I know I’m a little late to the game – (haha get it?!) but I’ve got a review of the new ‘S Model’ Xbox 360, currently available for purchase everywhere.
Excuse the quality of the images – I didn’t have much to work with.
So there it is. Right off the bat we can see one of the best and smartest additions to this system; additional top ventilation. Why is this smart you ask? Because the biggest issue in that exact area was heat generated from the CPU / GPU overworking to let you blow zombies to chunks in 1080p.
You can also see other additions of glossing the casing (as opposed to the matte black Elites) which looks pretty, but scratches easily, as my particular Xbox can already prove a few times. The addition of the chrome bezel on the sides is a nice touch, giving the system a very complete look. Don’t let the odd shape fool you – this system is a sexy device. The angle of the shot makes the back look obtuse, but it’s definitely not as rigid as the picture makes it look.
So what are we looking for in this system? Will it measure up? Let’s find out.
Notable features Microsoft boasts about this console:
3. Improved HD
4. Built in Wi-Fi
As you can see, the entire console has been changed drastically. The power button is now completely touch activated, as well as the eject button, which has been moved up above the disc drive. The memory card slots have been removed, due to flash drives / external hard drives being allowed to move up to 16gb of data from system to system, as of April 2010. The USB ports (2 in the front, 3 in the back) have also been altered, changing from vertical to horizontal. The sync button is now added to the left of the USB crevice.
On the back, we have a different adapter area, meaning the new black, tone spewing power brick (makes audible noise when console is turned on / off, or disc tray is opened / closed) is the only one you can use with this bad boy. HDMI and Component ports remain the same, although the new Component cables have been thinned out, and are regrettably only Standard Definition. I highly suggest investing in an HDMI cable and chucking the cable that comes with the console in the nearest dumpster. To the left of the video ports there is an ethernet and “Auxiliary” port that hasn’t appeared to have any function outside of looking like a firewire port. To the left of that is the 3 USB ports, one of which is “super-powered” for future Kinect use. (Fall 2010) This port brings one edge over the old 360′s; You won’t have to run Kinect to a power source, just plug it in. With older 360′s, you will have to have Kinect hooked into an alternative power source.
This is perhaps one of the more interesting changes in the console, as it proves just how much the motherboard of the console has been changed and rearranged. The hard drive now plugs into a hidden area (with the plastic grating over it, outside of a small clasp area to open it, there’s no evidence it’s even there) directly into the console, on the bottom. Now this doesn’t sound like much, but to reroute a motherboard to the point where the hard drive hooks in completely differently from the other side of it (where the gigantic fans of Xbox old used to be, for those that remember) is quite a feat.
Another notable feature of this ‘S Model’ motherboard is the combination of the CPU and GPU as well as eDRAM into a single chip – (no picture, but if you google around, you can find it) which will significantly reduce heat produced by the console, simultaneously reducing the need to cool it, which brings us to the feature Microsoft brags on about.
“Whisper Quiet gaming.”
Due to this chip, there was no longer a need for jet-engine sounding fans, and the dual fans have been removed and replaced with one smaller, much quieter fan. In fact, when the console is on, old Xbox 360 owners will be greeted with an eerie, unfamiliar silence. This system runs with literally no sound to let you know it’s going. Of course this all changes once you put a disc in – spinning up a disc makes noise no matter how you do it – but it’s still significantly quieter than the last generation.
The Hard Drive:
The new HD sports 250gb, which will be familiar to anyone who owns the ‘Modern Warfare 2 Edition’ 360. It’s best and worst feature is not the size however, it is the shape. Due to the console reworking, the hard drive also went through quite a makeover. A glossy black disk the size of your palm, this makes it not only easier to move around (the obtuse shapes of the old hard drives made it hard to move seperate of the console) but also completely incompatible with older 360′s. Now don’t fret, the earlier mentioned flash drive / external drive makes switching over to this 360 easy as can be. Also, if you own a hard drive transfer cable, you’re set, as it also works with this system.
Built In Wi-Fi:
This is a feature 360 owners have been screaming from the rooftops for since the consoles release. With both the Wii and PS3 being released natively with built in Wi-Fi, 360 owners were hard pressed to say they were getting the best deal, especially with a $99 price tag attached to Microsoft’s Wireless Adapter. Now, this doesn’t necessarily add to the console if you run a wired set up, but if you bent over and took that Wireless Adapter, it’s a very welcome relief to not be calling your ISP wondering why you can’t connect to Xbox Live, only to realize it somehow got unplugged.
All in all, Microsoft designed a newer, more modern looking console, adding in some nice features while doing their best to accommodate previous system owners in the move to Slim. Would I recommend the system? If you’re still running an Xbox 360 ‘Pro’ model with anything less than 60gb of memory (or it’s 2 years old or older), yes I would.
If you have a newer console, (under 2 years) or an Elite, you should be in the clear for at least a little while longer.
With an incredibly reasonable price tag of $299, (Price of an Elite 120gb HD model, $100 more than an Arcade that came with no HD) even if you’re only looking to modernize your gaming area, this won’t break the bank.
Built in WiFi
New HD won’t work with 98% of your friends consoles
Glossy case sucks for any kind of movement
Eject button is constantly activated when trying to put in / take out a disc
Rating – 8.5/10
Category: Tech News
About the Author (Author Profile)
Hamilton, Ontario, born and raised. I’m the oldest of two, really into the tech scene. Like my Macbook, Live for my Xbox 360, and LOVE my phones. I work for a large Canadian Telecomm company by day, and a Gizmo Ninja editor by night. I’ve jumped around every mobile OS I can get my hands on, including Symbian, Windows Mobile, WP7, BlackBerry, iOS, Android, etc. Current devices include the HTC Desire Z, HTC Desire HD, Motorola Milestone, HTC HD7, LG Optimus Quantum, and my daily device is my Motorola Atrix.