The Xbox 360 launched in 2005 was a great success, consoles flew off shelves faster than they could be stacked with the promise of high definition gaming and a media centre on your television. The white box drew quite the stir even if it did come with a power pack you may have required some help to lift. Microsoft's second attempt at a console after the mighty Xbox didn't come with the same dramatic price drop but did have a smarter slicker design with a clever hardware set up. This would set it up to hold a nice slice of the console market for almost nine years, even up against the weighty competition of Sony and their Playstation 3.
The Xbox 360
The 360 itself is smaller than its predecessor, the Xbox, standing upright it is white and sleek. The top of the 360 has a hard drive that can pop out and in making moving your save games around much easier. It also comes with a high definition cable and two memory card slots in case you can't summon the energy to deal with moving the entirety of the hard drive. The back end of the 360 is sparse only having a three pin plug socket for the power, a socket for the video and an optical socket for sound, which unfortunately doesn't come with the system.
The controller has been changed from the original to be smaller and fits in the hand much easier. The significant change in terms of button movement is that the white and black buttons found on the original Xbox controller have been moved up to sit just above the triggers. The 360 controllers also come as both wired and wireless, with a battery pack on the wireless controllers in replacement of a cable. The wired console has a standard UBS connection so it can also be plugged into a PC and used as a controller on games platforms like Steam and Origin.
Looking From a Different Angle
The technical specifications of the 360 make for some serious reading, with a CPU that runs a triple core Xenon (an IBM design) clocked at 3.2 GHz it can run up to six threads at once and at that pace it is still swift, even with the advances we have seen since release. The graphics processing unit too, will hold its own, produced by ATI technologies (now AMD) the Xbox 360 runs a Xenos. Without getting too technical, the Xenos houses two separate ‘die' that allow it to perform serious buffering and blending simultaneously of other tasks. Finally the 360 has 512MB of DDR3 RAM which is the same type of dynamic memory used in the xbox one over eight years later. This memory is clocked at 700MHz with a transmission rate of about 1.4GHz through its unified memory architecture.
And Dynamic memory was where technically the Xbox 360 shone above its rivals, its bandwidth superiority against the PS3 allowed shorter start up times for games as well as faster loading screens. Which makes the Xbox 360 feel more intuitive and responsive, a very important quality in consoles when you just want to plug and play.
What is abundantly clear is that the xbox 360 has gone through many changes over its lifespan, at launch there was the Xbox 360 pro and the Xbox 360 core, with a 20GB hard drive separating them. Six months later the Xbox 360 elite joined the scene, with a 120GB hard drive and a matte black finish and the early black controllers that were undefinably beautiful. The core was later replaced with the Xbox arcade which came with a memory card and five arcade games as standard. Then in 2008 the Premium replaced the Xbox pro, with a 60GB hard drive instead of 20.
The Xbox premium was the last of the Xbox 360's that really looked like Xbox 360's and in 2010 the Xbox 360 went under the knife for a massive overhaul. Smaller, lighter, and sleeker the Xbox S was born and came in 250GB and 4GB versions. That could have been the end of it but at E3 in 2013 Microsoft launched their final incarnation of the Xbox 360, The Xbox 360 E. The Xbox 360 E also comes in 4GB and 250GB versions but bizarrely has fewer ports. You lose a USB which 4 from 5 you are unlikely to care but more importantly you lose your optical out for surround sound. It is really the same size as the S but looks more like an Xbox one as its only selling point.
The Test of Time
The Xbox 360 has stood the test of time so far and may be the last of the plug and play generation with publishers demanding more control of their software released. With it being at its market saturation there cannot be a better time to pick up a bargain Xbox 360 as developers will no doubt want to keep producing games for the 360, only if you do, go for the 360 S and not the E.