Durango Xbox 720 dev kit may be the real deal

A mysterious looking Xbox 720 development kit recently offered for sale online at a cool $10,000 may be real the deal after all.

Codenamed Durango, the dev kit is housed inside an anonymous-looking black box with components that reportedly have much in common with a modern “standard gaming PC.”

Although specs are understandably sparse, a dev by the name of DaE told EuroGamer-Digital Foundry the 64-bit kit boasts an x86 Intel CPU, an Nvidia GPU and 8GB of memory – rather than the 12 claimed by a number of other sources. 

“DaE also says that Microsoft is targeting an eight-core CPU for the final retail hardware – if true, this must surely be based around Atom architecture to fit inside the thermal envelope,” explained EuroGamer’s Richard Leadbetter. 

“The hardware configuration seems difficult to believe as it is so divorced from the technological make-up of the current Xbox 360, and we could find no corroborative sources to establish the Intel/Nvidia hook-up, let alone the eight-core CPU.”

Nevertheless, Leadbetter confirmed another source had corroborated the 64-bit nature of the 720 moments before GDC kicked off, clarifying that current DirectX 11 engines developed on the PC can be ported to 64-bit and run without issue on Microsoft’s new console. 

“[Remember], the platform holder achieved immense success by basing the Xbox 360 workflow closely on existing PC development tools and the DirectX API and it looks as though it aims to continue that recipe for success with its next-gen [system],” said Leadbetter. 

“Of course, this anonymous-looking PC box is not the machine Microsoft will be selling at retail next year – it’s alpha kit, assembled from existing parts to best emulate the hardware configuration of the console and actual silicon will be in the closing phases of development as we speak.”

Indeed, console development kits are designed to provide devs with a rough approximation of tentative specs and nascent software. As such, the above-mentioned Durango kit is almost certainly not (precisely) representative of the 720 slated to roll off assembly lines sometime in the near future.