Power Consumption

The beauty of a console is that the specs never change, so while AMD, Intel and NVIDIA have to try to add new features or increase clock speeds with each die shrink, Microsoft gets to sit back and reap the benefits of cooler running hardware that's cheaper to manufacture. The move from Xenon to Falcon resulted in a pretty significant reduction in power consumption; under full load a Falcon Xbox 360 drew less power than a Xenon unit at idle.

The Falcon to Jasper transition isn't quite as dramatic unfortunately. I ran five power tests, I looked at power consumption at the NXE dashboard at idle, power consumption at the main menu of Rockband 2, Halo 3 and Gears of War 2, and finally if you don't own any of these games but want a comparison point I looked at power consumption of the Xbox 360 while running the BioShock demo (at the very start of the demo when you find yourself in the water surrounded by fire). Power consumption during actual gameplay doesn't go up much, if at all, compared to the start screens for these games - the main menu screens are all rendered in 3D and are apparently just as stressful as the games themselves, plus they're a very consistent way of measuring power consumption.

I used a Watts-Up meter which the Xbox 360 plugged into, so what we're looking at here is total system power consumption.

Xbox 360 Revision System Off Idle Halo 3 Rockband 2 Gears of War 2 BioShock Demo
Xenon 2.3W 155.7W 177.8W 167.7W 177.1W 172W
Falcon 2.8W 101.4W 121.2W 112.8W 121.5W 115.5W
Jasper 2.0W 93.7W 105.9W 101.0W 105.9W 98.1W

 

Overall you're looking at a 12% reduction in total system power under load and under 8% at idle, definitely not the ~30 - 35% drop we saw with the Xenon to Falcon transition, but not insignificant either. Remember that the smaller your transistors get, the more leakage current becomes a problem; while your transistors use less power, they also tend to use more power when they are in a logical off state than they should. There have also been a number of advancements in architecting for low power designs over the past couple of years that Microsoft hasn't taken advantage of as they would require a redesign of the 360's CPU/GPU. Microsoft is in full blown cost savings mode with the Xbox 360, the only things that will be done to that console before it dies are things to improve the Xbox division's bottom line.

Final Words

There you have it. Jasper is out and now we play the waiting game to see if the dreaded RRoD is finally solved with the latest batch of hardware changes. Even if it's not, if you are buying an Xbox 360 today you might as well opt for the cooler running, newly redesigned Jasper model rather than the year-old Falcon. Why pay the same amount for old hardware, it's just not the AnandTech way.

And once again, to those of you with Jaspers: congrats, after 3 years you may have just bought an Xbox 360 that won't die.

Jasper Dissection
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  • Syphadeus - Sunday, January 04, 2009 - link

    Well, after receiving my 360 back from it's THIRD repair (they sent me an Opus to replace my Xenon) and finding that it kept throwing me DREs at random, I decided to hunt for a Jasper today.

    I bought an Arcade unit from GAME here in the UK. I asked if I could have a look at the box first and they said no, so I told them to security sticker it because it was a "surprise gift". Turned out to be a Falcon (14.2A). So I'll be taking that back tomorrow.

    In the meantime, I went to GameStation and asked and they let me look at the boxes - second one I looked at was a Jasper. It was really easy to see as well, didn't have to move the console, the 12.1A rating was immediately viewable through the cut-out, so I bought it and it works fine. That's another £130 I've thrown at MS - and all because I really can't be bothered to wait another 3 weeks for them to repair my replacement, which is a pretty laughable concept considering I'd had it all of four days.
    Reply
  • Manic Penguin - Thursday, January 01, 2009 - link

    I had the privilege to use an Xbox 360 Pro (60gb version) last weekend at a friends house. He had just bought the box, so naturally i wondered if it had a Jasper board in it. He told me that he wasn't sure, so I checked the back of the system. Sure enough, it had a power rating of 12,1 A. The power supply itself was a Falcon power block, but the power rating and power input jack on the Xbox both matched up to Jasper specs. I would post pics but my sister didn't let me use her camera. I will see if I can get him to send some pics via email. Reply
  • XtraCrispi - Friday, December 19, 2008 - link

    I just bought an Xbox 360 via Dell and when I got it today I was excited to see that the manufacture date and lot numbers corresponded to what I had read for the Jasper. However after finding and reading this article I've come to realize I've got that rare breed you warned about. It's the 1st gen Xbox with HDMI and a manufactured date of 10-23-08. WTF! So mad.

    I might just return the thing because why spend current model prices and take an old model car, right? (No, this Xbox ain't a classic.)

    Good thing I called Dell before I opened it and complained that the packaging was terrible and the Xbox box was damaged. They said I can open it up and try it out and send it back if it's damaged. I might just do it, get a refund and go get a Jasper at a local store.
    Reply
  • HwaZy - Tuesday, December 30, 2008 - link

    Wow! I was told in early Nov. that MS will not issue pre-Jasper in retail channels. They will be offered as repair replacement or refurbished only.

    I am lucky then and just received my Arcade from DELL today. I wasa a bittle concerned because I used discount coupon. Before I opened it, I confirmed it is indeed Jasper: 12.1V and made 10-18-2008 (3 days after the pictured). The lot#, built-in 256MB memory and bundle label and everything described. Now after opened, the 150W PSU and power connector all confirm it is Jasper. It even has one flyer for the New Experience update.

    Great article!
    Reply
  • Stop It - Saturday, December 13, 2008 - link

    Hey there all

    I like the article, it helps those wanting to ID their systems well, except for my 360, which...makes no sense.

    My 360 (Lot 0745, Made Nov 2007), uses a 175Watt PSU and the Falcon PSU input, but indicates that it uses 16,5A for its 12V rail, an indication of a Zephyr?

    Now I WAS 100% sure I had a Falcon, and I'm still pretty sure, but this has confused the hell out of me, surely the Zephyr wouldn't even work with a 175Watt PSU...would it?
    Reply
  • turbobozz - Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - link

    You're not going to have a Zephyr on Falcon current, but you could have a Falcon on Zephyr current.
    Don't sweat it... you were probably right that you have a Falcon.
    Reply
  • daqman - Friday, December 12, 2008 - link

    I have two words for Microsoft and any other chip maker fo that matter....Gallium Arsenide! Heat would be a non-factor because there is very little resistence with said substance, therefore it would increase speed also. Reply
  • turbobozz - Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - link

    What are you smoking?
    You don't know what you are talking about.
    Using GaAs would make it far, far more expensive.
    And it you're very much misrepresenting the true benefits GaAs has over Si
    (Which aren't generally applicable to the 360.)

    Wikipedia has a decent article on GaAs... look it up.
    Reply
  • araczynski - Friday, December 12, 2008 - link

    so far my late 2006 xenon has been working flawlessly, i'll keep my fingers crossed that it stays that way. i wonder if anyone has any records as to what ratio of the failed units were xbox live gold members/players :)

    i don't do multiplayer, so perhaps my xbox loves me for not putting it through all the trash talking wannabe kid drivel.

    i can hope can't i?
    Reply
  • Snarks - Friday, December 12, 2008 - link

    my xbox is 16.5 amp rated but has the 2nd generation console plug...

    ?!?!?!?!?!?!
    Reply

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