The Quest

The quest began several weeks back. A new, more powerful, experience beckoned. And there was no honourable way to decline the quest.

We had to achieve that which only a select few would be able to achieve.

The pressure was intense. And I knew, for the sake of my sons, that I had no choice. I had to find a way. A way to acquire an xbox 360 platform on release day.

We had tried to pre-order from Best Buy. Through some miscommunication this attempt to secure a device failed miserably. We were left with the unlikely option of trying to acquire a unit on its release date.

Did we have a chance?

xbox 360People had started to line up at our local Best Buy around midnight on Monday. Best Buy did not open its doors until 8am on Tuesday. I counselled the family to bypass Best Buy and Futureshop and go directly to the most reliable source of high technology gaming platforms: Wal-Mart. I received an update at 7:40am. A ticket had been successfully acquired at Wal-Mart. And, by 8:20am, an xbox 360 had been successfully acquired. A slight problem though. The desired games, Project Gotham Racing and Call of Duty 2, were sold out.

Back to Best Buy. My wife, always resourceful, found a way to get in ahead of the crowds waiting to purchase their xbox 360 platforms. She told them that all she wanted was to go in and buy a couple of games. And in she went. First pick of all the games and accessories.

Here is a screenshot from one of the games she picked up. Call of Duty 2:

Call of Duty

Our two boys were allowed to join in on the quest for an xbox this morning. Which means they missed school this morning. My wife and I talked about this last night. Sometimes family memories are built from such silly events. Joshua and Matthew will remember this adventure for years. For them it was fun and exciting. A special treat marked with an element of uncertainty.

They will be playing their xbox games this morning and then back to school this afternoon. I will get to play later tonight. I am a hopeless technology geek. The xbox 360 is a supercomputer with a teraflop of floating-point performance. Here are some of the technical specifications:

Custom IBM PowerPC-based CPU
Ӣ Three symmetrical cores running at 3.2 GHz each
Ӣ Two hardware threads per core; six hardware threads total
Ӣ VMX-128 vector unit per core; three total
Ӣ 128 VMX-128 registers per hardware thread
Ӣ 1 MB L2 cache

CPU Game Math Performance
Ӣ 9 billion dot product operations per second

Custom ATI Graphics Processor
Ӣ 500MHz processor
Ӣ 10 MB of embedded DRAM
Ӣ 48-way parallel floating-point dynamically scheduled shader pipelines
Ӣ Unified shader architecture

Polygon Performance
Ӣ 500 million triangles per second

Pixel Fill Rate
Ӣ 16 gigasamples per second fill rate using 4x MSAA

Shader Performance
Ӣ 48 billion shader operations per second

Ӣ 512 MB of GDDR3 RAM
Ӣ 700 MHz of DDR
Ӣ Unified memory architecture

Memory Bandwidth Ӣ 22.4 GB/s memory interface bus bandwidth
Ӣ 256 GB/s memory bandwidth to EDRAM
Ӣ 21.6 GB/s front-side bus

Overall System Floating-Point Performance
Ӣ 1 teraflop

And here is what you can do with all that computer power. Amazing graphics. Anyone remember Pong?

Project Gotham Racing

2 replies
  1. kbartha
    kbartha says:

    now ibm thinks like sony and looks like apple….

    They didn’t just take the curve on this one… they invented a spherical wheel. I wonder when the collision will happen between the internet and all this HDTV, VR, wireless, triple-encrypted, bandwidth-pipelined, optics-enhanced, gaming-comm-music stuff?


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