New Xbox 360 tested, torn asunder

In addition to introducing its Kinect motion controller, Microsoft rolled out an updated version of its Xbox console at this week’s E3 expo. AnandTech’s namesake got his hands on one, and he’s subjected the system to a proper tear-down, complete with loads of pictures of the updated exterior and internals.

Dubbed Valhalla during its development, the new 360 is a little bit smaller than the original. It’s better equipped, too, but draped in the sort of glossy black plastic that will inevitably be marred by greasy fingerprints. Thankfully, sanity seems to have prevailed with the controllers, which trade the shiny top coat for a matte finish that should wear better in gamers’ hands.

Beneath its not-quite-obsidian shell, Valhalla has a new "CGPU" that combines the console’s CPU, GPU, and embedded DRAM on a single chip. These components had previously been located on two separate packages, but they’ve now been consolidated under a single heat spreader thanks to the wonders of 45-nm fabrication technology. The original 360’s Xenon CPU and Xenos GPU were both fabbed on a 90-nm process.

The process shrink appears to pay dividends beyond mere package simplification. Anand’s testing reveals that the new console consumes half the power of the original while gaming and at idle. The beefy new cooler is quieter, too, as is the updated DVD drive. There have also been other upgrades, including the addition of 802.11n Wi-Fi and a 250GB hard drive. Microsoft has even done away with the dreaded Red Ring of Death… by equipping the new system exclusively with green LEDs.

Comments closed
    • Veerappan
    • 12 years ago

    I was thinking the same thing… I used my PS2 as a DVD player for quite a while… in the dorms, not long after I bought the PS2 on launch day…

    I’ve had 2-3 DVD players since then that have bit the dust, but the PS2 is still plugging along (after half a dozen drive cleanings).

    • HisDivineShadow
    • 12 years ago

    FYI, the Wireless N in the Xbox 360 Slim is not the same dual band wireless that they sell, unfortunately.

    • HisDivineShadow
    • 12 years ago

    Actually, Microsoft owns a few of the patents and licenses to things that are in Blu-ray. Last I checked, most every WB blu-ray is using VC1 as its codec.

    Yes, MS profits from a lot of blu-ray sales. Not nearly as much as Sony (or Panasonic). Sony would not prevent MS from making a Blu-ray add on because they probably can’t. However, its not even in their best interests, too. Sony wants everyone to jump on board so they can make even more money selling BD’s.

    Microsoft, despite profiting from BD’s, would rather keep arguing Blu-ray’s irrelevance than acknowledge Sony’s gamble paid off. 😉 It doesn’t hurt that it’s cheaper to use a DVD drive. This is the same company that ignored a golden opportunity to add a slot drive to their design…

    • HisDivineShadow
    • 12 years ago

    Or he can pick up an arcade and use a USB flash drive (or 2) to have all the game save memory he’d ever need. That is, unless he was a hardcore Xbox player who wants to install all his games. Which, since he’s saying he’d buy one to compliment his PS3, I’d say he’s not.

    The only reason I’d recommend him upgrade from the Arcade at those prices is if he’s got great hearing, is annoyed by loud whines, and annoying heat levels/failure rates. Heat levels/failure rates are generally not a problem with the Jasper unit he’s almost certain to get, though.

    • HisDivineShadow
    • 12 years ago

    Makes you wonder why people’d argue about anything related to these consoles except failure rate…

    • HisDivineShadow
    • 12 years ago

    Greece. Is going down and taking the EU with them.

    • Palek
    • 12 years ago

    Ooops, meant as a reply to #56.

    Wow, you guys in the US are getting a pretty rough deal with Blu-ray. Iron Man sells for $13.35 (

    • Krogoth
    • 12 years ago

    I love it when console fanboys argue over specs from hardware that is almost four years old.

    Those DX9-era GPUs (X1900XT with unified shaders versus 7800GT with XDR) are getting long in the tooth. CPUs aren’t really much better either.

    • Vrock
    • 12 years ago

    Except I don’t consider the ‘passable’ versions passable, and I don’t see how anyone else can given what we’ve seen with first party PS3 games over the last few years.

    • PetMiceRnice
    • 12 years ago

    As the old saying goes, your mileage may vary!

    • Pettytheft
    • 12 years ago

    I bought 2 PS1’s because the first broke. After my first PS2’s drive went south and Sony wanted me to pay for a fix I bought an Xbox. I am on my 3rd 360 but I haven’t had to pay for a new one yet.

    • Waco
    • 12 years ago

    That’s exactly why multicore programming is still in its infancy even today.

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 12 years ago

    Yeah, thanks to Sony conditioning so many people into believing it’s acceptable for consoles to have so many things go wrong. MS is just following suit. My PS1 and PS2 both borked. I knew someone who had three different makes of PS2s completely die.

    Meanwhile, every Nintendo and Sega console or handheld I’ve ever known anyone to have still works fine, and most of those have probably seen a lot more use.

    • CasbahBoy
    • 12 years ago

    Lazy, incompetent and apathetic have nothing to do with it. It takes time and costs money. If a studio goes to their publisher and says “we can have a passable PS3 version out by [this date] or you can give us a couple hundred thousand more dollars and we can have a properly running PS3 version out by [this many weeks or months later], the publisher is going to say “release the passable one please” with no hesitation.

    • Sewje
    • 12 years ago

    Nah!, more like Sony won’t licience the blu-ray for Xbox360, think about it, why would sony give them blu-ray for xbox when it’s direct competition to PS3.

    • HisDivineShadow
    • 12 years ago

    About as much chance of a 360 playing Blu-rays as a PS3 accessing Xbox Live. Microsoft only released the HD DVD drive because Toshiba footed the bill for the drives themselves and Microsoft saw an opportunity to help slow Blu-ray adoption. If MS had succeeded in stalling Blu-ray, they could have seriously impaired Sony’s ability to use the feature to help push the PS3 as the console dropped in price.

    Microsoft was never interested in HD DVD succeeding and their tepid support of it, especially in not integrating it into a version of the console, proved that. MS merely wanted to hurt Sony. Helping Toshiba was merely a side effect. When HD DVD support would have cost them time and money to truly push, Microsoft pulled out of even token support. That’s when the whole house of cards crumbled and WB went Blu-ray only. Thus, endeth the HD DVD fiasco.

    • HisDivineShadow
    • 12 years ago

    Haha, well, when you read that ALL of the IGN staff had their launch 360’s die within a year of purchasing them, you KNOW there’s a problem.

    • HisDivineShadow
    • 12 years ago

    Haha, built like a tank. I owned three Xbox’s (regular ones, mind you, not 360’s. I’ve owned five of those) and each one failed, one after another.

    Microsoft’s QA department, imo, is (or perhaps was hopefully?) horrible. My old Xbox’s failed because of the faulty power cables that were burning up Xbox’s back in the day. They even did a recall on it… about six months after mine died. Drives died on another.

    Built like a tank, my butt. Microsoft actually managed to REPEAT the same power cable fiasco on their steering wheel a while later.

    Meanwhile, they managed to “cook up” a few new problems with the RROD’s that plagued the 360’s. Hell, if you call Microsoft’s Xbox line, the first thing it does is ask you if you are having problems with a Red Light or E74 error. I mean, damn. Haha.

    This new 360 is, however, amazingly silent. I mean, damn quiet. And it looks like my PS3 launch unit rocked an Alienware computer’s world and left it with a 9 month long surprise. I think the Alienware is seeking alimony, but the PS3 left the country. Something about wanting to rediscover itself after it lost its job to a matte black youngin’ with a “disturbing lack of gloss.”

    • Kharnellius
    • 12 years ago

    Probably along the lines of, hey you can buy one for $120 bucks now and not put extra wear and tear on your ‘spensive gaming box…that and the licensing thing sucks.

    • blubje
    • 12 years ago

    the price is good, but you have to have a good ISP. Comcast’s 250GB/month may get in the way, and DSL is pretty slow.

    • FuturePastNow
    • 12 years ago

    Chartered, which is now owned by GloFo

    • BobbinThreadbare
    • 12 years ago

    My PS1 is still working, no one has ever had fail rates as high as the 360.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 12 years ago

    RLOF – Red Light of Failure?

    • derFunkenstein
    • 12 years ago

    Slim PS2s support progressive mode playback, and I used my slim PS2 for a DVD player all the time until I got my PS3. Buying a standalone system when what I have works just fine is stupid.

    • PetMiceRnice
    • 12 years ago

    I remember back in the fall of 2004 deciding whether or not to pull the trigger on buying the original Xbox knowing that its successor was about a year away. I thought about skipping the original Xbox and just buying the 360 at launch, but in the end, I decided to buy the Holiday 2004 edition of the original Xbox because I knew I would not be able to get the 360 for the same price at launch. I stuck with my original Xbox and was I ever glad I did. It is built like a tank and it still runs perfectly today. I did end up buying the Xbox 360 Elite 2010 Spring Value Bundle a couple of months ago, and am hopeful that the worst is behind us with the failures.

    • Anonim1979
    • 12 years ago

    RSX is 500Mhz GPU / 650 Mhz (2x – DDR3) Mem. And actualy BOTH pages tells that.

    You have very very outdated info… RSX was planed for 550/700 on paper only.
    Thermal/power/relability issues made it impossible.

    • Dizik
    • 12 years ago

    If you’re going to pick one up, then I would suggest you not get an Arcade if you even think that the small amount of internal memory will become an issue. Either pick up one of the new $300 glossy 360s, or pick up an Elite, or even one from Craigslist. I’d also check Gamestop for used systems as there’s sure to be plenty of people trading in their “old and busted” for the “new hotness”.

    • Vrock
    • 12 years ago

    The best thing about the new Xbox is that the old Arade versions are going for a song as retailers clear out their stocks. I may just have to pick one up to complement my PS3, we’ll see.

    • Vrock
    • 12 years ago

    Why are so many cross-platform games crippled? Because developers are lazy/incompetent/apathetic about the PS3.

    • mafropetee
    • 12 years ago

    I agree. Netflix is the best deal for avid movie watchers anyway. One BD movie costs between $20 and $30 for a movie that you’re probably going to watch once or twice. With Netflix, you’re basically paying $10 a month to have an arsenal of movies (and TV shows) at your disposal without much limitation.

    • eitje
    • 12 years ago

    idiot lights on a vehicle’s dashboard mean that they knew there were flaws in the designs!

    • eitje
    • 12 years ago

    systme beep codes on motherboards mean that they knew there were flaws in the designs!

    • packfan_dave
    • 12 years ago

    DVD royalties are pretty nearly zero at this point (hence you can get $30 DVD players at the grocery store). The original Xbox did not play DVDs out of the box because DVD royalties were higher then, so you needed to buy the remote to play DVDs.

    MS (correctly) judged that in 2005, the cost of including an HD-DVD or Blu-Ray drive wasn’t worth it, since virtually all games would fit on a DVD9 without a problem.

    The next console generation, whenever it gets around to happening, probably wants every game to support 1080p (well, Nintendo may just build something with roughly 360/PS3 level graphics). And I think we’re probably still going to use optical media; downloading a 20GB game takes too long on the typical US internet connection, and flash media isn’t quite cheap enough for a return to cartidges. So it’s likely MS (and even Nintendo) will put Blu-Ray drives in their boxes. However, depending on what the licensing fee situation is (and given that there are $99 BD players now, I’d say they’ve gone down a lot since BD’s launch), either (or both) may not include the ability to play BD movies.

    • Corrado
    • 12 years ago

    How come most cross platform games are rendered in a lower resolution on the PS3? Red Dead Redemption is 576P on the PS3 and 720P on the 360. It still looks wonderful on the PS3, and thats the version I bought, but thats the facts. In fact, just about the ONLY game said to look and run better on the PS3 is the new Final Fantasy game.

    • no51
    • 12 years ago

    Global Foundries, apparently.

    • jss21382
    • 12 years ago

    no, it means they included diagnostic functions in the machine so they could easily support it without sending it in needlessly. RRoD can easily be created by a loose power cord. Without the failure codes provided by the blinking lights it’d make support more difficult.

    • maroon1
    • 12 years ago

    The second website that you posted claims that RSX is clocked at 500MHz. This is false, RSX is clocked at 550MHz, not 500MHz

    • Anonim1979
    • 12 years ago

    Therea ARE full 1080p NATIVE games on X360. A few only on both. Fifa street, NBA Street, Sacred 2 etc. On PS3 also there are some – mostly however PSN simplier games.
    List of Rendering Resolutions + basics on hardware scaling, MSAA, framebuffers
    §[<http://forum.beyond3d.com/showthread.php?t=46241<]§ X360 can upscale ANY game to 1920x1080 , in PS3 scaller is broken. In X360 has better newer and stronger GPU than PS3. PS3 has stronger better CPU (though hard to program). §[<http://www.pcvsconsole.com/comparisons/xbox-360-vs-ps3-gpu/<]§ Custom built GPU in X360 being newer technology (nearly DX10 card) beats it in most cases in multiplatform games. You need to write specialy optimised engines that use RSX in tandem with Cell to show what PS3 is capable. Exclusive games on PS3 are better, multiplatform on X360. etc.

    • ub3r
    • 12 years ago

    The fact that they incorporated the red ring of death in the original, means that they knew there were flaws in the designs.

    • sydbot
    • 12 years ago

    Who fabs this thing anyway??

    • sydbot
    • 12 years ago

    Video up scaling to 1080p is waaay different than rendering games at 1080p.

    • Entroper
    • 12 years ago

    The Blu-ray royalties would be on top of the DVD royalties, so it’s certainly a factor. Plus, I’m sure Sony would jack up the fees quite a bit for a direct competitor. Last but not least, you can buy a standalone Blu-ray player for $150 now (probably less for an el cheapo one), so it’s not nearly the selling point that it once was for the PS3, and will be even less so by the time Black Friday hits this year. I’m predicting $49 players on BF and $99 or less throughout the season.

    • swaaye
    • 12 years ago

    I remember those days. When people were all pumped to get PS2 partly because…it could play DVDs! OMG! Thrilling! 🙂 Then the PS2s started dieing, yada yada, DVD players dropped to $50, etc.

    Hey I also remember the people who were buying those several hundred $$ DVD decoder cards w/ DVD-ROM packages to watch DVDs on the puny 15-17″ computer monitors of the time. Big monies out the window.

    • Kurotetsu
    • 12 years ago

    Hey, I used my PS2 Slim as a DVD player all the time! It worked great, in fact–

    l[<--except poor college students.<]l Oh...uhh, nevermind. Carry on.

    • Shining Arcanine
    • 12 years ago

    Since many people are just buying new XBox 360s when theirs fail, I think that there are only 10 million to 15 million testers.

    • Shining Arcanine
    • 12 years ago

    There is still one red LED in the new XBox 360. It is in the center of the ring and it is active when a failure occurs.

    • Meadows
    • 12 years ago

    I see, Microsoft didn’t elaborate enough then.

    • C-A_99
    • 12 years ago

    Well, they’ve had no trouble improving their current CPU’s and GPU’s (and merging them together) so if their architecture is flexibile enough, I’d think it’s at least possible to release a console with an improved GPU supporting higher resolutions, though the main limit to this is cost. It’s quite likely that no one is willing to spend $100-$200 more for 1080p support even if better/more consistent framerates are another benefit. (That’s why we have the PC, of course.)

    Considering that, it’s odd that people want blu-ray support which has no use for the 360 at all outside of big RPG/adventure games. Blu-ray won’t make games magically work in 1080p either which I’m not sure why people seem to be believing (or why Sony is marketing) that. Sony did talk about BD’s at E3 and how they enable HD (which is obviously only true for movies) but I’d have to look it up to find a quote.

    Developers seem to be trying to stress the XB360 a bit too far. There comes a point where it’s far more worth it to have a higher resolution and/or higher framerate with lower detail and I think games are going well past that point. Most games however, seem to stay at or close to 720p, sacrificing framerate for higher dynamic lighting, better shaders, motion blur, etc.

    Actually, I haven’t seen any application on the 360 run higher than 720p, including videos, images, and menus, which suggests that the architecture is the main limitation of resolution. (Not just GPU power.) Nonetheless, the software limitations can still be worked around as it has been on emulators numerous times. (i.e. the only way to play N64 games in 1080p.)

    • potatochobit
    • 12 years ago

    even if they added a bluray player I would not be tempted to buy one as I already own a blu ray player

    most people who bought a ps2 never used their DVD drive to watch movies except little kids and poor college students. People who watch DVDs on a regular basis have a DVD player hooked up to their main tv just for watching DVDs

    • potatochobit
    • 12 years ago

    GROD doesnt sound so scary i guess

    • derFunkenstein
    • 12 years ago

    After looking at the link Helmore put up, the matte finish is like the one thing that didn’t change. It looks like they might have even fixed the freakin’ directional pad.

    • FuturePastNow
    • 12 years ago

    Incorrect.

    • d0g_p00p
    • 12 years ago

    Yes however the Cell is handling the HD grunt. The chip was optimized for 1080P. I know the PS3 upscales their titles to 1080P and there are a few games that support true 1080P. Sony likes to cheat though and msot of the “HD 1080P” titles are only 1280×1080.

    • Helmore
    • 12 years ago

    The current controllers have a matte finish. The new controller actually has more shiny plastic than the current controller. Just look at the gallery over here: §[<http://www.engadget.com/photos/xbox-360-250gb-first-unboxing-0/#3077022<]§

    • Helmore
    • 12 years ago

    The current controller already has a matte finish. The new controller is the same shape, just all black and it’s now shiny on the bottom part where you plug in the headset. Take a look of the controller over here: §[<http://www.engadget.com/photos/xbox-360-250gb-first-unboxing-0/#3077022<]§

    • bdwilcox
    • 12 years ago

    Considering they’re already paying Sony (along with Philips) a royalty for the DVD format with each XBOX they sell, I doubt BluRay royalty fees have much to do with it. And leaving this feature off is a huge mistake. I, along with my acquaintances all bought PS3s to use primarily as BluRay players. The fact that most of us eventually relented and bought games for it is a nice windfall for Sony, too. If physical media is a dead end, you could have fooled me. Sure, maybe in 5-10 years, but how many XBoxes will be selling then?

    • Mithent
    • 12 years ago

    The PS3 isn’t any more powerful GPU-wise, of course (probably less, but it has more potential CPU power).

    • Mithent
    • 12 years ago

    Kinect works on both old and new Xbox 360s. The new one has a Kinect port that also supplies power, but you can plug it into the USB port on an older Xbox 360. You just need a separate power supply.

    • d0g_p00p
    • 12 years ago

    You will never see native 1080p support on the 360. It can barely handle 720P and as the console becomes even more outdated than it already is the resolution will only decrease as the graphics become more complex.

    #14, this is also why the new 360 does not come with BluRay there is simply no need for it. The 360 only came with a external HD-DVD drive back in the day because that was a format that MS was standing behind and wanted to help win the format war.

    • Meadows
    • 12 years ago

    Kinect only supports the new XBox.

    • UberGerbil
    • 12 years ago

    They’re thinking they don’t want to give Sony money for every XBox sold.

    And physical media is a dead-end anyway. Especially when they’ve got the deals with Netflix etc to encourage downloads.

    Besides, I’m not sure I’d want to use a 51dB device to play my movies anyway.

    • d0g_p00p
    • 12 years ago

    I really hope this fixes the RRoD. I am currently on my 4th 360 and all of my friend are on their 2nd or more. The strange thing is one of my friends who is the most hardcore gamer out of everyone I know is still using the original first gen 360 and he has never had a RRoD.

    I’ll never forget the first time I sent in my 360. The postal worker who was weighting my system for shipment back to MS for RMA looked me dead in the eye and said “You will be back” Sure enough, 3 months later I was back in the post office having my 360 weighed for shipment and the same postal worker said to me “I told you so” True story.

    • NeelyCam
    • 12 years ago

    made me lol

    • cygnus1
    • 12 years ago

    that they’d rather you rent HD movies through xbox live

    • shank15217
    • 12 years ago

    The hardware has exactly the same capability, what are you talking about?

    • WillBach
    • 12 years ago

    Damn, when the finally made it cool enough to put in you lap, they go and say you shouldn’t move it!~

    • Rectal Prolapse
    • 12 years ago

    §[<http://video.destructoid.com/#165121<]§ Some things don't need improvement. :)

    • C-A_99
    • 12 years ago

    They saved three red LED’s and instead just put one in the power button so you get the RDoD as #3 pointed out.

    §[<http://kotaku.com/5566600/the-new-xbox-360-wont-red-ring<]§ I was hoping to see proper 1080p for all games/applications out of the new console, but that would require some more changes which to them probably aren't worth it. (Especially considering the fact that the majority of people actually think the Xbox operates in 1080. I haven't seen a single game that does and apparently most PS3 games are also upscaled 720p as well.)

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 12 years ago

    This is just a build up to the release of kinect. I bet kinnect only works with the new xbox when it comes out.

    • Xenolith
    • 12 years ago

    Matte finish now. Otherwise the same.

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 12 years ago

    Wow, now it will only use 90w to play a DVD instead of 180w! Time to put away those fire extinguishers and take the fire department off of speed dial. All you need is to run your garden hose into the house and you can safely watch a movie now.

    I can’t wait until they shrink it down to 10nm. It might actually match desktops from 5 years ago! Oh, the wonders of modern technology.

    • bdwilcox
    • 12 years ago

    No Blu-Ray drive in this re-spin? What were they thinking?

    • derFunkenstein
    • 12 years ago
    • derFunkenstein
    • 12 years ago

    I’ve seen lots of pics of the console, but not the controllers – i take it they’re exactly as they were?

    • ClickClick5
    • 12 years ago

    Take out the wireless (if you never use it) and plug-in a jump drive for data holding. Some more internal storage.

    • funko
    • 12 years ago

    hey, the onus is on us if we keep buying their stuff! i remember the ps1’s failing all the time, the 100 series, 3000, 5000, 7000 etc etc, had to flip my ps1 upside down to get the cdrom to read the flippin disc after about 2 years into its lifecycle, then it died 6 months after that.

    thankfully my ps3 slim is holding up ok after half a year, and my wii is rock solid since launch!

    • cygnus1
    • 12 years ago

    §[<http://www.joystiq.com/2009/09/21/microsoft-confirms-xbox-360-802-11n-adapter/<]§ not sure if that ever came out, but it's been talked about for a while

    • Sahrin
    • 12 years ago

    Or it’s a 3-chip MCM.

    • Kurotetsu
    • 12 years ago

    l[

    • NeronetFi
    • 12 years ago

    5 years and about 40 million Beta Testers.

    • Hattig
    • 12 years ago

    BGROD!

    I’d like to see under the heatspreader. Could be a PowerPC+ATI variant of a fusion-like die there. Alternatively the 10MB eDRAM has got on-board the GPU but there’s still two dies. Or there’s one, mega-die of CPU,GPU and eDRAM…

    • jimmylao
    • 12 years ago

    my coworker says “now it’s equipped with the red dot of death instead of ring” *rolllllllllll*

    • Left_SHifted
    • 12 years ago

    Bring on the Green blinking ring of Death.

    • indeego
    • 12 years ago

    Only took 5 years to get a decent console out. GG MSFTg{

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