Microsoft to Optimize Xbox One’s Power Management, Performance and Engineering Practices

on May 8, 2014 11:52 AM

While the Xbox One is already in the homes of many, work on improving a console never really ends, and Microsoft is hiring experts in order to keep optimizing the console, as showcased by a recent career opportunity ad seeking an Electrical Engineer.

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Microsoft’s Hardware teams are driven by progressive, diverse, and exceptionally creative professionals who design, test and manufacture some of the best-loved entertainment devices in the world. Our teams ship tens of millions of hardware products every year including the Xbox One, Xbox 360, Kinect, a full accessories lineup, and more. Microsoft is this destination for the brightest minds in entertainment device design. Come be part of what’s next.

We currently have an opening in the Xbox Devices group for a Principal System Engineer. You will be a technical expert across the Xbox products with focus on power management. You will utilize your breadth of experience and range of expertise to work across the organization with the silicon, console, firmware, and operation system teams to drive system design and test definition, performance optimization, resolve system issues and improve the organization’s engineering practices.

As a successful candidate, you will demonstrate a solid understanding of core engineering principles, analytical process, disciplined methodology, superior problem-solving skills, and a passion for developing technologies and products with a broad scope of impact. You have demonstrated the ability to deliver a solution to the customer’s need through design and have brought other functions and subject matter experts along with you. You are highly motivated and enjoy bringing technical and strategic leadership to cross-disciplinary teams and you have a track record of innovation.

Candidates should meet the following criteria:

  • BSEE required. MS preferred.
  • Minimum of 10 years’ experience design and test with high volume products
  • Experience with the full product life-cycle from inception to release to manufacturing for high-volume consumer electronics
  • Experience leading the bring up and debug of complex embedded systems based on the x86 architecture
  • Experience with power management (Windows 8 devices a definite plus)
  • Experience with design, modeling and analysis of microprocessor and motherboard power distribution systems
  • Experience in hardware bring-up, debug, fault detection and failure analysis
  • Experience with statistical analysis and DOE
  • Strong Communication and technical leadership skills

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While the ad mentions all the Xbox products, responsibilities definitely focus on Xbox One, not only because it’s Microsoft’s recent poster child, but because it’s the only Xbox Device based on the x86 architecture (the Xbox 360 is based on Power PC) and on Windows 8.

Power management is an issue often overlooked issue in the design of consoles (and computers) by the general public, as the attention of most is drawn more towards the numbers and data about CPUs and GPUs, but power efficiency normally leads to sensible improvements in performance as well, and in the ability to push the hardware harder without incurring into problems like overheating.

It’s also worth mentioning that the planned use of the DirectX 12 API will optimize multithreading and allow the CPU to feed the GPU with more commands, more often. This could definitely push the GPU closer to its hardware and heat management limits, and an optimization of its power consumption would definitely help in juicing it further.

Improving engineering practices also has a relevant indirect effect on performance, as it leads to better build quality and higher resilience to fault under stress.

How far can Microsoft push the Xbox One? That we cannot know yet, and it’ll be interesting to see what the one that will grab this job and the rest of the team will achieve.

 /  Executive News Editor
Hailing from sunny (not as much as people think) Italy and long standing gamer since the age of Mattel Intellivision and Sinclair ZX Spectrum. Definitely a multi-platform gamer, he still holds the old dear PC nearest to his heart, while not disregarding any console on the market. RPGs (of any nationality) and MMORPGs are his daily bread, but he enjoys almost every other genre, prominently racing simulators, action and sandbox games. He is also one of the few surviving fans of the flight simulator genre on Earth.
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