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Microsoft Xbox 360 250GB - Noise Reduction, Load Times and Verdict

By Hugo Jobling


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Microsoft Xbox 360 250GB


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Review Price £159.00

The reduced power draw couples with much improved ventilation to deliver one of the Xbox 360 250GB's biggest improvements over the previous models. The slimline console is significantly quieter than our resident Xbox 360 Elite. Idling at the dashboard or watching a couple of videos downloaded from the Marketplace the system was inaudible. And while the console does get pretty warm to the touch the fans never spin-up enough to intrude.

Now that the Xbox 360 no longer sounds like an F-14A Tomcat on flyby every time you do more than admire it, powered off, from a distance, it's DivX playback ability looks much more attractive. Our PlayStation 3 still does a better job of upscaling standard definition content, mind, and the XMB is far and away the better menu system for navigating media. But we already know that the PS3 is the better all-rounder, and this Xbox 360 SKU refresh can’t hope to change that.

Those hoping for a speed boost to the DVD drive and hard drive transfer rates will be disappointed. In our testing there wasn't any perceptible difference in game loading times or hard drive-install times. The latter are still a 'start, go make a cup of coffee, return' affair. Hard drive-based game loads remain the way to go, though, because now DVD drive spinning up is still annoyingly loud.

Realistically, there are very few compelling reasons to upgrade to the Xbox 360 250GB if you have a previous model. Sure it's less power-hungry, quieter and has a larger capacity hard drive bundled than the Elite (limited edition specials accepted) ever did but under the window dressing it's still just an Xbox.

If you're buying a new console, however, the Xbox 360 250GB makes a great case for itself. The £199 asking price is £50 cheaper than the rival PS3 Slim, and the feature set is finally comparable, thanks to the inclusion of Wi-Fi. And while we still need to be convinced by Kinect, it's hard to deny that to a certain demographic it's going to have a massive appeal.


Put simply, the Xbox 360 250GB is the best Xbox Microsoft has made thus far. It’s better featured, with more USB ports and built-in wireless, its more energy efficient internals mean it's quieter and less power-hungry than its predecessors and, perhaps most importantly, it's priced more aggressively against the PlayStation 3 Slim than ever before.

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July 15, 2010, 11:15 am

Mine should be arriving this morning. Good times...


July 15, 2010, 12:04 pm

Does it still come with a three year warranty?!


July 15, 2010, 12:46 pm

Pedantry alert: its volume is either in cubic metres or litres. Cubic litres are a twenty-seven dimensional unit of hypervolume.

Although shunting heat into higher dimensions would certainly help cooling.


July 15, 2010, 1:12 pm

All in all a very good review, very interesting and informative. The Xbox 360 'whatever' is certainly a worthy successor, with improvements to its size, power consumption and peripheral attachments. I'm even tempted to get one, though the PS3 more likely due to the Blu-Ray playback facility.

PS. The volume bit isn’t really right as that’s the volume of a cuboid, not the complex shape the new Xbox takes. And if this was a cuboid it should be 5.3 litres, not 5.4 because: 270 x 75 x 264 mm = 5,346,000 mm{2}= 5.346 litres; we have only have a max of 2 significant figures (2sf), the 75 mm bit; so 5.346 rounded to 2sf is 5.3, not 5.35, nor 5.4. Maths, don’t you love it… not!


July 15, 2010, 1:18 pm

ravmania - Nope, because the three year warranty specifically covered the RRoD, from which this (we're told) SKU won't suffer. I think it's safe to assume that Microsoft will offer the same replacement deal if these start failing in bulk, though.


July 15, 2010, 1:55 pm

Wheres the kensington lock slot - I can't find it on those pictures?


July 15, 2010, 2:01 pm

Andy - http://i.imgur.com/ttJWL.jpg

My photography was pretty poor, so apologies for that. I blame the rubbish camera, obviously. ;)


July 15, 2010, 2:04 pm

@Hugo: My photography was pretty poor,

Can be seen clearly on Page 2 Pic 3. :_


July 15, 2010, 2:24 pm

Still 135W? Or is this just what the power supply is rated to? The latest PS3 slim uses just 60W according to Wikipedia :s


July 15, 2010, 2:43 pm

You complain about the failure to bundle an HDMI cable, but the PS3 (at least the 40GB one I bought, not sure about the Slim) doesn't include one either. Similarly the Wii doesn't include a component cable - it's composite all the way. HDMI cables are stupidly cheap and there should be one in the box, but I guess this way you can choose a cable of suitable length for your own system, and the added expense shouldn't be much. Also, how else will GAME be able to make 400% profit on "premium" HDMI cables costing £30?


July 15, 2010, 3:23 pm

@sockatume and @Eggburt1969: You fellas must get all the girls ;).

@Hugo: "My photography was pretty poor". Were you using an iPhone? ...

@Article: Contained all essential details. I'm still considering whether to get a 360. Although when reminded of all the HDD installation requirements etc., the little voice instead my head still just goes "pah, these aren't consoles, they're f***ing pretend-PCs, so just stick with PC".

Oh good, I've convinced myself not to. The wife will be pleased.


July 15, 2010, 3:49 pm


If the Xbox was a pretend PC, it would have memory upgrades, due to lack of memory, one of my fave xbox games - Tropico 3 (PC port) is doomed on play if people love your paradise. I cannot believe in 2010 a memory upgrade is forgotten. Boo MS boo, stick to nintendogs drdark :)


July 15, 2010, 4:17 pm


I love my 360 but I'd still be wary about MS hardware after the RROD.

While they eventually did the right thing and the repair service is very slick they did take a long time to admit to the fault.

I think they should stand by their products to give buyers confidence. Like Toyota are now providing 5 year warranties after their recall.


July 15, 2010, 4:24 pm

Wow, my first time to the site in a week and I'm straight in complimenting a Microsoft product, I must be ill...


Been borrowing the Elite of a friend for the past week, and I'm sold. xBox live has exceeded my expectations; Gears, Fable, L4D all very much worth it; the OS is surprisingly good... I like.

@DrDark - "pah, these aren't consoles, they're f***ing pretend-PCs" - Unlike the Wii, of course, which is a pretend NetBook to follow your metafore ;-)

@Hugo - "the RRoD, from which this (we're told) SKU won't suffer" - Yup, you're right, I've heard that they've removed the red light entirely!


July 15, 2010, 4:27 pm

@John McLean - dont make the mistake of thinking premium cables dont make a difference! They do - though Id dispute buying one from Game is a good idea!

I dont mean to sound like Im Xbox bashing (God please dont let the fanboys revolt) but this is one hell of a stinking looking machine! It's horrible!

I'll probably get round to having my 360 repaired some day but to be honest I havent missed it in the 6 months or so its been broken.


July 15, 2010, 4:49 pm

@drdark: Were you using an iPhone? ...

WOW!!, a post totally unrelated to Apple, well done!!!.


July 15, 2010, 4:55 pm

Cub - you've got it; you can't have a RRoD without a RR :)

Keith - I though that too from the pictures, but sat next to my TV I like it.


July 15, 2010, 5:06 pm

@Hugo: I though that too from the pictures, but sat next to my TV I like it.

Sorry Hugo, I meant the kensington lock slot can been clearly seen on page 2 pic 3. But I can see how I totally miss quoted that one. :)


July 15, 2010, 5:09 pm

Keith - And my reply was to Jones' comment that he didn't like the looks, not to you at all. Time for another cup of coffee I think...


July 15, 2010, 5:22 pm

I'm not complaining from the lack of HDMI cable, they have them at aldi for £2 (zero reason why you would ever pay more (unless for length)), also as I have a spare HDMI cable lying around so having one that came with the system would just be a waste in my eyes.


July 15, 2010, 5:28 pm

@Keith: Thank you. Thank you.

@Cub: I don't think you got my metaphor, but nevermind.

@hank: Cheeky!

But that Tropico 3 sounds like a bad port...


July 15, 2010, 5:59 pm

@Ravmania...The extended three year warranty was exclusive/specific to the dreaded E74 error. So, from what I gather (apologies if I have this wrong) the warranty is now back to one year since the RROD has been removed from the new unit. Personally, I will be dubious about this new xbox until it's well bedded in & we start to see if the failure rates have been drastically reduced still. We know the Jasper chipset was a vast inprovement from the Falcon, but, with the three year warranty now gone; so is the safety net that reassured me. On my fourth Xbox, which entitles me to a certain cynisism I think.


July 15, 2010, 6:27 pm

Is it possible to get shots of the new Xbox next to the new PS3? I know MS doesn't like the comparison, but since this review is rather late and with a retail unit rather than one sent by MS it won't be breaking any rules.

Sir Stuie

July 15, 2010, 6:47 pm

The old 3 red light RROD was changed to the E74 single red light. In the unlikely event the the S is just as poorly built the Red Dot of Death will likely be brought into the 3 year warranty.

It seems MS is slowly learning how to deal with hardware failures, the next revision will give no indication as to what is wrong with it and just break/explode.


July 15, 2010, 7:30 pm

@Jones - no they don't. Premium *_analogue_* interconnects can make a huge difference, but HDMI carries pure digital signals, which can be perfectly reconstructed at the receiver end, irrespective of the cable used. Granted, if you have very long runs, you might get lower error rates on a "premium" cable, but over a typical <5m run, there should be a zero to negligible number of such errors introduced by poor cabling, certainly well within the error correction capabilities of the receiving device, so perfect bitstream reconsruction should remain possible.

Show me a report (from a reliable source) of a blind test where anyone could reliably distinguish a £1.99 HDMI cable from a £199 super-premium unobtanium-coated uber-cable and I shall happily retract that; until then, I'm not biting.

Oh, and if you're willing to believe a £200 digital interconnect can help your AV quality, I've got a Nigerian friend who has a business proposition for you. He said it was something about the emperor's new clothes being ready for collection.

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