Talking tech since 2003

Microsoft’s Xbox 360 has enjoyed an extremely-long lifespan and still has several quality releases on the way, despite having launched way back in 2005. But there’s a sense in the gaming community that the console’s life is coming to a conclusion, and speculation that Microsoft is already hard at work on the Xbox 360’s successor. Up to this point, though, we haven’t had any really tantalizing bits of information to share about the new system. No name, no release date, and no specs.

We might be able to put the “no specs” problem to sleep — at least for the time being — as a new leak has surfaced that details several of the next-generation Xbox’s supposed specifications. And if these specs are on the money, the next Xbox is looking like a monster of a system.

First, let’s set the stage. Most game consoles launch with specs that are either underpowered or extremely underpowered when compared to top-notch gaming PCs. That’s just a reality of being in the console business, where prices are expected to remain in the $300-$400 range. The Xbox 360 wasn’t a technological marvel in terms of specs when compared to a PC, but the beauty in buying a console is knowing that games are tailored specifically to that system and you won’t need to drop a fortune on the latest and greatest graphics card to play a hot new title.

This leads us to the specs leaked for the next-generation Xbox. The first good sign is the processor, which runs on x64 architecture and has a clock speed of 1.6 GHz and eight cores. The system is also reported to pack 8 GB of DDR3 RAM, which is sixteen times the RAM found in the 360. Other notables include USB 3.0 ports and a 50 GB 6x Blu-Ray drive. Yes, if the leaks are true, you’ll finally be able to watch Blu-Ray movies on your Xbox. These specs are pretty killer in terms of a console. They’d be killer in a PC. Not the highest-end machine, but it’s still a lot better than console buyers are used to.

Another interesting note: there’s mention of a built-in NUI sensor, which could mean a Kinect-like experience without the need to purchase a peripheral device. There’s also an HDMI-in port, which you don’t see on a lot of consoles. With Microsoft pushing to become part of your living room’s TV experience, though, this could point to the next Xbox also functioning as a supplemental device to your TV viewing habits — think a TV guide or apps, like Google TV.

As a gamer, these specs are definitely welcome on the console front. Here’s to hoping they hold up.

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