The IBM chip that will power Microsoft's Xbox 360 console is in production and on target for the device's pre-Christmas launch next month.

IBM gave tech reporters the tour of the unnamed chip that is being churned out by Big Blue's East Fishkill, N.Y., plant and at the Chartered Semiconductor facility in Singapore less than two years after the project was launched.

Analysts and tech media report the Xbox will be the next-generation challenger to Sony's venerable Playstation.

Company officials said at a conference in San Jose, Calif., that the chip was designed from the ground up to accommodate high-definition gaming and provide flexibility to game designers. It can sustain two simultaneous threads and high sustained bandwidth.

The specs released by IBM noted that the chip features 165 million transistors with a peak 21.6 gigabytes Front Side Bus architecture and silicon insulator technology that reduces heat.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International