Until recently, Microsoft have always stuck to their PC roots, pumping out a new version of their products on a regular basis. They began to enter the console market when they paired up with Sega for the Dreamcast, providing support for Windows CE, but have now released their own console, the "PC in a box" - the XBox. A very large console (bigger than its competition, the Playstation 2 and the GameCube) with the most powerful system specifications of its generation, this is certainly a machine to be reckoned with.
One model has been released worldwide - the big, black bulwark that is the XBox. However, a special, limited edition XBox was released in Japan, complete with spiffy transparent casing.
CPU: An Intel Pentium III powers the system, clocked at 733Mhz. Nothing really special here.
GPU: A custom-made chip by nVidia named the "X-Chip" provides GeForce 2-quality graphics to the system. This is clocked at 233Mhz.
RAM: 64Mb of Unified Memory Architechture RAM.
Storage: Memory cards, plus an 8Gb hard drive (seem familiar? The 3DO had on-board storage) provide space for game saves. The HD can also be used to store music ripped from CD.
Format: DVD9s with a capacity of 9Gb. DVD movies can also be played.
Ports: Four (count 'em) ports for controllers, plus one 10/100 Ethernet port for networking.
Maximum resolution: 1920x1080
Maximum polygon performance: 150M/sec
Controller: A large, uncomfortable device for Westerners, this controller seems to have been designed by somebody with hands several sizes bigger than the rest of us. Avoid if you can. Instead, try...
Controller "S": Much better! Smaller, more comfortable, easier to use... I could go on for some time. This was the standard controller issued with Japanese XBoxes, and demand for them was so great elsewhere that the big M decided to release them globally.
Xbox Live!: The XBox featurs (broadband-only) online play through the XBox Live! service. This is a subscription-based service, but is proving popular with gamers, and comes with a free trial subscription, the kit, and a spiffy headset for voice communication. Click here to go to the official website.