail hardware - if true, this must surely be based around Atom architecture to fit inside the thermal envelope. The hardware configuration seems difficult to believe as it is so divorced from the technological make-up of the current Xbox 360, and we could find no corroborative sources to establish the Intel/NVIDIA hook-up, let alone the eight-core CPU.

However, another source, speaking in the wake of the Durango developer meet-up that took place in London just before GDC this year, corroborates that the system is 64-bit in nature, adding that current DirectX 11 engines developed on PC can be ported to 64-bit and that they will run with no problem on Microsoft's new console. The platform holder achieved immense success by basing the Xbox 360 workflow closely on existing PC development tools and the DirectX API and it looks as though it aims to continue that recipe for success with its next-gen offering.

In an effort to prove the authenticity of his devkit leak, DaE also leaked a screenshot of Microsoft's Visual Studio coding tool, apparently set-up for Durango. None of the developers we spoke to disputed what they were seeing. "As an aside it's got my favourite MS return code in there: ERROR_SUCCESS," chuckled one source.

The presence on this screen of the "immintrin" element strongly suggests that the Durango coding environment is built around x86 CPU architecture, supporting the AVX (advanced vector extensions) instruction set that was added in last year's Sandy Bridge revision. However, AVX is now supported on some of the most recent AMD processors too.
Of course, this anonymous-looking PC box is not the machine Microsoft will be selling at retail next year - it's alpha kit, assembled from existing parts to best emulate the hardware configuration of the console and actual silicon will be in the closing phases of development as we speak. In a world where games typically take two years or more to develop, these units are lashed together to give game-makers a headstart in the absence of final hardware - Xbox 360 alpha kits were little more than PowerMacs with ATI graphics cards installed, and were still being used to demo code as late as E3 2005, mere months before the retail launch.

It's the mooted choice of hardware partners that is perhaps the most surprising element of this new twist in the Durango story, and the most crucial element that we could not double-source. Microsoft negotiated poor licensing deals with Intel and NVIDIA on the original Xbox that made the console uneconomical to produce in later years - thought to be one of the major reasons that the platform holder shifted to IBM for the 360's Xenon CPU and ATI (subsequently bought by AMD) for the Xenos graphics core. Unarguably, it is this graphics core that gave Microsoft its advantage over the PlayStation 3 in multi-platform games, and a shift back to NVIDIA would not only be surprising, but it would also outright contradict most of the rumours that have emerged about Durango to date.

At the very least, the x86 nature of the leaked Visual Studio shot is intriguing - in combination with the AMD rumours swirling around PlayStation 4, there's the very strong suggestion that the era of custom console hardware is now very much a thing of the past. Licensing revised versions of existing architecture - exactly as Sony did with PlayStation Vita - appears to be the most efficient way of getting the most powerful consoles without breaking the bank in terms of R&D. In a world where many blame consoles for the decline in PC gaming, it would be richly ironic if the next-gen platforms from Microsoft and Sony were based almost exclusively on PC technology...

Last edited by Horse Armour; 07-29-2012 at 11:38 AM.
Lagspike_exe
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(07-29-2012, 11:35 AM)
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NVidia? Wasn't AMD a lock for the GPU?
Tarrasque
Banned
(07-29-2012, 11:35 AM)
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Following the example of the Cell processor, and all the headaches it caused..Makes sense that Sony is returning to a more accessible format, whereas Xbox is just continuing down the same path it started on. Very interesting development indeed.
Drazgul
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(07-29-2012, 11:36 AM)
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ERROR_SUCCESS sounds quite sinister indeed.
-Cade
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(07-29-2012, 11:37 AM)
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8GB still seems like a pipe dream, but I'd love it to be true. If Microsoft goes powerhouse with the 720/XB3, I'll probably snag one.

EDIT: I am way off my game, I was even thinking about the double RAM of devkits as I typed out my post and forgot. Apologies.
Last edited by -Cade; 07-29-2012 at 12:28 PM.
fabricated backlash
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(07-29-2012, 11:37 AM)
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Would be hilarious if the size of that devkit box is indicative of the final form factor of the 720.

First water cooled console?
weird
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(07-29-2012, 11:37 AM)
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Uhh the magic number!

8 gigs of ram!
iamvin22
(07-29-2012, 11:39 AM)
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wait nvidia...what GPU does the x360 have?


edit: also if the devkits have 8 gigs of ram doesnt that mean the retail version has half that?
gabbre
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(07-29-2012, 11:39 AM)
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8GB of memory LOL
2MF
DICE
(07-29-2012, 11:39 AM)
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Judging from the replies, you should have bolded the part that says dev kits typically have twice the RAM.
derFeef
lil' bit tasty
(07-29-2012, 11:39 AM)
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Originally Posted by fabricated backlash

Would be hilarious if the size of that devkit box is indicative of the final form factor of the 720.

First water cooled console?

Guess it's just a PC case with the hardware components in it.
Tomat
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(07-29-2012, 11:39 AM)
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Not sure if this is legit or not, but if so...

Nothing is a surprise any more is it?
Sid
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(07-29-2012, 11:39 AM)
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Originally Posted by fabricated backlash

Would be hilarious if the size of that devkit box is indicative of the final form factor of the 720.

First water cooled console?

That(size,water-cooling) has never happened before and i don't think it'll happen now
schwupp
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(07-29-2012, 11:39 AM)
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old fake picture .. seen that some months ago.
Auto_aim1
MeisaMcCaffrey
(07-29-2012, 11:40 AM)
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Originally Posted by fabricated backlash

Would be hilarious if the size of that devkit box is indicative of the final form factor of the 720.

First water cooled console?

Xbox 360 had a similar prototype dev kit. It means nothing though.
weird
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(07-29-2012, 11:40 AM)
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Originally Posted by 2MF

Judging from the replies, you should have bolded the part that says dev kits typically have twice the RAM.


And the article says that it is way more than 8. So...
Horse Armour
Member
(07-29-2012, 11:40 AM)

Originally Posted by schwupp

old fake picture .. seen that some months ago.

Read the OP, I said it was leaked months ago and rightly like the article says, most assumed it was fake but according to digitalfoundry's sources, it is real.
mrklaw
MrArseFace
(07-29-2012, 11:41 AM)
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Maybe they just have NVIDIA gpus in there to emulate the power levels. Eg sli cards. If they are early kits then developers will be sticking to dx stuff which will port easily to final kits even if they have ATI chips in

And do they mean 8-core or 8 threads?
Zen
Banned
(07-29-2012, 11:41 AM)
8-12 gigs in the devkit mean 4-6 gigs in retail.
derFeef
lil' bit tasty
(07-29-2012, 11:42 AM)
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I can't see them going AMD CPU and nvidia GPU, would be much more reasonable to be both AMD.
Canis lupus
Junior Member
(07-29-2012, 11:42 AM)
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Windows 8
Xbox 8
8 gigabytes of ram

Sounds real.
gabbre
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(07-29-2012, 11:42 AM)
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Originally Posted by 2MF

Judging from the replies, you should have bolded the part that says dev kits typically have twice the RAM.

4/6GB of memory LOL
Eideka
Banned
(07-29-2012, 11:42 AM)

Originally Posted by mrklaw

Maybe they just have NVIDIA gpus in there to emulate the power levels. Eg sli cards. If they are early kits then developers will be sticking to dx stuff which will port easily to final kits even if they have ATI chips in

And do they mean 8-core or 8 threads?

8 cores sounds more realistic, this machine is supposed to come out in 2013-2014 after all. This is the least I expected in that regard.
iceatcs
Junior Member
(07-29-2012, 11:42 AM)
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Originally Posted by Lagspike_exe

NVidia? Wasn't AMD a lock for the GPU?

There is no way MS will go to the same hardware companies as Sony next console. MS want fuck up the multi-platform development.
derFeef
lil' bit tasty
(07-29-2012, 11:43 AM)
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Originally Posted by gabbre

4/6GB of memory LOL

Originally Posted by gabbre

8GB of memory LOL

Any specific thing you want to tell us? Guess not.
TheLegendOfMart
Banned
(07-29-2012, 11:43 AM)
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Originally Posted by fabricated backlash

Would be hilarious if the size of that devkit box is indicative of the final form factor of the 720.

First water cooled console?

Well it wont be...

The early Xbox 360 devkits were G5 Powermacs.
Horse Armour
Member
(07-29-2012, 11:43 AM)
I wonder if the 12GB RAM includes the VRAM on the GPU, it would be plausible that the current PC style devkit features 8GB of system RAM and 4GB of VRAM resulting in 12GB of total RAM.
gabbre
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(07-29-2012, 11:43 AM)
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Originally Posted by derFeef

Any specific thing you want to tell us? Guess not.

2 is the magic number
Sid
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(07-29-2012, 11:43 AM)
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The console could be big if it truly has 4-6 gigs of ram but the if it's as slick as the alienware x51 with an external power brick not many would care

Originally Posted by gabbre

2 is the magic number

You have insider info?from what i heard ram quantity can change before the launch of a console
JonStark
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(07-29-2012, 11:44 AM)
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In B4 "HOW POWERFULL IS IT COMPARED TO WII U" !!
Majanew
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(07-29-2012, 11:45 AM)
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Originally Posted by gabbre

2 is the magic number

No, it isn't. I can guarantee you the next Xbox will have at least 4.
Lagspike_exe
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(07-29-2012, 11:45 AM)
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Originally Posted by mrklaw

Maybe they just have NVIDIA gpus in there to emulate the power levels. Eg sli cards. If they are early kits then developers will be sticking to dx stuff which will port easily to final kits even if they have ATI chips in

And do they mean 8-core or 8 threads?

I can't remember one alpha kit that used a GPU from a different manufacturer than the one in the final consoles. And if NextBox does use a next gen GPU from AMD, they could have gone for a CF configuration to emulate the extra power, although I seriously doubt they're going to use top of the line next gen GPU for a console launching next fall.
EightBitNate
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(07-29-2012, 11:45 AM)
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AMD to nVidia? No BC?
Horse Armour
Member
(07-29-2012, 11:45 AM)

Originally Posted by iceatcs

There is no way MS will go to the same hardware companies as Sony next console. MS want fuck up the multi-platform development.

lol.

Originally Posted by EightBitNate

AMD to nVidia? No BC?

It could still be in there as according to some B3D posters, it should be a lot easier for MS to have BC compared to Sony.
gabbre
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(07-29-2012, 11:46 AM)
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Originally Posted by Majanew

No, it isn't. I can guarantee you the next Xbox will have at least 4.

I really hope, but I don't trust them
SquiddyCracker
Junior Member
(07-29-2012, 11:46 AM)
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4-6GB of ram and supposedly 1/3rd to be reserved for the massive OS?

2.5-4GB to the games, 1.5GB-2GB for the OS.
derFeef
lil' bit tasty
(07-29-2012, 11:46 AM)
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Originally Posted by Sid

The console could be big if it truly has 4-6 gigs of ram but the if it's as slick as the alienware x51 with an external power brick not many would care

ram dos not make the console big, coolers, drives and connectors are.
Triple U
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(07-29-2012, 11:47 AM)
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my my
Herb
Banned
(07-29-2012, 11:47 AM)
8-core? Is that 4core-hyperthreaded or like a Xeon?
Eideka
Banned
(07-29-2012, 11:47 AM)

Originally Posted by Lagspike_exe

I seriously doubt they're going to use top of the line next gen GPU for a console launching next fall.

I hope they do.
cyberheater
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(07-29-2012, 11:47 AM)
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This thing is going to piss all over the WiiU.

At least we know it's real know. I wonder how the PS4 devkit will compare.
Canis lupus
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(07-29-2012, 11:48 AM)
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Originally Posted by gabbre

2 is the magic number

I dont see 2GB for these consoles that should last till 2020. I'm even thinking vram will be 2GB.
Horse Armour
Member
(07-29-2012, 11:48 AM)

Originally Posted by Herb

8-core? Is that 4core-hyperthreaded or like a Xeon?

I'm guessing they mean 8 actual cores as digitalfoundry should know the difference between hyperthreaded and real cores and are unlikely to make that mistake.
astroturfing
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(07-29-2012, 11:48 AM)
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why does a devkit have twice the RAM than retail? i dont understand.

but anyway 4gb might be enough for next-gen consoles, i mean that is still quite a hell of a lot more than the 512mb the developers have been struggling with for so many years. i was afraid MS and Sony might only go for 2gb RAM... so 4-6gb is a relief to me, if this turns out to be true.
Sid
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(07-29-2012, 11:49 AM)
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Originally Posted by derFeef

ram dos not make the console big, coolers, drives and connectors are.

Won't large amounts of ram make the motherboard much larger and complex since the ram in consoles isn't like in pc and is actually embedded on the motherboard?
Man
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(07-29-2012, 11:49 AM)
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nVidia is a big surprise.
iceatcs
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(07-29-2012, 11:49 AM)
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Originally Posted by Horse Armour

lol.

Aye but I hope not you are thinking MS is kind to the gaming world. MS don't want their games to be easy to port on other non-MS systems.
Triple U
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(07-29-2012, 11:49 AM)
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Originally Posted by Herb

8-core? Is that 4core-hyperthreaded or like a Xeon?

I don't see them hyperthreading in a console but Intel is an odd choice so who knows?

Edit: Know that I re-read your question threading is different than an actual core. 8 cores is 8 cores. They probably run 1 thread each.
Last edited by Triple U; 07-29-2012 at 11:52 AM.
derFeef
lil' bit tasty
(07-29-2012, 11:49 AM)
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Originally Posted by SquiddyBiscuit

4-6GB of ram and supposedly 1/3rd to be reserved for the massive OS?

2.5-4GB to the games, 1.5GB-2GB for the OS.

Yeah that's not working like that, and seeing this is going down the win8 route, it might have one fast and small OS too.

Originally Posted by iceatcs

Aye but I hope not you are thinking MS is kind to the gaming world. MS don't want their games to be easy to port on other non-MS systems.

That makes no sense.
Tchetil
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(07-29-2012, 11:49 AM)
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I am so fucking hyped for new consoles.

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