Posted by: kurtsh | December 25, 2008

INFO: Xbox 360 “versions” (i.e. Differences between Xenon, Zephyr, Falcon, Opus & Jasper)

imageIf you’ve been paying attention there have been 5 distinct major revisions of the Xbox 360 console hardware. (with a 6th on the way in 2009)

Below are the codenames and the stats for each from oldest to newest:  (The photo to the left is taken from Anandtech. 

  • Xenon (2005-2006)
    Original design – November 2005 (Launch)
    90nm CPU, 90nm GPU, 90nm eDRAM
    Identified by:
  • Zephyr (2006-2007)
    Original Xbox 360 Elite design – May 2007 (Released for Premium design – July 2007)
    90nm CPU, 90nm GPU, & 90nm eDRAM
    With HDMI port
    Improved GPU cooler
    Identified by:
  • Opus (2007)
    Released for Xbox 360 – July 2007
    65nm CPU, 90nm GPU, & 80nm eDRAM
    Improved CPU cooler (Inherited from Falcon)
    Improved GPU cooler (Inherited from Zephyr)
    Identified by:
    • 175W power supply
    • 14,2A next to the 12V line on console’s serial label
    • Does NOT have HDMI port (Available only for Xbox 360 Premium, Core repairs; generally considered rare)
    • Photos at http://www.360drives.com/howto#opus
  • Falcon (2007-2008)
    Released for Xbox 360 Premium & Elite consoles – September 2007
    65nm CPU, 80nm GPU, & 80nm eDRAM
    With HDMI port
    Improved CPU cooler (Different heat sink & cooling duct)
    Identified by:
    • 175W power supply
      (This is indicative of at LEAST owning a Falcon console.  It may be a Jasper.  The only way for the average person to know is to examine the power connector on the console.  See photo above.)
    • 14,2A next to the 12V line on console’s serial label
      (This is indicative of at LEAST owning a Falcon console.  It may be a Jasper.  The only way for the average person to know is to examine the power connector on the console.  See photo above.)
    • Console manufacture date is on or after August 24, 2007
    • Manufacturing lot # is likely to be 0734 or greater
    • Photos at http://www.360drives.com/howto#falcon
  • Jasper (2008-current)
    65nm CPU, 65nm GPU, & 80nm eDRAM
    With HDMI port
    256MB On-board Flash (16MB was standard)
    Identified by:
    • 150W power supply
      (This is an absolute guarantee that the console is a Jasper)
    • 12,1A next to the 12V line on console’s serial label
      (Some Jaspers have been found mislabeled with 14,2A however.  If your console has 14,2A, the only way for the average person to know what motherboard is used is to examine the power connector on the console.  See photo above.)
    • Console manufacture date is on or after October 14, 2008
      (This is not definitive being that there have been Falcons found with a similar manufacture date.  If your console has a manufacture date on 10/14/08, the only way for the average person to know what motherboard is used is to examine the power connector on the console.  See photo above.)
    • Manufacturing lot # is likely to be 0843 or greater
      (This is not definitive as there have been Falcons shipped with the same manufacturing lot.)
    • Photos at http://www.360drives.com/howto#jasper
  • Valhalla (2009? Unreleased/Rumored/etc.)
    Single die CPU & GPU in-one with an unknown trace size – either 65nm or 45nm – with an unknown eDRAM trace size, likely includes an HDMI port and who knows what else.

WHY SHOULD YOU CARE:
There’s naturally rational reasons why people have become so infatuated by the science of the Xbox’s parts, chips, drives, motherboard, etc.

  1. RELIABILITY
    The newer the console, the more likely it is to run reliably without issue.  Frankly, this shouldn’t be an issue if you remember rule #1 about owning an Xbox 360.

    Rule #1:  KEEP YOUR XBOX 360 IN A EXTREMELY WELL-VENTILATED AREA

    If you want your console to live a long and healthy life, keep it completely cool.  Seriously.  No exceptions.  This means no confined spaces, no heated rooms, no DVRs or other consoles underneath or on top of the , no walls or blockages near the back of the unit.  Even older consoles – including the original launch Xbox 360 – can run for a very long time. 

    Personally:  I have, not one but TWO original 16,5A 203W power supply-based “Xenon” class Xbox 360 consoles that have run without the Red Ring of Death since the release day of the Xbox 360.  It sits on top of my projection screen 65” TV and it has never, ever, ever locked up.  I once got the “red ring of death” but it was because of a loose connection between my video cable and the console when I moved my TV.


  2. HEAT DISSIPATION
    The newer the console, the less heat it will dissipate due to the smaller chips used.  The smaller the chip, the smaller the silicon traces used, the less electricity used to power the chip, the lower the amount of heat generated by the resistance in the metal.
  3. POWER UTILIZATION
    The newer the console, the less power will be used by each major component of the console.  This is reflected in the smaller power supplies provided by each subsequent generation of the console from 203W to 175W to 150W.
  4. CONSOLE NOISE
    The hotter the unit, the more likely the fan will blow.  The fan can blow loud enough to create a fair amount of noise during game play – particularly during complex, high graphics intensity titles.

    Additionally, the older the unit, the more likely you’ll be using an older Hitachi DVD drive.  The newer Samsung DVD drives are quieter that are available in some units and the BenQ VAD6038 DVD Drive purports to be the quietest drive of them all.

    imageA note on the different DVD Drives in Xbox 360s:

    Yes, it turns out that we varied the manufacturers that built the DVD drives in the Xbox 360.  The early drives were manufactured by Hitachi which were known for being ‘loud’.  Whenever the drive would speed up to read data a loud audible HUMMMM would emit from the Xbox 360.

    At some point later the Toshiba-Samsung drive emerged and was found to be relatively quieter in comparison.  Some people actually went so far as to buy Samsung-TS drives to upgrade their The end result was that there have been at least 3 manufacturer’s drives shipping in Xbox 360’s:

    • Hitachi-LG – Available at launch
    • Toshiba-Samsung – Integrated sometime after launch
    • BenQ VAD6038 – Available as of 11/6/2006
      http://forums.xbox-scene.com/index.php?showtopic=584312
    • Lite-On – Available in 2007, identical to BenQ except with different colored wiring. Appears to be the dominant drive in production today

    More information:

Basically because each revision has either added new technology over it’s predecessor or it’s gotten cooler and run on less power, it’s preferable to get a newer revision of the console over older revisions considering you’ll be paying the same price regardless of what the technology is inside the Xbox 360 box.

MORE INFORMATION:
There’s a lot of information available on the net about this.  Here are some of the better resources that I’ve gleaned over the past year or os.

  1. Anandtech’s Overview of Jasper
    http://www.anandtech.com/gadgets/showdoc.aspx?i=3472
  2. Jasper Motherboard in the Wild: 256MB Internal ‘MU’, 150W PSU
    http://www.xbox-scene.com/xbox1data/sep/EkkZlFAyyZZXEKjatA.php
  3. XBOX.COM:  How to see if you have a 65nm (Falcon) console
    http://forums.xbox.com/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=15804553
  4. XBOX.COM:  How to find a full 65nm Jasper console
    http://forums.xbox.com/24344540/ShowPost.aspx
  5. BenQ VAD6038 – New DVD Drive in Xbox360
    http://forums.xbox-scene.com/index.php?showtopic=584312
  6. IVC Wiki
    http://beta.ivancover.com/wiki/index.php/Xbox_360_Revisions#Zephyr
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