Xbox 720 Durango dev kit sale gives early taste of next-gen console

A Microsoft Durango developer kit reportedly emerged on a developper forum over the weekend, commanding a sale price of $10,000. The kit, which is said to feature an Intel CPU, NVIDIA GPU, and "more than 8GB of memory", is used for Xbox 720 development. The fact that the kit looked like a plain black PC tower running a regular debug launcher led many to believe it was nothing more than a hoax, but Digital Foundry decided to reach out to several sources and developers, discovering that the kit was in fact the real deal.

The development kit features a dashboard not too far off the Xbox 360 kit, with the Durango model running programs such as D3D11Game1 and NuiView; the latter is a tool for rendering camera output from the Kinect, while the former is most likely a DirectX 11 demo. The hardware of the development kit, meanwhile, is said to feature an Intel processor and NVIDIA graphics card. The person behind the kit leak, DaE, claims that the final Xbox 720 hardware will feature an octo-core CPU.

That seems to go against past reports that have suggested the console will have a processor with either four or six cores. Earlier this year it was also reported that the Xbox 720 would feature two GPUs that would be able to render graphics independent of each other. Another rumor suggested that two versions of the console would hit retail shelves, with one set of hardware offered as the main console, and another equipped with a low-power ARM-based processor that will target an aggressive price point, designed to run Arcade style games.

Other reports indicate that the next version of Microsoft's console will ditch the optical drive in favor of digital downloads, something that may not come to fruition given the slow broadband speeds many experience in the United States and across the world. The most troubling rumor, however, is that the console will require an always-on internet connection in order to stave off piracy attempts. Not only that, but both the Xbox 720 and PlayStation Orbis have been rumored to implement an anti used games system, locking out any second hand games until a new license has been purchased.

[via MCV]