The processor that will be at the centre of next Xbox entered production in December last year, according to two separate reports.
It is said Microsoft commissioned both IBM and Global Foundries to build a high-performance PowerPC CPU, codenamed Oban, for the next console.
The chips will be used in development kits set to arrive at game studios by April, it is speculated. Previous rumours suggested that the so-called 'Xbox 720' dev kits were handed out late last year.
Microsoft declined to comment when contacted by Develop.
“The power behind the next Xbox will be a PowerPC CPU that is married to an ATI Southern Islands GPU, or modified 7000 series,” according to technology website Fudzilla.
The publication claims that the chips “will be destined for developer consoles”, implying that a 2012 mass-market release for the console is not practical.
Meanwhile, another technology publication called Semiaccurate – which has been covering the production of the so-called Oban chips for a number of weeks – claims the tech is likely scheduled for mass-production in December 2012.
In October last year, sources within the middleware and game engine sectors told Develop that the next generation Xbox will more likely be released in the second half of 2013.