Xbox 720 to use year-old Radeon graphics card?

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xbox 360 slim real png.pngIf you like your new games consoles to push graphical boundaries first and foremost, you may want to stop reading this. A new rumour coming out of IGN is suggesting that the next generation Microsoft games console, or the Xbox 720 as fans are calling it, may be built with a graphics chip that is already a year old. Are really these the Xbox 720 specs we were hoping for?

“Sources close to the project” are claiming that Microsoft have opted to use a chip derived from Radeon’s HD 6670 graphics card series, rather than one from the company’s newer 7000 series.

That’s not to say the card won’t offer a significant jump from the original Xbox 360. It supports DirectX11, multidisplay output, 3D and 1080p HD output, and is said to boast “six times the processing power” of the Xbox 360 and “20 percent greater performance” than Nintendo’s soon-to-be-released Wii U.

However, considering games consoles have a 6-10 year lifespan these days, the Xbox 720 could begin to look quite dated very quickly, particularly given its rumoured release date of Q4 2013.

But, as has been suggested by patent filings, it seems Microsoft’s focus has shifted from games anyway. The Xbox 720 is likely to be positioned more as an entertainment hub, with games playing second fiddle to video content and casual Kinect features. Factor in the current economic climate, and no wonder Microsoft may be looking to cut corners on the graphics front.

Still all rumours at this point. Hopefully this summer’s E3 conference will shed a little more light on the console.

Gerald Lynch