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


View All Comments

  • kratos4u - Saturday, July 03, 2010 - link

    xbox 360 console sells high = pirated copies

    if MS take measures to stops piracy 100% = sales down

    torrent = xbox 360 sales.

    any 1 agree

    sorry xbox 360 fanboys
  • evilowner - Tuesday, August 17, 2010 - link

    ur logic is flawed big time any type of data is torrent..... before u target 1 thing plz do alittle research PS3 GAMEES ? also ? 0_o moives? music? programs etc do i need to keeping typing dump little kid.... torrents is to lower prices so ur not paying 150 for ur low quality data.... torrents keep prices in check... period. Reply
  • viocosi - Thursday, July 08, 2010 - link

    In the new xbox 360 slim is possible to use the iXtreme firmware? Reply
  • fiftey - Monday, July 12, 2010 - link

    As the article shows, there are minor improvements in power consumption and noise levels with the larger single fan, but I don't care about noise levels. The issue I have is does this fan provide sufficient cooling? With lots of people complaining on amazon.com that their brand new Xbox 360 S is already red-lighting and breaking down, I wonder whether microsoft have messed up again by focusing too hard on lowering noise levels by using a larger fan and lowering fan speeds and not providing sufficient cooling for the singular, larger heatsink.

    I'd like to see some comparison data on the operating temperatures of the valhalla and jasper and if the new xbox is indeed still running hot, a step by step tutorial of how users can simply mod their new 360s so that the fan is always at max speed
  • tipoo - Thursday, July 14, 2011 - link

    AFAIK the failure rates of the new slims are below 1% (don't remember the source) vs above 30 for the original. All electronics have a certain failure rate, below 1% is good enough for me. Reply
  • draco2210 - Saturday, July 17, 2010 - link

    anyone heard any news or updates about flashing the new DG-16D4S drives yet? Reply
  • pfeifer220 - Tuesday, July 27, 2010 - link

    I lost the connector and power brick to my new 360 slim, does anybody know where or how I can purchase just these 2 items alone? Reply
  • butanebob - Thursday, July 29, 2010 - link

    "Needless to say, I wasn’t terribly happy about purchasing a sixth Xbox 360, but here it is:"

    People like you are the reason the RROD was even an issue. No wonder microsoft didn't bother sorting it out 5 years ago....
  • walkerfsu18 - Monday, August 02, 2010 - link

    i have the 360 slim but on it i hate how its the same as ps3,there are these white spots i just cant get off,i tried everything,any ideas? Reply
  • evilowner - Tuesday, August 17, 2010 - link

    1st off why argue over a shitie disk? dvd n blue-ray both fucking suck peroid. MY HARD DRIVE..... yea i said it..... the hard drive loads and stores way more than both of those n are both garbage. my hard drive loads a million times fast than both of them : P so any type of dvd isnt the future its ur hard drive......... 1 it loads a million times faster. 2 . it holds way more... uhhh terabyte hard drives.... come on.... why would i want a dvd or a blue ray disk?? yup i wouldnt..... they shouldnt even make disks anymore..... when u can dl the game to the hard drive n be done with it n never ever have to buy the game again..... or movie or even music..... enought is said, if u dont get it...sigh.... than u will never know how close to the future u truely are, n should go back into ur cave. ty. peace ! Reply

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