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  • Xbox 360 Slim?

    Posted on March 17th, 2010 Shawn No comments


    Well lookey here! There may be a hardware refresh in the works over at Microsoft for our beloved Xbox 360.  Reported at VGChartz [SOURCE], M$ has an open job req for a hardware engineer.  The requirements focus on electrical engineering, and specifically focus on the Xbox 360 motherboard, memory, CPU, etc.  I won’t go into the nitty-gritty, but will speculate that a possible new look for the Xbox 360 is in the works.

    Let’s think about this for a minute.  The Xbox 360 hardware design was released in 2005.  That’s insane that 5 years later, the same form factor exists, let alone no predecessor in sight.  That’s a real testament to the product and that the Xbox 360 truly was built to last (not necessarily a single unit…ahem RROD and E74, but the console life-cycle holistically).

    Though, I have said since I picked up my first Xbox 360 in May 2008, “This thing is heavy, loud, clunky, and looks like a giant brick”.  I attribute the Xbox 360 to someone carrying around a Palm Treo 600 (smartphone), versus an iPhone or NexusOne. The Treo now looks and feels like a giant brick, much like the Xbox 360. If you have any other consoles in your house, including last generation systems, sit them next to your Xbox 360.  The 360 is a beast next to anything. I have a 360, Wii, and a Dreamcast.  The 360 definitely looks, feels, and sounds like the organic bully of the bunch.


    After 5 years of having this system in production, I think Microsoft might have enough engineering knowledge to slim down the console, with smaller (cheaper) components.  Historically, as consoles go, manufacturers figure out how to make them smaller/cheaper as the progress through the life  cycle.  Think about the original NES, and then the slimmed version of it several years later. Look at the current generation PlayStation 3. It was released a year after the Xbox 360, and already has a slim version.  So, what’s taking Microsoft so long?

    When Microsoft comes out with a slim unit, will it still be the 360, or another name?  Will they get it out in time for the 2010 holiday season to bundle it with Project Natal? Would you buy an Xbox 360 Slim? For me, I’d buy one. Not to replace my current 360. It’s a May 2008 model and is fairly quiet, has been E74 repaired once, and works fine.  Though I have a second room where I have considered getting a 360 for some time.

    Check out the job posting and sound off in the comments.

    Here is the full job ad (and let the speculation begin):

    Job Category: Hardware Engineering
    Location: United States, CA, Mountain View
    Job ID: 714897
    Product: Xbox Home
    Division: Entertainment & Devices Division

    Motherboard Design Engineer
    Job Description
    The Xbox 360 Console development team is seeking qualified candidates for an Electrical Engineer. The responsibilities of this position are focused on specifying, designing (schematic capture, PCB layout, BOM, cost analysis), implementing and verifying the mother-board and other various sub-system boards that make up the XBOX 360 product line. This work includes development of requirements and evaluating different solution for functionality, cost, and risk. The subsystems on the XBOX 360 mother board include (but are not limited to): High speed busses (front side bus, memory bus, PCIe bus, SATA bus, USB bus, I2S, etc.), memory, Ethernet, audio/video, system clocking, power and thermal management, and misc. analog/digital circuitry.
    The XBOX 360 Console Development team is responsible for aggressive cost reduction of the console throughout the life of the product as well as expanding the market for the console in derivative products. The position involves working closely with industrial designers, electrical engineers, mechanical engineers, software engineers, test engineers, component engineers, and program managers.

    Minimum BS/MS in Electrical Engineering
    Minimum of 4 years experience contributing to the design and production of complex products in the consumer PC or consumer electronic industry.
    A solid understanding of core engineering principles, fundamental circuit design, and analytical techniques is required.
    Familiarity with PC, embedded system architectures hardware and software, experience with implementation of high speed serial busses (SATA, PCIe, USB) and/or high speed parallel busses such as: memory bus (DDR2, GDDR3, etc.), CPU front side bus, Hyper transport, and/or voltage regulator/power delivery design a plus.
    Design for manufacturing and test experience is required.
    Strong bench evaluation and in-lab debugging skills are required.
    Strong communication skills required. Including the ability to clearly express technical concepts in verbal and written forms.
    Must be able to plan work, and work to a plan adapting as necessary in a rapidly evolving environment.
    The ability to comprehend and assimilate technical concepts across multiple disciplines is a plus.
    Enthusiastic, motivated and self driven.
    Domestic and international travel may be required.

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