- Review Price: £355.98
As great a gaming console as the Xbox 360 is, there’s a reason that for any game available on the PS3 as well, that’s the version I’ll be using: the PlayStation doesn’t sound like a wind tunnel every time I ask it to perform even the simplest of tasks. And don’t even get me started on that DVD drive.
Those fans whir merrily away inside the Xbox 360 with good reason, though. Lest we forget, Microsoft’s console is rather prone to getting just a little hot. The failure rate, courtesy the red ring of death, doesn’t inspire much confidence in the Xbox 360.
Lian Li offered those willing to crack open their Xbox 360 a possible solution to the console’s tendency to overheat, in the form of the PC-XB01 case. However, transposing the Xbox 360 from one case to the other to avert its overheating problems introduces a potential hitch of its own: voiding the warranty. Bearing in mind Microsoft is offering free replacement of any console succumbing to the RROD (within three years of manufacture) so trying to avert a failure seems ironically counterintuitive.
Quiet PC thinks there’s one another reason you might want an XB01 case though. Transposing the guts of an Xbox 360 to a roomier case affords the opportunity to adorn it with some much needed noise-reducing cladding.
Since the New Xbox Experience was released, the biggest noise-producing component of the Xbox 360, its disc drive, has had its impact considerably lessened thanks to the added ability to install games to the Xbox’s hard drive. Indeed, to my mind being able to play Gears of War 2 and actually hear what Marcus Fenix was muttering about over the din of the game disc was far more beneficial than the slight reduction in load times.
However, for those occasions when the DVD drive does still have to spin up Quiet PC has done an admirable job of lessening its impact. Sure, I could still hear the drive spinning during a quick round of Halo 3 multiplayer, but it was no longer at distracting volume levels!
Even with the DVD drive’s noise held at bay by hard drive installations my post-NXE Xbox 360 Elite still manages to annoy me. Somehow the fans have tuned themselves to a frequency such that it entirely cuts through any game or video’s soundtrack.
Conversely the Quiet PC Xbox 360 was completely silent with its disc drive idle. A few hours of Horde drifted blissfully by, interruption free. Discounting the voice-comm spamming morons I was playing (s)against(/s) with.
The only real criticism I have with the Quiet PC Xbox 360 isn’t one that I can fairly blame Quiet PC for. I’m not a big fan of the Lian Li XB01 case. Certainly brushed anodised-black ‘aluminum’ will never go out of fashion, but the XB01 is a big case, dwarfing my PlayStation 3 – hardly a small console itself.
Furthermore, the XB01 has a few design niggles that just don’t sit with me. Why is the eject button above the memory card slot, not next to the drive bay? Why are the USB ports about an inch inside the case making them impossible to plug anything into without dropping to my hands and knees? Why couldn’t the power button be relocated to a more convenient position? Just why is the case so big?
Despite these complaints, though, I do like what Quiet PC has done with the Xbox 360, some foam, some rubber grommets and Lian Li’s case. I like using a console that doesn’t interfere with the enjoyment of the games and media it’s built to play.
It’s hardly surprising that Quiet PC is charging a premium for the improvements it’s offering. The 60GB Xbox 360 sent to us would have cost around £170 sans alterations and Quiet PC is asking for an almost heart-stopping £355.98 for its modified version. Even taking into account the £60-odd XB01 case that’s still around a £120 premium for an aluminium box and some acoustic dampening.
Luckily Quiet PC also bestows a 360 day – I’ll resist the urge to scoff – warranty on its modified Xbox 360s sweetening the deal somewhat. Quiet PC will also happily charge £200 for modifying an already purchased Xbox 360, but with only a 30 day warranty offered in this instance – it’s a less tempting proposition, but if you already have the console, you may consider it.
The smart buyer however, would doubtless flog their existing Xbox 360 and buy new, getting the improved warranty and still spending less overall in the process.
Scoring Quiet PC’s Xbox 360 is tricky. Scores are subjective enough at the best of times but here I’m really in turmoil. On one hand, this is the Xbox Microsoft should have made as it’s undeniably cooler and quieter. On the other, for £360-odd, you could buy two Xbox 360s and still have change.
Horses, courses. You get my drift.
If the price doesn’t scare you off and you’re keen on the design of the Lian Li XB01 case then there’s no reason not to invest in a Quiet PC Xbox 360. Your ears will definitely thank you for it!
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