The photos, which appeared on Chinese message board A9VG, are noteworthy for a couple reasons, as pointed out by Gamespot: It’s a smaller motherboard than ever before, it combines computer and graphics processors on a single chip and it has a SATA interface port instead of Microsoft’s proprietary hard drive port, suggesting that storage will be housed inside the console.
Put all this together with different shapes, sizes and screw locations, and you’ve got a compelling case for the Xbox 360 Slim — if the photos are real, of course.
Brushing aside idle speculation from analysts and, ahem, bloggers, this is not the first actual rumor of a slimmer Xbox 360. In 2008, TG Daily reported that after Microsoft brought its 65 nm “Jasper” chips into production that year, a 45 nm process would be next in line. The rumor held that Microsoft would release a redesigned console, with GPU and CPU on a single chip, in 2009. Obviously, the timing didn’t pan out, but the rest of the report just got a new lease on life.
Technical details aside, a redesign wouldn’t be a surprise this year, with Microsoft planning to release its motion-sensing camera, codenamed Project Natal, during the holiday season. With that extra peripheral taking up space on TV stands, new console buyers could use the extra room. Besides, the Xbox 360 is starting to look a little bulky next to the PS3 Slim.
If Microsoft is planning to launch a slimmer Xbox 360, don’t expect to hear anything official until just before the console goes on sale. In the meantime, do expect the usual fuzzy product shots and cryptic claims from anonymous sources.