The first half of the year before E3 is always full of rumors pertaining to what the major players in the gaming industry are going to show off. It's a little different this year, however, as we have two new game consoles on the way from Sony and Microsoft. All the attention will be directed at the new hardware, and the rumor mill in regards to these machines' supposed specs is already churning.
VGLeaks, a site that has proven to be more right than wrong in its reporting, claims to have gotten hold of the spes for Durango - the next Xbox. If true, Microsoft's next console will be a pretty beastly machine, but it may also be pretty quiet.
Digging into the details, it appears that Microsoft may be going for lower-power consumption with its next gen console. The machine will sport an eight core CPU running at 1.6 GHz. Is it slower than the Xbox 360's 3.0 GHz tri-core processor? Not at all as this newest processor is able to execute more processes at a speedier rate than its predecessor. It's similar to the Wii U's processor in that it features a slower clock speed, but is able to do more with it. If anything, the new processor will make sure that the next Xbox is a quiet, cool machine.
As for the GPU, It's a custom 800 MHz graphics processor with support for Direct 3D 11.1. It's not top of the line graphics processing, but consoles don't need that to push impressive visuals. This chip will do nicely when it comes to pushing even more visually impressive games on the new hardware.
As for memory and storage, the console will feature 8GB of RAM and 32MB of fast embedded SRAM. The console will also sport a SATA out for a HDD. It's unknown what kind of hard drive will be used, however, as Microsoft may opt to use a solid state drive for its latest console, especially if it begins pushing digital over physical content.
Speaking of physical content, the next Xbox will be outfitted with a Blu-ray drive. It was pretty much a given at this point, but it's nice to know that Microsoft won't be insistent on using DVDs or some other proprietary format in its next console.
If you prefer a more visual take on the above information, here's a system block diagram courtesy of VGLeaks. Of particular interest is the Kinect In port. The Kinect In port may imply that Microsoft may be selling the next generation Kinect device separately instead of building it into the device.
As always, these are just rumors and should be taken as such. We won't know anything for sure until Microsoft or a certified third party confirms it as fact. We may not have to wait long though as Microsoft may reveal its latest console before E3, just like Sony.