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Mini-Review: XBox 360 120G HD upgrade. Mine went smoothly

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#1 of 6 OFFLINE   RAF

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Posted May 01 2007 - 03:52 AM

After weighing all the pros and cons of getting an XBox 360 "Elite" versus keeping my original XBox 360 Premium model I finally decided that the only thing that really interested me was the increase in HD capacity. The HDMI implementation on the "Elite" without any real way to get all the HD Audio codecs made the decision easy for me. For those who want to get into the world of XBox 360 gaming for the first time, the "Elite" is a very good option. But using the XBox 360 as a "serious HT HD-DVD player is just not possible without HD audio support, in my opinion. With 2nd generation HD-DVD players approaching the $300 mark, that seems the way to go if HD-DVD is your primary focus.

So I ordered (and received) the XBox 360 upgrade kit for $179 and installed it on my original 360 with fingers crossed. I can report that the migration of everything (saved content, game scores, etc.) went seamlessly. The kit includes not only the new drive (which matches the greyish color of the original 20g drive instead of being black like on the "Elite") but also a proprietary transfer cable and a disc that you insert to run you through the installation process.

You begin by disconnecting any peripherals (like your HD-DVD drive if present) and plugging the transfer cable attached to the new 120g drive into a REAR USB port on the 360. (It specifically tells you not to use the front USB ports.) With the original 20G HD still docked to your 360, the disc software leads you through the migration process. Mine took approximately 56 minutes to complete. During that time everything is transferred over to the 120g HD from your old 20g HD. Finally, the 20g HD is erased and you are almost done.

The last step is to remove the 20g HD from its dock and to replace it with the content-laden 120g unit. Plug any remaining peripherals back in and you are ready to go.

Microsoft claims that you can only do this one time successfully and if you happen to use the 120g HD on your XBox 360 prior to the migration that anything you add to the new drive will be lost. I didn't tempt fate to check to see if this is accurate but it doesn't matter. What does matter is that the process worked as advertised.

There is a mention made that if something should happen during the migration process (power failure or other disaster) your original content on the 20g HD will not be lost and you can start again when issues are resolved. That makes sense and I assume the last step was to wipe the 20g HD clean.

I now have about 89g free on the 120g drive. The reason for the discrepancy is that MS has included some trailers and other stuff (I love the Fable2 preview!) for your perusal. While this is a smart marketing move all the added content is erasable so you can easily get your new drive above 100g free if that's your wish.

To anticipate some comments: Yes, I realize that $179 for a 120g HD is out of line with today's prices (where you can buy a Western Digital 500g "My Book" for around the same price) but I'm not complaining. The package includes not only the drive (specially designed to dock with the XBox 360) but software and the proprietary cable. Bean counters out there may complain that MS could have offered the kit at a lower price, but I'm sure we are paying for a bit of R&D so I'm not one to complain vociferously in this regard. Besides, if MS sells millions of these, I would assume that there will eventually be a price drop (or a higher capacity drive for the same price). Since the thrust of MS with the XBox 360 seems to revolve around downloadable content (I'm getting a new Xbox Arcade trial game almost daily and there is a big push to "rent" digital content) this is truly a case where "bigger is better" as far as the MS Marketplace is concerned.

I also would think (although I haven't tested this) that you could give your old 20g HD to a person with an XBox 360 "core" system if you know of one.

In conclusion, the migration process that MS used for this device is clearly aimed at keeping the purchased content from finding its way into unauthorized hands. While I'm sure that someone in a garage somewhere might come up with a way around this, that's beyond the scope and spirit of this mini-review. The bottom line is that in less than one hour's time my original 360 has six times the storage capacity that it had before and it appears that this can be accomplished even by technophobes.

I like it.


P.S. One thing I've heard (no pun intended) is that the new XBox 360 Elite is much quieter and runs cooler than the original model. While I've never had any issues with noise level or overheating with my 360 this is something that might tip the scales a bit more in favor of upgrading rather than migrating for some people. I've also heard rumors that migrating your data from an old 360 to an Elite is a little more tricky since your saved stuff is tied not only to the HD but to the box as well for DRM reasons (or whatever it's called).

I recommend this migration to 120HD for original 360 owners looking for more data real estate.

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RAF
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#2 of 6 OFFLINE   Patrick Sun

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Posted May 02 2007 - 08:16 AM

Sounds like a good option if you need the hard disk space (I envision needing the space as well in a few months down the line). Thanks for letting us know the upgrade process ran smoothly.
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#3 of 6 OFFLINE   RAF

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Posted May 03 2007 - 03:18 AM

Yes, the original 20g HD (actually ~13g if you allow for system overhead) really doesn't cut it if you subscribed to the free Xbox Arcade trials and want to have a bit of other content (HD trailers, etc.) on your 360. The new 120g drive made the transition quite smooth and had about 90g free (including some pre-loaded stuff from MS which I can delete) from the get go. My biggest concern about the migration of data from my original 20g to my new 120g drive was that I'd lose something like saved game scores, etc. Back when Bejeweled 2 came out I experienced a power brownout (not related to the 360) which caused me to lose my score (over 18,000,000 at the time) after many hours of playing. I was back at square one since even though my score was on the leader board at XBoxLive there was no way to download it to my 360. Now that I've worked my way back up to #32 on the "endless" mode I'd hate to be back to zero because of a migration. (I do backup data scores to a memory card in case after the first incident.) Luckily, the data migration went smoothly and without incident. Actually even better than I had hoped.
RAF
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[Computer Maven since 1956]
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#4 of 6 OFFLINE   Steve Tannehill

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Posted May 05 2007 - 02:53 PM

My upgrade was to take around an hour, but it stopped with 17 minutes remaining and said that some files were corrupt, so they were deleted and not copied. That's a pretty lousy way of doing things. They should have at least indicated what files were lost in the transfer! - Steve

#5 of 6 OFFLINE   RAF

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Posted May 14 2007 - 03:55 PM

While this might sound like MS is covering their collective butts with this statement, it's a reality of any media transfer. Stuff happens (like power brown/black outs, connecting the transfer cable to a front USB port instead of a back USB port as clearly stated, etc.) but I would think that the "loss" of files means that they didn't make it over to your 120-GB drive if the process stopped without concluding. All might not be lost if they still reside on the 20-GB drive (although if they were corrupted to begin with they would not be usable.) Just a couple of thoughts on the issue. Good luck.
RAF
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#6 of 6 OFFLINE   Yumbo

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Posted June 16 2007 - 10:34 PM

Mine went great, and I love having no space issues! The dopey thing is that the system disc was REGION Coded unlike the add-on disc. So I had to borrow a US console to do the transfer. So anyone with a PAL box, beware!





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