Identifying a Jasper

Unlike the Falcon transition, the move to Jasper isn't very clean cut. You can't rely on a lot number or manufacturing date to tell you whether or not you've got a Jasper, there are some hints and only one sure-fire way to determine if you're holding a box with a Jasper inside without actually opening the packaging.

The hints are pretty basic: the Xbox 360 Arcade bundles appear to be the best chance at getting a Jasper right now, although there have been reports of some Xbox 360 Pro systems featuring Jasper. As of now there haven't been any confirmed Elites that have the Jasper boards in them. Remember that Jasper is not only a potential fix for the RRoD, but is also a cost reduction for Microsoft - the GPU die is smaller and the power supply is less powerful, which means lower overall costs - something that makes the most sense in the most price constrained of the three Xbox 360s available today: the $199 Arcade.

Xbox 360 Arcade Things to Look For Likelihood that You've Got a Jasper
Lot # 0842X or newer Maybe
Xbox 360 Arcade Sticker Markings XGX-00019 Probably a Guarantee
Xbox 360 Arcade Sticker Markings Value Bundle 2008 E Probably a Guarantee
Current Rating on 12V Rail 12.1A Guaranteed

 

The first thing you'll want to do is look at the sticker on the outside of the box, this will have the lot number, team and some other potentially useful information. The lot numbers you're looking for are 0842X or newer, although unlike Falcon-hunting, the lot number won't guarantee you a Jasper. The lot number refers to the year and week that the console was built, 08 being the year, 42 being the 42nd week of the year. The X is there for, well, good luck I guess. The team isn't as important as it was in the Falcon days either, Xbox 360 Arcade bundles marked lot 0842X from team CSON and FDOU have been both Jasper or Falcons.

If you can't rely on the lot number and manufacturing team, then what can you? The sticker on the side of the box holds the first clues, while you can find the lot number here that's just a quick way of determining the likelihood of you having found a Jasper (e.g. if your lot number is really old, like 0830 then it's not a Jasper). There are two lines that right now appear to be good indications that you may have found a Jasper, I've highlighted them in the picture below:

If you see this XGX-00019 line below the top barcode, chances are that you've got a Jasper. And if you see this Xbox 360 Arcade System Value Bundle 2008 E line (exactly like that, note that this only applies to Arcade units) then you most likely have a Jasper as well. If you want full confirmation though you'll need to look at the current rating on the 12V rail which, believe it or not, you can do without ever opening the box.

Microsoft cut out a little window in the Xbox 360 packaging to allow the barcode/serial number to be scanned. Looking through this window the information you want is most likely obstructed by the cardboard cutout and it's to the left of the opening. The least destructive way to get access to this information is to push down on the Xbox 360 itself through the window on the right side, which will hopefully reveal the information you're looking for. A quicker, easier and potentially get-you-kicked-out-of-the-store way is to push the cardboard itself to the left a bit, possibly even tearing it slightly, to reveal the text you're interested in. The line you're looking for is this:


12.1A on the 12V rail nets you a Jasper

The important text is the current rating on the 12V line, which is immediately to the left of the current rating on the 5V rail. The three options here are 16,5A, 14,2A and 12,1A. All that really matters is the last digit, if you see a 5 then you've got a Zephyr, if you see a 2 you've got a Falcon (most likely) or if you see a 1 you've got a Jasper (take it and run).

12V Current Rating Xbox 360 Revision
16,5A Zephyr
14,2A Falcon
12,1A Jasper

 

Now some Jaspers have been mislabeled as 14,2A, but no Zephyr or Falcon has been mislabeled as 12,1A. The explanation is simple, this rating indicates what sort of power supply you'll need to use with the machine. Zephyr and Falcon boxes can't run with only 12.1A on the 12V rail, you'd end up with a box that either crashed a lot, rebooted or had other undesirable behavior (assuming it would even start, assuming you could even find a power supply that you could plug into it). There's only one Xbox 360 power supply that can deliver a max of 12.1A on the 12V rail, that is the 150W power supply that is keyed to only work on Jaspers. Find a machine with 12,1A written on the back of it and you've got yourself a Jasper.

Sneaky Microsoft: Still Shipping Zephyrs

In my Jasper hunting I came across a strange beast, I found an Xbox 360 Pro with lot number 0843X. I figured it was new enough that it could be a Jasper, but looking at the 12V current rating I found that it was a 16.5A unit. I thought perhaps it was mislabeled and I'd heard about some newer systems having a 16.5A 12V rating, so I thought I'd buy it and take a closer look.

Once I got it home I confirmed: the machine was a Zephyr, that's the original Xbox 360 hardware with HDMI support, meaning a 90nm CPU, 90nm GPU and 90nm eDRAM - the very configuration most likely to Red Ring. I'm guessing it's a reworked Xbox 360 that never made it out of the factory in the first place due to an instant failure; something Microsoft fixed and sent out at a much later date.

Even if you don't care about getting a Jasper, it may be worth looking into what it is you are getting to make sure that you're not stuck with a box that's more likely to fail.

Index Confirming Your Jasper
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  • Roy2001 - Wednesday, December 10, 2008 - link

    Anand, could you put some noise benchmarks? I have 2 original xbox's and they are very noisy. I am thinking to get a 360, but I really hate the noise...

    Thanks,
    Roy
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Thursday, December 11, 2008 - link

    Unfortunately the loudest thing in the 360 is still the DVD drive, I didn't notice a audible difference between the Falcon and the Jasper.

    -A
    Reply
  • gohepcat - Wednesday, December 10, 2008 - link

    Ohh god yes. Please give some noise comparisons Reply
  • SuckRaven - Wednesday, December 10, 2008 - link

    "First let's get the codenames right. The first Xbox 360 was released in 2005 and used a motherboard codenamed Xenon. The Xenon platform featured a 90nm Xenon CPU (clever naming there), a 90nm Xenos GPU and a 90nm eDRAM. Microsoft added HDMI support to Xenon and called it Zephyr, the big three chips were still all 90nm designs."

    Just thought I'd make the observation that Intel's server and workstation CPUs are called Xeon, not Xenon.

    Xenon is the noble gas used in car headlights.

    Anyways...
    Reply
  • James5mith - Thursday, December 11, 2008 - link

    "Just thought I'd make the observation that Intel's server and workstation CPUs are called Xeon, not Xenon.

    Xenon is the noble gas used in car headlights.

    Anyways... "

    You do know that the tri-core CPU within the Xbox360 isn't made by Intel, right?

    It's a PowerPC chip, codenamed Xenon. Thus his comment about Xenon being a clever naming scheme for the entire original platform. (Just name it after the CPU's codename.)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xbox_360">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xbox_360
    Reply
  • js01 - Wednesday, December 10, 2008 - link

    It's kind of pathetic the amount of money some of us spend on our pc just to play console ports that run worse then 4 year old hardware. Reply
  • bill3 - Thursday, December 11, 2008 - link

    See my post on page 1.

    It isnt an X800, thats an inaccuracy by Anand. It's more of a X1800/1900 class card, just as PS3 uses a 500 mhz 7800/7900GTX.

    I think your point is pretty valid though. PC's today just mostly get console ports that dont take advantage of the superior PC hardware. The only game in the last few years built to take advatage of PC really is Crysis.
    Reply
  • coldpower27 - Thursday, December 11, 2008 - link

    I would say Fallout 3 was one of them that got a good PC version. Reply
  • kilkennycat - Wednesday, December 10, 2008 - link

    Yep, and for the latest classic example, consider the PC port of GTA4. This port hold the all-time (so far) rotten-banana-prize for the worst console to PC port of a major video-game. Besides the DRM and gross game-play/graphics bugs, the game REQUIRES at least 3 CPU-cores for optimum performance. Code obviously ported over from the 3-core Xbox360 version, with zero optimization for a fewer number of far more capable PC CPU cores. The cartoon-type graphics puts little stress on the GPU. Hopefully, Anandtech in one of the occasional PC game-related articles will lacerate Rockstar and Take Two for this lazily-awful port to the PC. Reply
  • seriouscat - Wednesday, December 10, 2008 - link

    Comon AT! Wheres the temperature benchmarks? This was the single most interesting test I was looking foward to after all these months and what do I read? Nothing! Reply

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