Microsoft Xbox: AMD CPU was swapped for Intel at the very last minute


Sometimes it takes more than 20 years for details to come to light, because only after the 20th anniversary of the very first Xbox, Seamus Blackley, the “father of the Xbox”, reveals that Microsoft will only immediately before the announcement of the game console exchanged the previously used AMD CPU for an Intel CPU.

AMD engineers sat in the first row

Not only all developer kits built up to then, but also the demonstrations of the game scenes to announce the Xbox ran on an Xbox platform with an AMD processor. When the Xbox was presented on January 7, 2001 at the CES 2001 in Las Vegas, at which Bill Gates advertised it with an Intel processor, the AMD engineers sat in the front row, which Microsoft, according to Seamus Blackley, was in the run-up to would have helped enormously with the prototypes. According to Blackley, it was not his decision to change the main processor at the last minute, but the then Intel CEO Andrew Grove turned to Bill Gates. According to him, the decision to switch was not made for technical, but purely political reasons.

Blackley does not reveal exactly which processor from AMD was in the first prototype of the Microsoft Xbox. However, appropriate models should still exist. However, the Dev-Kits mentioned in Alpha I and repeatedly appeared in public contained a processor from Intel, even if it initially only clocked at 600 instead of 733 MHz. In the Alpha II dev kits, the Intel Pentium III with 733 MHz and coppermine core was used, which was also used in the final Xbox. An Nvidia MCPX X3 GPU did its job at its side. With a performance of around 13.0 GigaFLOPS, the Xbox was around twice as powerful as the PlayStation 2.

The sad faces of the AMD engineers while he and Bill Gates announced the Xbox with Intel processor, Seamus Blackley will be never forget, he writes on Twitter. After switching from an Intel processor to PowerPC with the Xbox 360, Microsoft has been using a main processor from AMD since 2013 and the Xbox One.