Jasper Dissection

Taking apart a Jasper is no different than taking apart any other Xbox 360 console, despite the internal changes our original guide still rings true. Remove the HDD, pop off the front faceplate, then the sides, separate the top and bottom of the clamshell, unscrew the motherboard and you're off. Doing so obviously voids your warranty, but given that it's possible to identify your console as a Jasper without ever opening it, you shouldn't have to do any of this.


Say Hello to Jasper

Obviously I did, because I wanted to look at the new die-shrunk chips and also to measure die sizes. While I used a ruler to measure the Xenon and Falcon die sizes last year, I wanted to be a bit more accurate this year (after much pleading by Mike Andrawes, our resident Jasper expert) so I used a set of vernier calipers (which is why some of my die measurements are a bit off from the ones I did last year if you're comparing).

The table below shows the die sizes for all of the Xbox 360 generations:

Xbox 360 Revision CPU GPU eDRAM
Xenon/Zephyr 176mm2 182mm2 80mm2
Falcon/Opus 135mm2 156mm2 64mm2
Jasper 135mm2 121mm2 64mm2

 

The new GPU is around 77% of the die area of the old GPU, but the eDRAM appears to be unchanged at 80nm (chalk up the difference of 4mm to differences in measuring the die with a ruler vs. calipers). Compared to the Xenon platform, the GPU is now 66% of the original GPU die size, meaning the GPU actually shrunk more than the CPU in the move to 65nm.

Here's a picture that should put things in perspective though, the chip below is a NVIDIA GeForce 9400M, it's the same IGP that's found in the new MacBooks. It's a 65nm IGP that's got a GPU and North Bridge in it, much like the Xenos GPU in the Xbox 360. Now this is an important comparison because the 9400M is hardly a high end GPU by today's standards yet look at how it dwarfs the Xenos GPU.


Xbox 360 Xenos GPU (left) vs. NVIDIA GeForce 9400M (right)

Remember that when it was released, the Xbox 360's GPU had raw GPU horsepower somewhere in between an X800 XT and an X1800 series (closer to the latter, although the 10MB eDRAM definitely helped the GPU perform better than its architectural specs alone would allow); today's high end GPUs are around 4x the speed of that.

Microsoft doesn't want to replace the Xbox 360 with a new console until 2011 or 2012, meaning high end PCs will probably have more than six times the graphics horsepower of what's in the Xbox 360. It's possible that once this performance gap gets wide enough we'll see more developers take advantage of the raw horsepower available on PCs, which has traditionally been the case whenever a console got far into its lifespan.

I'm actually a bit surprised that we haven't seen more focus on delivering incredible visuals on PC games given the existing performance gap, but the Xbox 360 as a platform is attractive enough to keep developers primarily focused there.

Added Bonus: 256MB of NAND Flash Standard on Jasper Arcades

An unexpected bonus is that all Jasper based Xbox 360 Arcade systems come with 256MB of NAND Flash on board:

All Xbox 360 Arcade bundles will now come with 256MB of Flash, if you get a non-Jasper you simply get the Flash in the form of a Xbox 360 Memory Unit. The on-board flash is another mild advantage for Jasper systems, if you don't do any downloading then it's sufficient for save game storage. While I would've preferred more flash on-board, for a business losing money it makes sense to try and cut costs wherever possible.

Confirming Your Jasper Power Consumption and Final Words
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  • Dinsdale1 - Thursday, December 11, 2008 - link

    When sending a Elite on to repair for RROD, do they put in a Japer board? I mean why put in an old board that will cause a new RROD in a year? Anybody? Reply
  • Frallan - Thursday, December 11, 2008 - link


    Is it as loud as it was before? That is what has kept me from buying 1 so far.

    /F
    Reply
  • Roy2001 - Wednesday, December 10, 2008 - link

    Anand, could you put some noise benchmarks? I have 2 original xbox's and they are very noisy. I am thinking to get a 360, but I really hate the noise...

    Thanks,
    Roy
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Thursday, December 11, 2008 - link

    Unfortunately the loudest thing in the 360 is still the DVD drive, I didn't notice a audible difference between the Falcon and the Jasper.

    -A
    Reply
  • gohepcat - Wednesday, December 10, 2008 - link

    Ohh god yes. Please give some noise comparisons Reply
  • SuckRaven - Wednesday, December 10, 2008 - link

    "First let's get the codenames right. The first Xbox 360 was released in 2005 and used a motherboard codenamed Xenon. The Xenon platform featured a 90nm Xenon CPU (clever naming there), a 90nm Xenos GPU and a 90nm eDRAM. Microsoft added HDMI support to Xenon and called it Zephyr, the big three chips were still all 90nm designs."

    Just thought I'd make the observation that Intel's server and workstation CPUs are called Xeon, not Xenon.

    Xenon is the noble gas used in car headlights.

    Anyways...
    Reply
  • James5mith - Thursday, December 11, 2008 - link

    "Just thought I'd make the observation that Intel's server and workstation CPUs are called Xeon, not Xenon.

    Xenon is the noble gas used in car headlights.

    Anyways... "

    You do know that the tri-core CPU within the Xbox360 isn't made by Intel, right?

    It's a PowerPC chip, codenamed Xenon. Thus his comment about Xenon being a clever naming scheme for the entire original platform. (Just name it after the CPU's codename.)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xbox_360">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xbox_360
    Reply
  • js01 - Wednesday, December 10, 2008 - link

    It's kind of pathetic the amount of money some of us spend on our pc just to play console ports that run worse then 4 year old hardware. Reply
  • bill3 - Thursday, December 11, 2008 - link

    See my post on page 1.

    It isnt an X800, thats an inaccuracy by Anand. It's more of a X1800/1900 class card, just as PS3 uses a 500 mhz 7800/7900GTX.

    I think your point is pretty valid though. PC's today just mostly get console ports that dont take advantage of the superior PC hardware. The only game in the last few years built to take advatage of PC really is Crysis.
    Reply
  • coldpower27 - Thursday, December 11, 2008 - link

    I would say Fallout 3 was one of them that got a good PC version. Reply

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