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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  • george1976 - Thursday, December 11, 2008 - link

    I feel sorry for the x360 buyers that experienced RROD. I cant picture myself buying a product with such a high rate of failure.....50%???? Damn. Reply
  • TiM3SH1FT - Thursday, December 11, 2008 - link

    Anyone knows if the new Jasper is out on other models than the Arcade?

    I'd like to have Jasper but not the arcade pack...

    Also how do I transfer my HDD content to a new HDD?
    Reply
  • 01wolff - Thursday, December 11, 2008 - link

    When you get a Xbox that has a larger hard drive, you can go on the Xbox 360 site under support and request the transfer kit. It is free from microsoft. They messed up and sent me two of them. If you buy just the hard drive, some come with the kit already (like the 120Gb hard drives). If you just change from one 20Gb to another 20 Gb drive, or from a 60 Gb drive to another 60Gb drive.... Microsoft won't do anything. You have to go up in hard drive capacity. Once you have the kit, then you have to go on the 360 site to modify your DRM information also.

    The alternitave is to not get the transfer kit, change your DRM info on the site, and download everything again. I think using the kit is a better option. (did it from my 360 Prem to my 360 Elite)
    Reply
  • Myrandex - Thursday, December 11, 2008 - link

    I'm not saying that the failures are made up, but I did want to indicate that I have an original XBox360 Premium and it is still standing up well to the test of time. I have thought about trying to get it real hot and see if it fails just to RMA it and hope for a new one with maybe HDMI and less electricity usage, but I'm pretty satisfied with mine.
    Jason
    Reply
  • 01wolff - Thursday, December 11, 2008 - link

    After reading this I had to check both of my 360's. What I found baffled me. My Elite 360 had the 12v like the Jasper, but the second-generation power plug. Hummmmmmmm. Reply
  • rekcah2000a - Thursday, December 11, 2008 - link

    Same here 16.5A on sticker but power supply 175W and Opus/Falcon power connector
    A new strange beats from M$ ?
    Tom from BELGIUM
    Reply
  • bill3 - Thursday, December 11, 2008 - link

    The power usage comparisons, and most important the die size comparisons are great stuff for console/GPU tech junkies like myself.

    Although now that I've seen the comments wishing for noise level comparisons, I have to admit that would have made the article complete..
    Reply
  • bill3 - Thursday, December 11, 2008 - link

    Besides comparing Xenos to X1800, another inaccuracy was referring to the 256MB internal flash as a improvement. All that does is replace the 256 MB external memory card that used to come with Arcade unit. In essence the same memory card comes with the unit as before, it has just now been made internal. If anything this is a downgrade, as the external mem card has the advantage of portability, aka taking your profile and saves to a friends house and so forth.

    I believe MS made the memory internal to prevent it from being separated from the console in anyway (lost, etc) and having consoles not capable of running NXE (NXE requires 128 MB memory I believe, though I'm not sure if thats only for the install?) out there in the wild. That's my theory.
    Reply
  • poohbear - Thursday, December 11, 2008 - link

    BLASPHEMERSS!!!!! you review console stuff on a pc hardware site?!!?!?? how could u
    ?!?!?
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Thursday, December 11, 2008 - link

    The subtitle says "your source for hardware analysis and news". As this is hardware, I'd say it fits more than reviews of games... Reply

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