Sifting through 360 Models- which ones is best for someone who doesn't care about XB Live?
November 14, 2007 7:05 PM   Subscribe

What's the best XBox 360 model for someone that doesn't care about XBox Live?

I've traditionally been a PC/Nintendo gamer, but since this Xmas' (non-Nintendo) console offerings are especially impressive (e.g. Mass Effect, Assassin's Creed, Rock Band), I'm considering getting an XBox 360. While it hasn't reached PS3 proportions, it seems like cutting through the marketing garbage to understand what the real differences are between the various XBox models is not trivial.

I don't care about XBox Live. If I want multiplayer, I'll use my PC. It looks much nicer, the control interfaces are better and it's less filled with 13 year-old basement warriors going on about how they're going to teabag my mom after they have gay sex with her. I similarly don't care about HD-DVD, but DVD upscaling is hot (if that's possible with a 360, I have no idea).

The current TV I've got is decent, supports component cables, but is still a CRT. It's possible that I might be upgrading to a 40'+ LCD/plasma some time in the near future. Does that potential upgrade weigh into this at all?

posted by Nelsormensch to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (19 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Do you care about having an HDMI output?
posted by box at 7:10 PM on November 14, 2007

Get the Premium version. Even with the cheaper model, you'd have to buy a memory card to save your games. And don't discount XBox live just because you don't want to play multiplayer. There's a lot of downloadable demos and games that you can get from it, without even paying for the service.
posted by demiurge at 7:17 PM on November 14, 2007

Last I checked, there were only two things that differentiated Xboxen. How big the hard drive was (if any) and whether it had HDMI output. If you don't care about HDMI, get the absolute cheapest 360. If you do care, get the cheapest with HDMI.

You still need some storage on your Xbox for saved games, but not much. Retail games seem to need between 10 and 100MB each for saved games, but I've never made any effort to prune. A memory card will be enough.

You should rethink the Xbox Live thing. It's a very impressive system. I hate the crappy 13 year old thing too (particularly since the 13 year olds are usually 31). But online coop multiplayer with your friends is easy and fun, Xbox Live Arcade has some great games, and they just announced downloadable Xbox original titles for the thing. I'm a long time PC gamer but the online experience of the Xbox 360 has made me a convert.
posted by Nelson at 7:22 PM on November 14, 2007

Best answer: The third distinguishing feature is the case: white, black or Halo-branded.

And I disagree about the memory-card-will-be-enough thing. I'd say get the 20-gig, HDMI one. I believe it's called the Pro, as opposed to the Elite, or to the old Core/Premium split.
posted by box at 7:27 PM on November 14, 2007

I would get the Pro one too. The next update, in December, is going to allow people to purchase Xbox 1 games on Xbox live. Also, if you want to play old Xbox games that you have or will buy, you have to have the hard drive.
posted by slavlin at 9:29 PM on November 14, 2007

Response by poster: "I believe it's called the Pro, as opposed to the Elite, or to the old Core/Premium split."

And that's why I posted on AskMeFi.

Having only recently left graduate school, high end TVs and the like were out of reach for quite some time. Would someone(s) mind giving me a quick run down on HDMI vs. say component? Is HDMI only available on high-end TVs? Thanks!
posted by Nelsormensch at 9:50 PM on November 14, 2007

If I needed a new Xbox 360, I'd go Premium. Though you don't want to play on Xbox Live, there are still plenty of arcade titles and free game demos to download and play locally.

The 12-14 GB of free space you get with a formatted 360 Pro hard drive will only hold a few of those sweet 1GB free demos; seems like there are one or two every couple of weeks.

Also, do not underestimate the potential fun of Xbox Live Arcade if you have an interest in casual games, classic arcade games, or cult console favorites (like Super Puzzle Figher II Turbo or Puzzle Quest). Those games are generally pretty small, though.

You may not be aware of it, but you can also rent movies through Xbox Live, and HD movies that are available through the service require ~4GB of free space.
posted by MegoSteve at 9:59 PM on November 14, 2007

Best answer: BTW, if you want HDMI, the Pro does offer an HDMI port, but an HDMI cable is not included in the package. An official MS branded one costs $50. The Premium version includes the HDMI cable and a 120GB hard drive.

If you are on a budget, I'd go for the Pro, but if you can afford the extra $100 and want an HDMI cable included, go for the bigger hard drive of the Premium.

I think most LCDs and plasmas have HDMI ports these days. The HDMI cable is a digital connection and component is analog. Honestly, I don't think there's much real world difference in picture quality between a component connection and an HDMI connection, but I'm sure some AV guys somewhere think different.

From my perspective, it's just another option that would allow you to hook up more devices to your TV. TVs have a limited number of component and HDMI ports (mine has two taken up by my 360 and my cable box), so there's some added freedom in being able to switch a 360 from component to an HDMI connection to make room for other component or HDMI devices, plus a convenience factor of one connection that delivers both audio and video.
posted by MegoSteve at 10:13 PM on November 14, 2007

Argh, when I said Premium in my previous posts, I meant Elite. Sorry for the confusion.
posted by MegoSteve at 10:14 PM on November 14, 2007

I think saying that you'll never be interested in Live is somewhat naive. Even if you don't like multiplayer gaming, it's getting to be a pretty advanced platform, where you can download classic games, patches and new content for your existing games, and even things like movies and music.

I chose the Wii personally, but I'm envious of some of those xbox live features from time to time.
posted by chrisamiller at 11:47 PM on November 14, 2007

In case it wasn't stated clearly: Xbox Live functionality is precisely the same on every Xbox 360, so it makes no difference on that account. Only differences as mentioned above are colors, video out options, and no/20G/160G(?) hard drive.
posted by poppo at 3:34 AM on November 15, 2007

@poppo actually the hard drive choices are none/20/120. I personally recommend the elite because less people have it, black looks awesome, and you never know when you are going to need lots of hard drive space. And the consensus is right xbox live is the same no matter which box you have.
posted by DJWeezy at 5:16 AM on November 15, 2007

Adult Gaming Enthusiasts

Come join us
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 5:39 AM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

Unless you rent movies and other crap you will never run out of space with the 20G Premium, even with a handful of demos and XBLA games residing on it at any point in time. In my mind a 360 without Live is entirely pointless, it's a major component of the next generation systems. A 360 without XBLA games wouldn't be very appealing for quick time wasting sessions, because that's where all those games are located. With this in mind you will also have to get a small wireless bridge or the default Xbox adapter, which is $100 but very clean and snaps right to the back. Either way it's an added expense and doesn't come with any of the models by default. Also the standard HDMI cable that comes with the Premium is split into component and standard A/V branches, so you don't need an HDMI input on your TV unless you want to pony up for more cables.

It looks much nicer, the control interfaces are better and it's less filled with 13 year-old basement warriors...

Yeah, without an HDTV I'd basically agree. Controls you will get used to. If you think the crowd is any more mature on either platform, you're kidding yourself. You can set a global mute flag in your personal profile so you don't have to cycle through individual settings to mute people in each game, this is helpful for 99% of this garbage.
posted by prostyle at 7:02 AM on November 15, 2007

Best answer:
         | Color | HD Space | HDMI? | Price | Extras
Arcade   | White | none     | yes   | $279  | 5 Arcade Games
Plain    | White | 20GB     | yes   | $349  | Headset, network cable
Halo Ed  | Green | 20GB     | yes   | $399  | Green paint, Halo headset and controller
Elite    | Black | 120GB    | yes   | $449  | Black paint, headset, ethernet and HDMI cables
They did a spot of rebranding when the consoles started coming with HDMI ports, so any one of the four varietals of XBoxen 360 currently available will have HDMI.

figure out if you need the bigger hard drive BEFORE you buy the system; adding on a hard-drive is always more expensive than upgrading your model.
posted by heeeraldo at 8:56 AM on November 15, 2007

Response by poster: Fantastic, thanks for the input everyone. It seems like the major choice is going to be whether $100 is worth an extra 100 GB and an HDMI cable. I'll see how much cash I've got on-hand when it actually comes to buying time. Cheers!
posted by Nelsormensch at 9:43 AM on November 15, 2007

Don't pooh-pooh the Live too quick. I didn't think I cared either, but they gave me with a free month.

And lo, I discovered that there's well over 100 downloadable games like Galaga, DigDug, and Pac Man on one end, a retooled Prince of Persia in the middle, all the way up to some pretty sophisticated games. And for someone with the short attention span I have the trial levels on many of them is more than enough.

So now I have it set to automatically download trial versions of everything. I've probably gotten almost as much play out of the trial versions as I have the four games I purchased.
posted by phearlez at 9:21 AM on November 16, 2007

I purchased my 360 when I only had a low-def 27" CRT and playing games on it was rubbish. If you're going to be spending $60/each on games, play them in hi-def or they just aren't worth it.
Take for example Dead Rising (hey, not much was out a year ago). It is unplayable on a CRT because the text is so small and fine you can never read the captions or the items you're holding, so it makes for a real head-scratcher as to what to do next.

I say save up your cash until you upgrade your tv. By then there may be another price break on 360's.
posted by ijoyner at 9:54 AM on November 16, 2007

Elite. The hard drive space will come in handy when they start selling original xbox games for download.
posted by grumpy at 12:33 PM on November 19, 2007

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