Xbox 360

I must be honest in saying that I am not a big player of computer games; to be honest after spending all day using one for work I rarely want to continue using it for recreation.Having said that we do have a couple of Xbox consoles in our flat and they have always been a decent distraction when there is nothing better to do!

For those of you who don’t know what an ‘Xbox’ is I should really fill you in as obviously you’ve had your head in the sand for the last couple of years - The Xbox is a games console designed by Microsoft which competes against those released by rivals Sony and Nintendo.To be honest the Xbox has been pretty much trounced by the Sony Playstation 2 in terms of market share as not only was it unknown when it came to market but it was also released months behind the PS2 which resulted in it missing out on the important Christmas sales period.

As we all know, Microsoft have a knack at throwing money at stuff until they get their way and last month we saw the initial press release surrounding the successor to the original console which will be known as the Xbox 360.Not only is this console a huge improvement to the original machine but it will also be released before Christmas this time around which should do wonders for their market share as Nintendo and Sony won’t be releasing their machines until next year now.

When I read through the specifications for this new console I am literally at a loss for words; they are phenomenal.I still remember being blown away by the Sega Megadrive which my parents bought for my sister back in the early nineties; this machine had a processor running at just over 7Mhz and I remember playing Sonic the Hedgehog thinking how could forthcoming games possibly better this.In comparison the Xbox 360 will have three processors each working at 3200Mhz hence making it many thousands of times more powerful than my sisters old Megadrive ever was.

The appearance of the Xbox 360 is also something of a spectacle; it resembles an oversized iPod and looks a hell of a lot better than the old Xbox which, to be honest with you, reminded me of a doorstop.Not only is it smaller, sleeker and pearly white in colour, the new case is also able to be positioned in either a horizontal or vertical position – It really does look like something that would look at home under the living room TV.

Microsoft hopes that the Xbox 360 will be more of an ‘entertainment hub’ than just a games console.If you hook it up to your Broadband connection then by pressing the Xbox Guide Button you should be able to access movie trailers and music album samples.In addition you will be able to purchase premium downloads which will allow you to download and play movies, music and even entire series of a specific TV show.You will also be able to connect any USB camera, music device or even your home PC to the 360 in order to share pictures or music with friends who also have this console.The 20Gb hard drive inside the unit is also removable to that you can easily transport your files without having to take the entire console wherever you go.

The controllers are very similar to the original Xbox controllers with the exception that they are slightly sleeker and wireless; unlike the original machine your memory cards will fit into the console itself rather than plugging into the controller.Obviously you can play CD’s and DVD’s on this unit via the built in 12x dual layer DVD drive.

Even something as innocent as the illuminated power button actually performs an important function (in addition to obviously providing power to the unit!) in the fact that it is broken up into four illuminated quadrants which will visually relay messages whilst you are gaming.

To be honest I could probably ramble on for another thousand words or so but unfortunately I have to tie up this article now.Remember that none of the specifications are set in stone and are quite likely to change slightly however this article should be a fairly accurate reflection on the machine that we will be seeing towards the end of the year.It’s something I’m definitely looking forward to!

About the Author - Chris Holgate works for Refresh Cartridges who supply a wide range of printer cartridges at the UK’s lowest prices.