Against my better judgment I traded in my old, perfectly functional 360 and picked up the new hotness. I did this for a few reasons, mostly having to do with the new “S” model’s higher storage capacity and built in Wi-Fi. The prospect of having a game console that didn’t sound like a jet taking off also appealed to me. Using GameStop’s trade in deals, I only ended up paying about $100 for the whole thing, so all in all not a bad exchange.
Like we’ve seen in the various press shots of the new 360, the glossy black finish does look very nice and it bears more than a little resemblance to an Alienware computer with both its colors and its hard, angular lines. One thing I have against the new outer design is that the pressure sensitive buttons to turn on the system and open the disk tray are very, very touchy. I barely brushed the power button with my finger and the whole console turned off while it was loading a game, so that might be an issue playing Rock Band at rowdy parties. It’s also pretty astounding how much smaller the new console is compared to the old one. Without the massive hard drive jutting out the side, the new 360 takes up a very small space on my floor and looks positively puny next to my old PS3 “fat”. Microsoft’s new console features a lot more fans than the last one, the most noticeable being the giant port on top of the box, taking up almost half of the surface.
Internal shots of the new 360 shows that the top fan is directly over the heat sinks, and good lord does this thing get hot. Honestly, I’m a little concerned about how hot the top fan gets, even if the rest of the console is relatively cool. I understand that the more hot air that is being pushed out of the box the better, but I’m a little paranoid when dealing with Microsoft products at this point. To be fair, my PS3 did get fairly toasty when playing God of War 3, so I guess it remains to be seen if this will become a problem or not.
On the plus side, the new 360 is amazingly quiet, so much so that if it weren’t for the “beep” noise the console makes when it turns on, I would have no idea it was operating at all. The new system draws much less power than the older models, and even when loading a data-intensive game like Red Dead Redemption, the fans barely come above whisper-volume levels. If you’re looking for a detailed breakdown on the internal workings of the “Valhalla” 360, Anandtech has a very nice write up, complete with pictures.
If it weren’t for the issue with the ridiculous temperatures coming out of the top fan, I’d be very pleased with the new X-Box model. The console does have a built in fail-safe to prevent it from overheating, like most consumer electronics, but the Red Ring of Death still makes me fear for my system (and my wallet).
Those are my basic thoughts on the new 360. Did any of you pick this up, or has my write up changed your mind?