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by Mike Zazaian October 23, 2006 - 7:15pm, 4 Comments

After moving from Intel Pentium III chips in the original Xbox to IBM PowerPC 5 chips in the Xbox360, Microsoft is now looking to control their own silicon as prepare to design the processors for the next generation of Xbox consoles.

Dubbed The Computer Architecture Group, Microsoft’s efforts to slice their own silicon will be divided between their main offices in Redmond, Washington and Mountain View, California. Chips designed within the project will likely be used not only in the next-gen version of Microsoft’s Xbox, but in other multimedia PC applications as well.

Researchers involved in the Computer Architecture group will be able to test and improve processors much more easily than in the past. Thanks to technologies designed by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, engineers working on Microsoft’s new chips will be able to re-design and test hardware multiple times without the enormous costs of producing finished chips.

With the move Microsoft seeks not only lower costs for future hardware solutions, but also greater overall system performance. As the company will design both the software and hardware for upcoming versions of the Xbox, Microsoft will be able to tailor every aspect of a given system for an optimal price to performance ratio. Said David A. Patterson, a computer scientist at the University of California, Berkeley:

This a historic time in the computer industry. We’re in the middle of a revolutionary change toward parallel computing that will absolutely involve both hardware and software.

By producing their processors in-house Microsoft will sit squarely at the front of that revolution.

Read cnet, via the New York Times