Consumer Peripherals

Microsoft Xbox 360 Elite Video Game Console Teardown

04 February 2011
The following is an overview of a teardown analysis conducted by IHS Benchmarking.

Overview / Main Features

The XBox 360 Elite is the latest and the fullest-featured variant of the 2nd generation XBox gaming console which included the 'Core' (previously analyzed by iSuppli in 2005 and no longer available on the market), 'Arcade' and 'Premium' models. The black matte video game console sports a 120GB hard drive, a host of I/O connectivity including [for the first time] HDMI 1.2 along with a pair of wireless game controllers and matching headsets. The Elite model comes standard with 512MB of RAM pooled memory and High Definition video capabilities.

The Microsoft gaming console is powered by a PowerPC based, tri-core 65nm "Falcon CPU manufactured by Chartered Semiconductor with an AMD Xenos GPU/Northbridge, both of which are near identical design to the original 'Core' XBox 360 with exception of the manufacturer and improved process geometry. It is backwards compatible to over 400 original XBox titles and supports digital media when connected to a Zune player. Beyond gaming, the XBox Live features allow users to connect to online content such as video on demand (VOD) movies and TV shows in both standard and high definition (via HDMI).

When compared to the pricing analysis performed on the original XBox 360 back in 2005, the new XBox 360 Elite appears to be selling [at the very least] at a break even - if not, at a profit compared to the estimated manufacturing costs (excluding software, licensing royalties, etc.). Vital to the cost reduction over the past few years are the significant drop in major IC costs such as the GPU and CPU. Also, commodity components pricing reductions on big ticket items such as DVD-ROM, hard disk drives and memory has help to drive down the overall BOM costs.

Microsoft Xbox 360 Elite Video Game Console Main ImageMicrosoft Xbox 360 Elite Video Game Console Main Image

Target Market

Video gaming enthusiasts as well as more mainstream gaming console consumers


Per press releases, first release in the US on April 29th, 2007.

Microsoft Xbox 360 Elite Video Game Console - Main PCB TopMicrosoft Xbox 360 Elite Video Game Console - Main PCB Top

Pricing and Availability

Pricing - The Xbox 360 Elite retails for $399 at the time of writing (Oct. 17th, 2008). This price point was marked down from $479 just one month earlier.

Availability - global availability (assumed)

Volume Estimations

For the purposes of this teardown analysis, we have assumed a lifetime production volume of 16M units.

As a reminder, teardown volume production assumptions are primarily used for our cost analysis in terms of amortized NRE and tooling costs, especially for custom components specific to the model being analyzed (mechanical components especially). Unless assumed, volumes increment by an order of magnitude. Minor changes in volume (say 1 million vs. 2) rarely have a large net effect on our final analysis.

Microsoft Xbox 360 Elite Video Game Console - Main PCB BottomMicrosoft Xbox 360 Elite Video Game Console - Main PCB Bottom

Market / Sector Performance

According to iSuppli's Topical Report titled, ""Video Game Consoles - Battle for the Living Room; Q3 2008", only 3 major brands dominate the video game console industry. In terms of existing market share, Sony maintains the lead with nearly 49% of the hardware shipment metric with both PlayStation 2 and 3 consoles. Nintendo comes in a strong second with about 35% of the existing hardware. In fact, the Nintendo Wii had the strongest sales in all of 2007, beating out Sony and Microsoft in absolute unit sales. Microsoft, a relative new-comer to this space commands about 16% with their XBox platform.

Overall, the gaming console hardware market grew to about 47 Million shipments in 2007. iSuppli predicts that this growth trend will sustain at an 11% growth rate through to 2009. Further, the integration of broadband connectivity in these gaming consoles will very likely fuel the expansion of the revenue business models of Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft and other 3rd parties as these consoles begin to provide compelling content to the coveted living room audience.

Main Cost Drivers Representing ~73% of total materials cost

AMD - X810480-003 - GPU / Northbridge - Graphics and Memory Controller Hub (Xenos)

Hitachi - HTS541660J9SA00 - HDD - 120GB, 2.5', 5400rpm, SATA Interface, 8MB Buffer, 150MB/s

Chartered Semiconductor - X812480-004 - CPU - Tri-Core, 65nm

HiPro Electronics - Power Supply - External, 100-127V AC Input, 12V @ 14.2A & 5V @1A Outputs, w/ 1m Long Cable

Philips/BENQ - VAD6038 - DVD ROM - Dual Layer

Qimonda - HYB18H512321BF-14 - SDRAM - GDDR3, 512Mb, 16Mx32, 700MHz, 1.8V (Qty:4)

Qimonda - HYB18H512321BF-14 - SDRAM - GDDR3, 512Mb, 16Mx32, 700MHz, 1.8V (Qty:4)

Hannstar - 4-Layer - FR4

SiS - X02047-027 - Southbridge - I/O Controller Hub

Heatsink - Extruded / Machined Aluminum, Anodized, w/ 4 Integral Standoffs, Copper Heat Pipe & Aluminum Fins

Component HD AV Cable - AV Port Plug to 6 RCA Plugs & S/PDIF Output, 2.5m Long

Total BOM Costs $270.35

Total BOM & Manufacturing Costs $280.89

Microsoft Xbox 360 Elite Video Game Console Cost AnalysisMicrosoft Xbox 360 Elite Video Game Console Cost Analysis

What Is Not Included in our Cost Analysis

The total materials and manufacturing costs reported in this analysis reflect ONLY the direct materials cost (from component vendors and assorted EMS providers), AND manufacturing with basic test. Not included in this analysis are costs above and beyond the material manufacture of the core device itself - cost of intellectual property, royalties and licensing fees (those not already included into the per component price), software, software loading and test, shipping, logistics marketing and other channel costs including not only EMS provider and the OEM's margin, but that of other resellers. Our cost analysis is meant to focus on those costs incurred in the manufacture of the core device and exceptionally in some circumstances the packaging and literature as well.

Manufacturing Notes

OEM/ODM/EMS Relationships / Manufacturing

Since Microsoft's core competency is within software, they naturally have to outsource all of their manufacturing to EMS partners. According to iSuppli EMS/ODM analysts, Microsoft utilizes Flextronics, Celestica and Pegatron (formerly Asustek) for the manufacturing of the XBox 360 series.

Country of Origin / Volume Assumptions

Based on markings, the unit was assembled in China. Furthermore, we have assumed that custom mechanicals (plastics, metals, etc. were also sourced in China.

Country of origin assumptions relate directly to the associated cost of manufacturing, where calculated by iSuppli. In the cases of 'finished' sub-assemblies (such as the hard drive), we do not calculate internal manufacturing costs, but rather assess the market price of the finished product in which case country of origin assumptions may or may not have a direct effect on pricing.

Remember also that labor rates are applied directly only to hand inserted components and systems in our bill of materials, and although regional assumptions do, these new rates do not have a direct effect on our modeled calculations of placement costs for automated SMD assembly lines. ""Auto" inserted components (such as SMT components) placement costs are calculated by an iSuppli algorithm which allocates a cost per component based on the size and pincount of the device. This calculation is affected by country or region of origin as well.

Microsoft Xbox 360 Elite Video Game Console - Controller EnclosureMicrosoft Xbox 360 Elite Video Game Console - Controller Enclosure

Design for Manufacturing / Device Complexity

This design of the XBox 360 Elite has changed little internally or cosmetically. The motherboard, with 1484 discrete components, is slightly less than that of the original 'Core' XBox 360 previously analyzed. As a reference, this component count is very comparable to a mid-range PC laptop or desktop.

Component counts have a direct bearing on the overall manufacturing cycle times and costs, and also can increase or decrease overall yields and re-work. Our calculations of manufacturing costs factor counts and more qualitative complexities in the design. The cost of manufacturing is also, to some extent, decreased in this case because of assumed labor rate applied for China.

Note that manual labor has a much smaller effect on auto-insertion assembly lines (for the Main PCB, for example), where manufacturing costs are much more capital equipment intensive and driven by these investment costs.

Design Notes

The major difference between the XBox 360 Elite and the 1st revision of the XBox 360 ('Core') is primarily the die shrink on the CPU [as well as the change in manufacturer from IBM to Chartered]. The AMD/ATI 'Xenos' GPU is an identical design carried over from the original XBox 360 design. Only other significant change or upgrade is the inclusion of a HDMI Transmitter to support HD video output.

Here is a summary of the major components used in the XBox 360 Elite design:

Main PCB


  • Chartered Semiconductor - X812480-004


  • Graphics and Memory Controller Hub (Xenos) - AMD - X810480-003


  • I/O Controller Hub - SiS - X02047-027


  • SDRAM - Qimonda - HYB18H512321BF-14 (Quantity 8)
  • Flash - Hynix - HY27US08281A

I/O & Interface

  • HDMI Transmitter - undetermined supplier
  • Transceiver - IDT - ICS1893BFLF


  • Hard Drive - Hitachi - HTS541660J9SA00
  • DVD ROM - Philips/BENQ - VAD6038

Wireless Controller

  • Microcontroller - Microsoft - X810462-003

Power Supply

  • HiPro Electronics

Microsoft Xbox 360 Elite Video Game Console - Box ContentsMicrosoft Xbox 360 Elite Video Game Console - Box Contents

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