Welcome to Valhalla: Inside the New 250GB Xbox 360 Slimby Anand Lal Shimpi on June 18, 2010 1:59 AM EST
Much Prettier than the Original
Microsoft took a page from Sony’s playbook and outfitted the new Xbox 360 with all touch sensitive buttons. The eject button is much smaller but extremely sensitive, not to mention you get a loud beep whenever you hit it. There are no issues with knowing whether or not you hit the eject button.
The power button is pretty much the same way, a light tap will toggle it and send you on your way. The green ring of light apparently doesn’t turn red anymore (it only flashes green when there’s a problem? engineering meet marketing). On the bright side like Jasper before it, there is no reason the new Xbox 360 should have the same RRoD problems as the older models. As you’ll see from the dissection not only is it a new chip fabbed on a new process, but it’s apparently cool enough to require much less force exerted on it by the heatsink clamp.
The exterior is a glossy black plastic. It looks great but picks up fingerprints and smudges like the dickins. A definite problem for those of you who like to cart your 360s around.
The Xbox 360 memory units are no longer supported but there are two USB ports up front that will accept USB drives as data storage.
Around back you get an optical audio out, Xbox 360 AV connector, HDMI output, three more USB ports, Ethernet port and input for Microsoft’s Kinect peripheral due out later this year.
There’s 802.11n support integrated into the new Xbox 360. If you open up the case you’ll see a USB 802.11n adapter plugged into an internal USB port. This also makes me wonder if we’ll see a cheap version of the new 360 without WiFi support.
The hard drive is still a 2.5” model but now it’s tucked away at the bottom of the system (standing up) in a much smaller case. To get to it just pull back on a couple of the fins which will let you remove a part of the cover:
Yanking on the black ribbon (it takes a bit of pulling) will pull out the hard drive itself. Microsoft appears to have sealed this drive up pretty well. I’m not sure there’s a way to remove the physical drive without irreversibly breaking open the case. I had other ways of figuring out what was inside so I didn’t bother taking this one any further.
The new hard drive is a Hitachi HTS545025B9SA00 1.5Gbps SATA hard drive. It spins at 5400RPM and has an 8MB buffer. If you were hoping for a 7200 RPM drive, you’re out of luck.
And just for fun here's a comparison shot to the old HDD:
The funny part is the hard drive form factor never changed, just the case it came in.
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ajp_anton - Friday, June 18, 2010 - linkAny reason not to use a slim DVD drive?
jeremyshaw - Friday, June 18, 2010 - linkFor your sound comparison, you listed crysis warhead!!
Anand Lal Shimpi - Friday, June 18, 2010 - linkha! that's funny. That's what I get for not paying attention to what I was copying, the load tests were done with a spinning disc in the drive (Halo 3).
MonkeyPaw - Friday, June 18, 2010 - linkHonestly, the drive noise on my Jasper isn't an issue for me, as I install my games to the HDD. It's a feature I love because it kills most of the noise, AND it boosts load times significantly. Really, putting the game data on the HDD is the only way I could fill up the drive--I don't use that space for anything else except a demo or two and the game saves.
I do wish the fans were better though. I don't mind the noise; it's the pitch that gets me.
quiksilvr - Friday, July 2, 2010 - linkDoesn't that seem a bit sad, though? They couldn't even utilize a proper DVD drive so they just make users dump the game onto their HDDs?
This is why they should have gone with Blu rays.. The higher density of the discs would:
1) Decrease load times
2) Decrease the spin speed of the drive, which would in turn
3) Decrease noise
And thanks to the epic coating on Bu Rays, would make the games discs a hellova lot longer without having to resort to d skins.
ck1984 - Monday, July 5, 2010 - linkDumb comment because you didn't check FACTS and you contradicted yourself for a start the facts are blu ray is SLOWER than dvd at load times because it spins the disk slower than dvd's e.g all blu rays spin at 2x speed dvd's go up to 24x i think. This is the reason PS3 has to install parts of all games to hard drive to decrease load times. You contradicted yourself when you said 1) decrease load times then said for your 2nd point decreased spin speed also, as mentioned before decreased spin speed means decreased load times as it doesn't read the data off the disk as fast. The only advantages it has is storage space (on that point hard drives are quickly becoming the future with online downloads as the the HDD is faster and holds enormous amounts of data way faster than blu ray and holds more data) and decreased noise thats it blu ray isnt the future for gaming its way too slow a very good example of how slow it is is to time how long it takes to put a small amount of game data to hard drive on the ps3, the load times you talk about are the ps3's hard drive running partially installed parts of the game compare the install time of the ps3 which only installs parts of a game, compare that to the 360 when you dump the ENTIRE dvd to the hard drive.
Xentropy - Tuesday, July 6, 2010 - linkYou seem to be forgetting that increased density counters the slower spin speed in this regard. Just because a smaller arc of the disk is read in the same period of time doesn't mean more bits aren't in that smaller arc than in the larger arc of a DVD.
To answer in more detail, 1X on a DVD refers to 1.32MB/s. Equivalent to a 9X CD speed. 1X Blu-Ray refers to 36MB/s. So about the same as a 27x DVD drive. Yes, despite slower rotational speed, a 1x Blu-Ray drive (and most are 2x since at least 1.5x is required to play a movie at Blu-Ray quality) reads data at a far faster rate than even a 16x DVD drive.
The reason the entire Blu-Ray isn't installed to the hard drive in the PS3's case is the sheer amount of data involved. Two games would completely fill a drive.
Xentropy - Tuesday, July 6, 2010 - linkMeh, to correct myself, my sources mixed up bytes and bits. A 2X Blu-Ray drive is about as fast as 7X DVD, at least at the outer edges of the DVD. DVD's read inside-out, though, and the Blu-Ray is actually faster than the first half or so of a 12X DVD drive's first layer of data, but slower than the last half. Functionally, the difference is small in the overall bits read per time between the two formats at 2X BR vs 12X DVD.
CrimsonFury - Saturday, July 31, 2010 - linkThe speeds you quoted are not in the same format. The Blu Ray speed you quoted is in megabits while the DVD speed you quoted is in megabytes (also 1x DVD speed is 1.38MB not 1.32MB)
To convert from megabits to megabytes you divide by 8. So 1x BluRay = 4.5MB (Megabytes).
So a 2x BD drive like the one in the PS3 has a speed of 9MB.
A 12x DVD drive like the one in the Xbox 360 has a speed of 16.5MB, almost twice the speed of the PS3s drive.
pieterjan - Friday, June 18, 2010 - linkExcactly! Takes less space, makes less noise, leaves more space for a bigger heatsink and fan, which make even less noise.