Microsoft’s popular gaming console, the Xbox 360, has undergone a lot of changes since it was first released in 2005. Over five years, Microsoft has released 5 different models of the 7th generation machine. The most recent model, called the Xbox 360 Slim, was first announced at the 2010 E3 Convention. Like previous models, this new model upgrades many of the core features of the Xbox 360 while maintaining or lowering the cost of the system. With the release of this model, production of the previous model, the Elite, has been discontinued, but the product still exists in many stores. Presented here are the differences between the two machines, in order to aid consumers in purchase or upgrade decisions.
Size – The new slim model is about 60% of the volume of the original model, which makes it easier to fit into full entertainment centers. Like the Nintendo Wii and like the previous model of the Xbox 360, it is designed to stand upright, which may make it difficult to fit in older entertainment centers designed around consoles and media players that lie flat.
HD Storage – The Elite model came in two versions. One had a 120 GB hard drive and the other had a 250 GB hard drive. The Slim model comes in only a single version with a 250 GB hard drive.
Internet Connection – The biggest update of the Xbox 360 is that the Slim model has a built-in wireless Ethernet card. This far surpasses the wired Ethernet card of all previous models and means that Xbox 360 owners will no longer be required to spend additional money to get a wireless connection.
Noise – The new fan on the Xbox 360 Slim is significantly quieter than the fan on the older models. According to the company, it is not only quieter, but more efficient as well. Whether this will prevent future occurrences of the Red Ring of Death has yet to be seen. Of course, entertainingly, due to the removal of red LEDs from the Xbox 360 Slim, while the system may freeze up, no Xbox 360 owner will ever see a red ring again.
Kinect – For those not following the gaming console market, Kinect is a new hardware feature for the Xbox 360. Kinect was officially announced at the E3 Convention and will be available in the 4th quarter of 2010. In preparation for Kinect, the Xbox 360 Slim model comes with a dedicated port for the Kinect hardware. The older models do not have a dedicated port and will require a converter. Of course, while the new Slim model has a dedicated port, it can not run Kinect as is and owners of the console will still need to buy Kinect at the $150 retail price.
Price – Technically, the price of the Slim model is the same as the price of the 120 GB version of the Elite model. But, since the current model has both more hard drive space and built-in Wi Fi, the new model is a better bargain. To fully outfit the Elite model with the same specifications would cost just short of $400.
Overall, the newest model of the Xbox 360 is simply better than every previous model. It is smaller, more aesthetically pleasing to the eye, runs quieter, has built-in Wi Fi, and has better hard drive storage than previous models. And, all of this comes at the same price as the Xbox 360 Elite.