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.

On To The Next One Power Consumption: 50% of the Original Xbox 360, and Quieter
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  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Friday, June 18, 2010 - link

    I'm guessing cost more than anything else, this thing has to be as cheap as possible in order to turn a profit.

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • landerf - Friday, June 18, 2010 - link

    Slim DVD drive's cost more and are slower to read discs. Having engineered a HTPC that fits into a 360 case with a full size drive, psu, and real gfx card (90 degree pci-e riser) I can tell you it's all about engineering smartly. If there's plenty of room for something bigger but cheaper then that's just what makes sense to use. Reply
  • Guspaz - Friday, June 18, 2010 - link

    The 360 uses a 12x DVD drive, so at least the rotational speed of the drive isn't hard to match (slim drives also go up to 12x). I'm not sure if the average seek time would be fast enough in a slim drive, though.

    Another consideration is that a slim drive would have required Microsoft to switch to a slot loading system like Nintendo and Sony use; a slim tray would be too flimsy for a console, and requiring the user to snap the disk onto the central spindle might have been a bit awkward.

    To be honest, though, I'd rather have had the new xbox use a slot-loading slim drive and an internal power supply.
    Reply
  • adam92682 - Friday, June 18, 2010 - link

    The Saturn, Playstation, and Gamecube required the user to snap the disc onto the central spindle. Reply
  • nubie - Friday, June 18, 2010 - link

    Ha, you forgot the Dreamcast and Sega CD.

    Seriously, that doesn't look like a full-size drive to me (I could be wrong). Not a slmiline drive, but doesn't seem full-size to me. Since they are using custom drives all they need be concerned with is the size of the actual electro-mechanical bits and circuit boards.

    I like the HS design, looks like an OEM bundled PC HS/Fan, maybe we will see some heatpipe versions.

    I like the HDD tray, looks like with a simple plastic carrier you can slot in any laptop style HDD. (Or just stuff newspapers around it if you don't care about fire.)
    Reply
  • sprockkets - Friday, June 18, 2010 - link

    Limited to 8x. Unless you can show me a 12x drive. They've been stuck on 8x for years. Reply
  • NaMcOJR - Saturday, June 19, 2010 - link

    It's the only thing that's missing there, yeah... Reply
  • rorrim180 - Sunday, November 28, 2010 - link

    I would guess that they could not implement a mechanism to close the tray if they used a slim drive. Reply
  • arnavvdesai - Friday, June 18, 2010 - link

    While power has increased considerably for the PC counterparts, I still dont see any better cooling methods introduced. Even if were to assume that Microsoft would stick a 5870 into their box I dont see how they can cool such a beast in a small form factor. We would need to move to a lower die size in order to be able to adequately cool the device. Also, we need to remember that TVs have a hit the 1080p mark and will not move to a higher resolution anytime soon, so console makers will have to push technology in different area of improvements. Also, what about buffers for the GPU? While CPUs can make do with 12 MB of L3 cache what about GPUs. With higher textures we need the ability to feed the beast and consoles will need to somehow figure that out.
    Also game developers have not really demanded higher capabilities from the consoles. I have a 5870 in my PC and having played the same games on PC and my 360 I dont see much difference in fidelity .
    We must also remember that software for this generation cost a lot more to develop for. This means that if a new technology was introduced they would have to optimize for it at an even higher cost and most devs are not ready for it.
    The only reason I see in the future which would demand more power from consoles is 3D. If significant market penetration is achieved (which is a long way IMHO) then and only then will we demand more from our consoles. Also, Microsoft will have a tough choice when it comes to the media they want their games to be on. Blu-Ray seems to be the only alternative at the moment and I am sure Microsoft would prefer something more( them getting that is a different thing altogether)
    Reply
  • Earthmonger - Friday, June 18, 2010 - link

    I'll state here what I stated elsewhere: This thing looks like a fat woman sat on a DVD player. What were they thinking? I don't want it anywhere near my EC.

    Hopefully someone will put out some decent-looking aftermarket cases. And at just $300, warranty isn't really a concern.
    Reply

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