Microsoft’s Xbox360



The Xbox360 is Microsoft’s much-awaited follow up to the almighty Xbox first released on November 15 of 2001 in North America. Described by most console enthusiast as a PC disguised as a gaming console, armed to change the way you look at your gaming console, as ‘just’ a gaming center. Beefed up, equipped and poised to be the center of your home entertainment system. The Xbox’s newest incarnation has been set up to out match any PC out there in the market today in terms of performance.

Initially released on November 22, 2005 in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico before Europe and the rest of the planet soon got their first view of the new Xbox360. Along with its launch was Xbox Live, where users can download free previews, game trailers, game demos and even chat with fellow Xbox360 aficionados. Gamers can go online and purchase gaming-related items thru this new online merchant module using Microsoft points.

Done with the chunky-clunky design of the previous Xbox, the design team of Microsoft gave it a concave shape and an all around excellent redesign to its packaging enough to make the entire wait for any ‘serious’ console lover awaiting its release worthwhile. Capable of handling four wireless controllers, solves the problem of wires all over the place while in the heat of your gaming experience. You can mount it in two different ways, on its side or flat on its belly. Three USB ports ready to connect wireless network adapters, wired controllers, an ethernet port and support for 802.11a, b, and g flavors of Wi-Fi for your networking needs. Supporting progressive-scan DVD movies and a number of DVD/CD formats. Additional features are streaming media capabilities from portable devices or Windows XP PCs, as well as ripping and storing music to the 360's detachable, upgradeable 20GB hard drive. Along with different faceplates, that you can customize your console with by snapping on or unsnapping these plates to whichever look you desire makes the 360, aesthetically amazing. Oh! And they added a glowing green on and off switch, cool!

However, as retailing strategies go they released two versions of the 360 in the market, the Core System that sells for $399, which has one wired controller, a faceplate and a composite A/V cable and the deluxe system. The Deluxe system retails at $499, includes a 20GB hard drive, a wireless controller, and a wireless headset, Ethernet cable, component HDAV cables, and, for a limited time, an Xbox 360 media remote. Full access to Xbox Live can only be gained with a hard drive. Though both versions come with a Silver membership to Xbox Live, to actually play head-to-head online, upgrading your membership to the Gold at $5.99 a month or $50 a year is the only way you and your friends will enjoy the online capabilities.

With 200 hundred titles out now, this will definitely keep you busy. Amazing graphics, great add-on capabilities, top of the line design and personalizing options. Overall, the Xbox360 is one good buy. Moreover, the online services offered by Microsoft is unmatched by their competitors which, I for one as a consumer or any other would always like to have in my disposal.

Xbox 360 Specification

CPU

Custom IBM PowerPC

Cores: x3 symmetrical

Clock speed: 3.2 GHz each

2 hardware threads per core

1 VMX-128 vector unit per core

Memory

Custom ATI

RAM 512 MB GDDR3 (Shared with GPU)

VRAM 512 MB UMA (Shared with CPU)

eDRAM 10 MB

Memory Bandwidth

Main 22.4 GB/s

eDRAM 256 GB/s

FSB 21.6 GB/s

L2 Cache: 1 MB

Graphics: Custom ATI @ 500 MHz

Hard drive: 20 GB Removable

Max Resolution: 1080i

Audio: 5.1 Digital

Game Format: HD-DVD

Controllers: Supports four 2.4 GHz Wireless

Wireless Connectivity: Wi-Fi-ready IEEE 802.11 a/b/g (needs adapter)

Input/Output

3 USB 2.0 ports

Ethernet (RJ45)

2 Memory Slots

Other Features

Interchangeable Face Plates

Media Center Extender

Xbox LIVE

Eye-Toy like camera

www.pcworld.com

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www.whatconsole.co.uk

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