This morning, we came by a massive leak uncovering Microsoft’s plans for the Xbox’s future. The leak detailed two mid-gen refreshes ‘Brooklin’ and ‘Ellewood‘, a new controller and the next generation of Xbox.
The 9th Generation consoles are mid-way through their lifespan. The next architecture or release is expected in a few years. Moreover, the leak mentions something important regarding the next major Xbox release. Apparently, Microsoft is considering ARM as an option over the industry standard, x86.
Microsoft Making the Switch to ARM?
The Xbox Series X makes use of AMD’s RDNA2 architecture for the GPU and the Zen2 architecture for the CPU. While that may seem old, do remember that these consoles launched back in 2020, the good-old GPU shortage days.
Microsoft is internally mulling over different choices for its CPU and GPU designs. Apparently, the CPU architecture mentions ARM64 vs x64 (Zen6). This is a huge revelation as Microsoft is actually considering ARM as an option, despite x86 being the norm.
Zen6 on the other hand isn’t expected to arrive anytime soon. We are still yet to witness Zen5 in action next year so things will take a while. The CPU design mentions the inclusion of little and big cores, both of which are offered by ARM and x64 (AMD, in this case).
Microsoft will either develop a collaborative GPU based on Navi5 (RDNA5) or use a chip directly from AMD. Nonetheless, in the realm of x64, Microsoft looks no further than AMD for both its CPU and GPU horsepower. Although, the CPU side of things may be shifted over to ARM.
The Impact of Switching Over to ARM
The question still persists. Will Microsoft make the jump to ARM? And what are the possible implications of such a decision.
First off, this will disrupt the entire industry because optimizing games for different ISAs is no piece of cake. Microsoft, being a key-player will certainly have to bear the burden of depending on developers to optimize games for ARM. Moreover, this will lead game devs to a crossroads, where they can either develop for ARM or x86, or both if it suits their budget.
The negative impact(s) aside, ARM is known for being more efficient than x86 due to fewer instructions. Microsoft could adopt an Apple-like approach where they can flex their muscles in the efficiency department against fellow x86-64 competitors.
What are your thoughts on this change? Should Microsoft pull the trigger, or should they stick to their roots.
Source: US Courts