Part Two of FiveThe infamous Xbox 360--the gamer's game system. Microsoft entered the gaming market back in 2001 with the original Xbox, a gaming masterpiece ahead of its time. The image of the hardcore gamer was embedded inside of this machine, and by the time it was taken off the market in 2006, it had sold an incredible 24 million units.
Its successor, the Xbox 360, carried on the legacy with cutting-edge graphics, an easy to use interface, and high title games like Halo 3 with its legendary gameplay.
To date, the gaming giant has sold an incredible 50 million units. The redesigned Slim model which replaced the bulkier and meltdown prone "fat" model was released in June and July, 2010. This model, pictured above, features better processing, graphics, memory, built-in Wi-Fi, and a redesigned disc-bay, among other upgrades.
Getting down to the dirt
The Xbox 360 S model, which we will be looking at, features an amazing 3.2ghz processor, 512mb of GDDR3 RAM running at 700mhz, a 500mhz Xenos GPU optimized for gaming, support for HDMI (no downstream support), digital audio, and built-in WiFi. The Slim features a single DVD/CD high speed drive, 5 USB ports including a custom port designed for the Kinect, and a removable 250gb hard drive (with versions as low as 20gb.) The low budget models only have 4gb internal memory but can be expanded with the 250gb hard drive.
The Xbox supports Netflix, Zune, CD and DVD playback as well as an immense DLC store, with everything from TV shows to full size games available. To purchase items you need to buy Microsoft Points, either with a credit card, or a pre-paid card sold in thousands of chain-stores across the country. To play online one must purchase a XBox Live Gold Membership, in either 1 month, 3 month, 6 month or 12 month inclements. The price for membership was raised about 5$ in 2011, with the 12 month membership now costing 65$.
In the end, the Xbox 360 is indeed the gamer's paradise. However, it comes at a cost. Most consoles die after 2-3 years of use, and replacing them can cost anywhere between 200~400$. Also, the controllers are known to wear out, with battery packs falling out or disconnecting.
The disc drives on older models tend to lock up after awhile. The newer models seem to have corrected all of these issues, however, it will be another year or two before we can know the lifespan of these machines.
With multimedia support, online stores, streaming content, and HD gaming, the Slim is one of the best consoles around. Brand name games exclusive to the Xbox include Gears of War and the Halo series, both of which are highly popular and expected to be developed for ages.