Introducing the ApeXtreme

Much like the Xbox, the ApeXtreme is basically a PC housed in a consumer electronics-esque chassis. The system comes complete with a motherboard, DVD-ROM drive, hard drive, on-board graphics and DDR SDRAM. Unlike the Xbox however, the ApeXtreme does not try hard to hide its PC ancestry as is made evident by the inclusion of things like a DIMM slot on the motherboard.

The ApeXtreme runs Windows XP Embedded Edition, although the OS is not physically accessible to the end user (without some hacking). As far as game support goes, the console is designed to run all PC games – we'll get to how that actually works later.

The system features 6 USB ports (much like any present day motherboard), 5.1 channel RCA audio outputs, optical/coax digital audio out, video output in the form of component, S-Video, composite or DVI and topping it all off the ApeXtreme has Ethernet and RJ-11 telephone jacks for Internet/LAN gaming. The full set of inputs and outputs are made possible by the fact that the ApeXtreme is essentially a PC, and neither Apex nor VIA apparently had much desire to mask it.

The system can be controlled via a USB controller or a USB keyboard/mouse. The controllers that were being shown with the ApeXtreme honestly needed some work, but Apex assured us that they were working feverishly to get driver support for all of the popular USB controllers into the shipping version of the ApeXtreme. If the ApeXtreme is going to succeed as a gaming console, support for better controllers is an absolute must. A controller that would integrate keyboard and joystick functionality into the pad is apparently in the works.

The ApeXtreme is based on VIA's latest 0.13-micron C3 core running at 1.4GHz, although the prototypes now are running at 1.2GHz. The motherboard features VIA's CM400 chipset and a DeltaChrome S8 graphics core. We'll actually have a look at the motherboard later, but now let's get a feel for how this thing works.

Index How Xtreme are we talking?
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  • pluty - Monday, December 27, 2004 - link

    why is it, that when playing madden 2004-5, you can't use plays you've chosen for your personal playbook in the coaching mode, and you can only use the chicago bears playbook. I like to call my plays and watch the computer run them. any suggestions?
  • franguinho - Thursday, January 22, 2004 - link

    its an interesting idea but poorly implemented IMO... id much rather buy a gamepad and half decent graphics card and play PC games on an actual PC... (which in fact is what i do).
  • yanon - Tuesday, January 20, 2004 - link

    I think this thing can become a hit if someone hack this and turned it into an all-purpose player which supports divx/xvid/rmvb, multi-regions dvd (with region-free installed), moderate pc gaming, TiVo, digital audio player (with winamp installed), digital photography, and web browser.
  • othercents - Thursday, January 15, 2004 - link

    Check out this website about the Discover technology behind the ApeXtreme.

    There are supposed to be higher end consoles available at the same time as Apex releases theirs. Some of the consoles are P4 3.0ghz with GeforceFX video cards. So there should not be any problem playing any game released today and since they are going to be upgradable you should be able to play newer games also.

    For those who don't want to use their Main TV, I would just like to remind you that most homes have at least 3 or 4 TVs. I actually have a Wall Projector just for my game consoles and movies and then a regular TV for every day use.

  • quanta - Tuesday, January 13, 2004 - link

    I would rather build my mini-ITX PC cubes. As I recall, VIA CPUs have even worse floating point perforance than K6, which make important differences for every 3D game made since Quake I. Although many graphics operations are handled by video cards, CPU floating point processing are still being used for things like 3D audio, game physics engine, and AI. Unfortunately, the C3 still have extra weak FPU, cutting down potential frame rate on (almost) every game.
  • Idoxash - Monday, January 12, 2004 - link

    Great idea and really kewl if they can get other console gaming companys to make some games useing that much poweful gpu. However the cost is high. You can build a much faster system for that cost if you wanted to play just PC games. It looks as if this thing can hook to a monitor? Such as a computer one if so thatya be better then a TV at least.

    HRM, Good luck to VIA and Apex all I can say!

  • HammerFan - Sunday, January 11, 2004 - link

    5 posts in a row... damn :P
  • tw1164 - Sunday, January 11, 2004 - link

    I like the idea, but the price is a little high. You can get a new dell for that price, but alot faster. I see this device quickly falling behind in games.
  • KillaKilla - Sunday, January 11, 2004 - link

    Is CES already covered in the Day One report? I'd a thunk there'd be more there... damn.
  • Abraxas - Sunday, January 11, 2004 - link

    if they can get the price down, it looks like a good bet for a divx player :) any other divx capable dvd players on the market? this looks like the best ive seen.

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