The Fifth Column: Death Of An Xbox
After 7 loyal years, my green machine has finally given up the ghost. Granted I did not use my Xbox intensively in the first few years but I was still really surprised when I worked out how long it had lasted. Many people that I knew had made full use of their extended warranty and had several swap outs within their 3 year warranty period. I did have my Xbox repaired three times after it generated the dreaded three rings of death. The first repair lasted for about a month and the second lasted for a week. After the third repair, I was determined to replace my Xbox because there really was no possibility of rehabilitating it. Fortunately I did not have to pay for the repair which is the only reason that I had it done three times.
Once I had decided to replace my 360, it was a matter of deciding what my budget could handle in terms of a replacement. I was tempted to hold out for the PlayStation 4 but given the price tag and the uncertain release date, I decided to give it a miss. The Xbox One was not really a consideration either given that it will only be available locally early next year; the hefty price tag was also a deal breaker. This led me straight back to the current gen 360. I was really tempted to get the Star Wars special edition but there was no stock of it and I had to settle for the standard Slim model.
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My next decision was whether to get the Kinect or not. My budget was set at a maximum of R3000.00 and I was not keen to spend anything more than that. After I spoke to a few friends who have the Kinect, the consensus was that it is a ‘nice to have’ which is mainly aimed at childrens’ games. With this in mind, I decided to give the Kinect a miss. My primary goal was to get an Xbox with as big a drive as I could find because I did not want to have to clear space each time that I wanted to install something new. My secondary goal was to find an Xbox with a decent games bundle. I managed to find all this and more at my local BT Games. I bought a 4GB Slim which was bundled with a 320GB hard drive, six games and a four month Xbox Live subscription. All in all the bundle is great value for money and much more than I expected. I was also very glad to have the Slim with the matte finish because the glossy black finish is a real fingerprint magnet.
Once I got it all set up, the very first thing that I noticed was how quiet the Slim is, I actually have to check the power button to ensure that it is switched off. My old Xbox had a fan mod to keep it cooler for longer which resulted in it sounding like a hair dryer on full blast. The noise was so loud that I resorted to playing with my noise cancelling headphones, the new found silence is real bliss.
The next step was to test one of the game download tokens, I chose Batman Arkham City. This is where I hit my one and only hurdle. I entered my code on the Xbox and it was accepted without error. I then left my Xbox to download overnight but the next morning there was no trace of the game anywhere. It was not partially downloaded and was not in my download history. I have a 1Mbps line and it appears that this is a problem when it comes to large downloads from Live, the support consultant advised me that a 3Mbps line is preferable for the game downloads. The Live support tech was extremely helpful in trying to solve the problem but despite the download running for almost 45 minutes, the progress bar did not move beyond 1%. When I connected my Xbox to my 3G router, the download started without error and had completed by the next day. This is the first time that I have had a problem with a Live download but it is also the first time that I have tried to download a full game so I am not sure if it was a line fault or not.
I have played on my new Xbox for about a month now and it’s been great. I love all the hard drive space and have resorted to installing all my games to the hard drive to improve the load times and to spare the optical drive. I am still quite sad to say goodbye to my green machine because it has served me well but it really is time to move on. The transition to the new Xbox was seamless and aside from the slight snag in downloading Batman Arkham City, I did not experience any other problems. Microsoft have stated that they will continue to support the Xbox 360 for years to come so I am happy to stick with it until the dust settles in the next gen war.