Power Consumption: 50% of the Original Xbox 360, and Quieter

Moore’s Law is good for any of three things: 1) increasing performance, 2) adding features, 3) reducing power. Consoles have the benefit of not having to worry about improving performance or adding features over time. There are no changing API specs and games are always designed to the same hardware performance level. This leaves us with improvements in power consumption (and Microsoft’s profitability).


The new Xbox 360 power connector (right). It's slim.

The new power brick isn’t compatible with the old Xbox 360s. At 135W it isn’t enough to power even the Jasper Xbox 360 and thus you get a new power connector. It’s much lighter than the old unit and a bit smaller, but still larger than anything you’d get with a notebook for obvious reasons.


New power brick (left) vs Old power brick (right)

Given my plethora of Xbox 360s I happen to have a good amount of historical data on power consumption for all of the major revisions, I’ve added the relevant Valhalla numbers below.

Power Consumption Comparison
Xbox 360 Revision System Off Idle Halo 3 Rockband 2 Gears of War 2 Red Dead Redemption
Xbox 360 Slim (Valhalla) 0.6W 70.4W 87.0W 82.7W 88.0W 90.4W
Xbox 360 Late 2008 - 2010 (Jasper) 2.0W 93.7W 105.9W 101.0W 105.9W 109.3W
Xbox 360 Late 2007 - 2008 (Falcon) 2.8W 101.4W 121.2W 112.8W 121.5W  
Xbox 360 2005 - 2007 (Xenon) 2.3W 155.7W 177.8W 167.7W 177.1W  

The biggest improvement is actually when the system is totally off. The new Xbox 360 slim pulled 0.6W compared to over 2W for the older 360s while doing nothing more than being plugged in. Idle power is roughly 75% of what it was with the Jasper Xbox 360 and load power is around 80 - 83% of what we saw with the previous generation. Note that the new Xbox 360 consumes less than half the power of the original 360!

Idle power consumption is actually not very impressive for a 40nm Xbox 360 if that's indeed what we're looking at. A modern day Core i5 system with an efficient power supply will idle at under 70W with a beefy discrete graphics card. While this is a significant drop compared to previous Xbox iterations, it's not impressive as a computing device.

The savings are tangible however and also result in a cooler, quieter system. The CPU and GPU are now cooled by a single, larger fan that keeps idle noise down to a minimum. I measured noise levels between Valhalla and Jasper at 2” away from the chassis and came up with the numbers below:

Sound Comparison
  Xbox 360 Slim (Valhalla) Xbox 360 Late 2008 - 2010 (Jasper)
Idle 45 dB(A) 50 dB(A)
Load (Spinning Disc) 51 dB(A) 54 dB(A)

The measurements were taken in my office with a noise floor of around 37 dB(A). At idle the new Xbox 360 slim is noticeably quieter, but still audible. The drop in idle noise is perfect for those of you who use the Xbox 360 as a HTPC of sorts. You can still get quieter out of a well designed HTPC however.

While spinning a disc the old Jasper was absurdly loud it is more bearable on the new 360. It’s still not silent (nor can it be while quickly spinning a disc) and you’ll still scratch discs if you move the Xbox 360 while a disc is spinning, but it’s an improvement.

Much Prettier than the Original Getting Inside the new Xbox 360
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  • HellcatM - Saturday, June 19, 2010 - link

    I guess MS is using different DVD drives because this article says its using a Lite-on, while the one from the link below says it uses a Panasonic. Both are good drives from good companies.

    http://www.crunchgear.com/2010/06/17/someone-has-a...
    Reply
  • Ganesh_balan - Sunday, June 20, 2010 - link

    So I happened to read somewhere that although MS says the console cannot RROD it can RDOD and seems like a home user actually faced the wrath. His console was asked to shut down. :D

    Take that MS!
    Reply
  • kratos4u - Tuesday, June 22, 2010 - link

    xbox 360s slim = "no RROD" its RDOD (red dot of death ) this time . 299$ worthless . xbox 360 sales high reason pirated games.

    sorry xbox 360 fanboys

    PS3 godz console
    Reply
  • bill4 - Wednesday, June 23, 2010 - link

    i owned a PS3, it's remarkably poorly engineered. Terrible console, terrible controller, terrible games, terrible graphics. Even the much vaunted Uncharted actually looks pretty janky. Reply
  • TreDawg - Tuesday, June 22, 2010 - link

    Does the new 360 still use a 100mbit ethernet port? I was really hoping for them to make the move to gigabit. Reply
  • TheLaw5 - Thursday, June 24, 2010 - link

    There's no real point to having Gig networking on a 360. It all reality, it would just be more expenditures and costs for them to put a Gigabit chip on board. That 2.5inch drive isn't going to be making any impressive read/writes. And 10/100mbps Ethernet does a fine job at HD streaming and for Xbox Live...so you know...

    Yes, it would be nice, but no need.

    But to answer your question, I don't know if it has 1000mbps Ethernet, but I highly doubt it.
    Reply
  • tipoo - Sunday, December 05, 2010 - link

    Why would you ever need gigabit ethernet in the 360? Streaming 1080p content is still far far away from saturating a 100Mbit connection, and even file transfers would get bottlenecked elsewhere. Reply
  • victor2585222 - Monday, June 28, 2010 - link

    Umm I wanna buy this new 360 because my old one broke but if I buy the new 360 I would waste my hard drive 80$ Wifi 100$ and a second pair controllers 60$ and my harddrive has all my games in it losing all my achivamants so should I get this new 360 or buy a regular one? If you chose one plz tell me a reason why? Reply
  • Diddy Dave - Thursday, July 01, 2010 - link

    Great piece on taking the new XBox apart.
    I see you show the wi-fi card being removed, which is great. Have you tried to play on it without the wi-fi card plugged in?

    I ask because myself and a number of friends get ill from being near wi-fi, and my current 360 is starting to have problems. As such I'll need to get another 360 before my choices are taken away.

    thanks.
    Reply
  • lazzydragon - Saturday, July 03, 2010 - link

    I can't find anything about the scratching of the disks. Both of our xboxes, the original, and the 360 elite, have scratched up a few disks each. We do not turn it on it's side, and we don't move the xbox while it is being played. This usually happens within an hour of playing a new game. (HATE paying over 100$ for one game!!!) I was wondering if this was fixed in the new version. I saw that in the old version, a lot of people had to mod their' own. This is our deciding factor in whether we buy an xbox slim or not. All of our other concerns seem to have been addressed. Thankyou!!!

    Monica
    Reply

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