The rumor mill is in full swing. With the announcement of Bill Gates' appearance, the video gaming community is convinced that Microsoft will reveal one of its best kept secrets at the upcoming CES. It is not unusual for Gates to deliver the pre-show keynote at CES - he has done so in every year since 2000. However, Gates always has shown personal interest the Xbox and announced the first generation box on January, 6 - during his keynote at CES 2001
Gates' official outline of his keynote for 2005 says to "expect the unexpected". Game news site Gamesindustry.biz speculates that this could include the Xbox 2, which was "originally rumored to be planned for the Game Developer's Conference earlier this year."
Details of the features of the Xbox 2 have been discussed for some time on the Internet. While Microsoft has not confirmed any specs so far, the game console will be equipped with an ATI-designed graphics chip, code-named R500. The GPU is said to be clocked at more than 500 MHz, 10 MByte integrated DRAM, and support for a super of Direct 3D 9 set. The peak pixel fill rate is rumors to achieve 4+ Giga Pixels per second (16 Giga Samples per second with 4Χ antialiasing. The peak triangle rate is more than 500 million triangles per second, according to documents circulated on the Internet.
The Xbox2, code-named "Xenon", will include an IBM PowerPC processor, with a frequency of at least 3.5 GHz. The CPU consists of three independent cores; each of them will be able to issue two instructions per clock cycle. This allows games to use six symmetric hardware threads. At peak performance, the CPU is expected to reach 21 billion instructions per second. The I/O hardware will be supplied by SiS, according to an announcement by the company."