Xbox 360 slim model in the works?

By on March 17, 2010, 10:49 AM
It's no secret Microsoft does periodic hardware revisions to the Xbox 360 that are meant to fix bugs, improve performance and lower production costs. Usually these updates go unannounced, and never have they involved a change to the console's form factor since its 2005 release. But with project Natal coming up later this year it seems the company might be considering releasing something sleeker and lighter along with it to help boost sales.


The picture above shows the guts of what's supposed to be a redesigned, slim version of the Xbox 360. Notable changes include the use of a single GPU/CPU chip and, of course, a much smaller motherboard. There's also a rather large Cooler Master-branded fan attached to the chip, which will cast some doubt on the legitimacy of the leak, but the board is reportedly just an early sample Microsoft finished testing recently in China.

The originating website is Chinese-language site A9VG. While there's not much information to back up their claims, this is not the first time we're getting clues of a revised 360 either. Microsoft's own Steve Ballmer has hinted at SKU's dependent on "form factors" and just recently the company posted a job ad searching for a motherboard engineer for the Xbox 360 development team.

We'll just have to wait to see how these rumors pan out, but considering the success Sony has seen with its PS3 Slim, a new hardware redesign could certainly make a lot of a lot of sense for the Xbox 360 before the end of the year.




User Comments: 49

Got something to say? Post a comment
Wagan8r Wagan8r said:

What's unfortunate is that even if they make a slim model, they can't improve on its performance as it would make the older models either inferior or the new one would just have performance going to waste as developers have to make games that will run on all of them. I prefer the freedom to do whatever I want with my platform and not have to be limited by a closed platform. PC gaming all the way!

skitzo_zac skitzo_zac, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

The Cooler Master branding on the fan I find extremely suspicious.

But as for a slimmed down version of the 360, I find that very probably whilst this may not be it.

Technology has come a long way in 5 years, smaller manufacturing processes for the CPU, GPU (or hybrid 2 in 1 chip) would mean smaller, more efficient and cooler chips which would allow them to cool it all efficiently in a smaller chassis.

Tekkaraiden Tekkaraiden said:

Wow first comment is a PC elitist one, I'm shocked.

JMMD JMMD, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Smaller is fine but it better be bullet proof and not have tons of cooling problems or quality issues. There's no reason something that costs as much as the 360 does/did should have so many issues.

EduardsN said:

I will much rather buy the parts myself, put them together myself, configure them and then upgrade anytime. I dont like consoles much

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I guess if I was Microsoft, I'd be spending more time and resources on the next gen of my console, and less on re-hashing my current line. I mean, the PS3 slim made some sense, but this far into the life cycle of the 360, they should be working on leapfrogging to the 720 or something like that

Then again, maybe a redesigned system is intended to be built much cheaper, so they can initiate a killer price war against the Wii and PS3...

seefizzle said:

If I hadn't already bought 2 xbox 360's and had both of them die on me, I would consider buying a "slim" xbox.

Docnoq said:

Vrmithrax said:Then again, maybe a redesigned system is intended to be built much cheaper, so they can initiate a killer price war against the Wii and PS3...

That would be the smart thing to do, but knowing Microsoft, they will most likely cut their costs and maintain price levels so they can make greater margins. Also, if they are currently making a slim model, I hope they include a larger HD like Sony did. Otherwise, it seems kind of pointless to spend this much time/money researching how to make a smaller-form 360 five years into its life cycle.

UT66 said:

Microsoft is onto something here: smaller 360 = smaller explosion = smaller legal costs

Basher said:

I'm still disappointed how game companies are going about designing their games. Consoles are going to continue to hold back graphics in games and stunt innovation. One of the major examples of this is the two newest games CoD: Modern Warfare 2 and Battlefield: Bad Company 2 being console ports. MW2 runs almost maxed out on my 8800 GTS 512 released Nov/Dec 2008. It definitely looks pretty good, but I'm sure if the console market wasn't as prolific as it is compared to the PC gamer market, newer games would begin to outpace hardware yet again. Bring on the Crysis.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

When are the next generation of consoles due out? I'm thinking a 5 year old platform is pretty old in computer terms. I would have thought they'd start investing their development efforts in the next gen rather than downsizing what they already have....

rskapadia2294 said:

hey its gr8! but most the games run well on a pc! and i love it! i dont like consoles!

slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

5 years is a pretty long time in console terms, I think this has been traditionally a console's lifecycle, but the current generation will go on for much longer. Maybe M$ will release the Xbox 720 when the world adopts (or doesn't adopt) Blu-ray.

I agree with the point above that consoles are holding back graphics development, but unfortunately that's just the way it is - most people can't afford to spend thousands on a gaming PC or can't be bothered to research upgrade possibilities and with the gaming market becoming more and more "casual" I think console gaming is only going to grow in proportion to PC gaming. Another reason is piracy but that's a different debate...

Anyway let's just hope Crysis 2 isn't going to be a console port!

TorturedChaos, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

rskapadia2294 said:

hey its gr8! but most the games run well on a pc! and i love it! i dont like consoles!

I have to partial agree with you on this one. Not that I am a "PC Gamer Elitest" I like my PS3 too. But just about all the games that are put out on the Xbox360 come out for the PC and run just fine on my PC. So why get an extra system??

As for a "slim" xbox

UT66 said:

Microsoft is onto something here: smaller 360 = smaller explosion = smaller legal costs

thats about my take on it too.

xbox/xbox 360 = over glorified paper weight / door stop.

flocka said:

if it were a slimmer 360, wouldnt the attachable hard drive have to be modified as well? would it become internal? i cant see it, although im not saying its not gonna happen. just wondering how the hard drive would work, and also a price cut? arcade versions going for $179.99, these will be, what?.... $149.99

Relic Relic, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

If I'm not mistaken both Sony and Microsoft want to push the current generation to around 2012-13 before moving on. Which I guess makes sense for them to increase profits as much as they can and the casual gamer who doesn't have to run out and buy the next big thing. So coming out with a slim 360 version might not be such a bad of an idea, but personally I'd like them to move on too. Especially since as pointed out game developers might be holding back on some innovation in order to capitalize on console hardware.

Tekkaraiden said:

Wow first comment is a PC elitist one, I'm shocked.

That's hardly elitist considering everything he said is true. But I do understand what you mean with PC gamers thinking they are superior (which they are ;-) )

Relic Relic, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

flocka said:

if it were a slimmer 360, wouldnt the attachable hard drive have to be modified as well? would it become internal? i cant see it, although im not saying its not gonna happen. just wondering how the hard drive would work, and also a price cut? arcade versions going for $179.99, these will be, what?.... $149.99

I would assume the 360 is just shorter as it's already ~12in tall. As redesigning the HDD and making new ones seems like a waste but you never know it's Microsoft. I'd also guess they would simply get ride of the arcade version and use the Slim in its place with a smaller HDD like 60gb compared to the elites 120/250. Then again I'm just speculating and this seems the most logical to me at least.

fref said:

That motherboard looks less complex than some microATX motherboards I've used! Can it really be an Xbox 360? Anyway, I just bought one last month, I'm not going to upgrade just because its smaller.

Guest said:

Microsoft and Sony have both said that the next gen consoles won't be coming out until around 2012-2013. If this fixes the issues with the current 360 than I think it will be a great addition. I would also like to know how console graphics stunts innovation in games. If anything the retarded casual gamers that only cares about graphics have stunted innovation in games. If you are a real gamer gameplay > graphics. Sure graphics are nice to have and expected to be good. With current console hardware(-wii) the only stunt in innovation is that the 360 still only uses a dvd drive, which limits the amount of content that can be offered.

Some of us like consoles since we don't have to worry about shelling out 100~200 per year to keep our system up to date.

Guest said:

Pointless to go with a slim re-design and not have HD options/ freedom and Blu-Ray capabilites as with the PS3. Another DVD drive is really ridiculous. Maybe this is for the Casual Natal market.

Flannelwarrior said:

What does console memory look like, and where is it on that board?

natefalk natefalk said:

I'd probably get a slim xbox 360. It's the only system I don't own. Although the only reason I'd play it would be for Halo and Gears of War.

jjbeard926 said:

Cool, a 360 slim. . . I still won't buy one. Not a fan. I don't like the controllers and I don't like MS. There are no games for it that I just "have to have" and the few games for it that I want I can get on the PS3 or some even still for the PS2. I'm still waiting for the PS3 to drop in price some more before I jump into the new gen of gaming consoles. And honestly I haven't been thrilled by the new units track records.

Richy2k9 said:

hello ...

even if it is good that MS releases a slim version, i don't feel like it will change things for it's already too late, the WII is already a WIInner, The PS3 has surpassed the Xbox360 on quality & the PC which is the best has regain some points

MS should care about the next-gen & try to find a way to protect the developer's work, even if Modded consoles are banned from XBL, a lot still uses such machines offline & don't care at all about MP, updates & game room.

A slim can be cool, if it is stable, with Natal there will be some system sold & therefore would be better to make a good profit & less after sales service.

yet again, this generation is already for Nintendo & SONY in the console world, so try harder MS for the next one, i'm sure it will be a good competitor.

cheers!

mv670 said:

A slim Xbox360? Well its time to play the "I told you so" part to my brother and a few of my friends. Patience can pay off, sometimes :P

Wagan8r Wagan8r said:

TomSEA said:

When are the next generation of consoles due out? I'm thinking a 5 year old platform is pretty old in computer terms. I would have thought they'd start investing their development efforts in the next gen rather than downsizing what they already have....

Both Sony and Microsoft plan on this generation of consoles lasting 10 years. That puts the PS3 and the XBOX 360 out to 2015. Personally, I don't mind as I think that people will become bored with the outdated hardware and will upgrade to the PC. With the release of the CryEngine 3, I'm hoping a lot of developers adopt it, meaning that there will be a wave of games that are natively coded for all 3 platforms, with the PC versions having MUCH better visuals than the console versions, all at no additional cost or programming. With the CryEngine 3, gone are the days of console ports to PC.

boyese said:

hopefully these wont results in a new batch of RROD from overheating.

Kibaruk Kibaruk, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Huge ass fan, hope this avoids the famous 3 red lights we all saw at one point :P

Guest said:

It definitely hasn't been five years since the last process shrink that the 360 has had.

jasonk1229 said:

cool, performance better?

Deso said:

It looks more then 2x cheaper factory cost then the first 360....

pipopaz said:

Interesting concept, could they go even lower that $200 price tag? Heck I even saw some awesome deals for an arcade console for about lower than that. I guess an xbox 360 with a 120gb for $200 will really start hurting all the profit sony is been making with the ps3 slim.

megrawab said:

If it is slim, could it be sexy too?.. Lol... It's a nice effort to compete with Sony's PS3 Slim but in order to compete with Sony user's (in gaming), you must also be a sony user. Sony has been a conformity factor in our area...

rufio said:

slim version huh... the only concern i would have is overheating and hopefully they can find a way to overcome that problem if they make the case smaller. and i'm sure all xbox owners will know what i'm talking about when i say red ring of death

supyo said:

This is a great idea, i hope they start making them.

Yoda8232 said:

Yeah I could see a slim 360 coming, would the problems be fixed? Hopefully.

That HSF looks exactly the same as some stock Intel coolers on 775 boards in various HP PC's.

No matter what it MUST NOT have problems like the original.

sagejay said:

It's true that the PS3 slim was a success with the drop of price, it might just be the same thing with the 360

Relic Relic, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Guest said:

I would also like to know how console graphics stunts innovation in games. If anything the retarded casual gamers that only cares about graphics have stunted innovation in games. If you are a real gamer gameplay > graphics. Sure graphics are nice to have and expected to be good.

You're right gameplay > graphics. And those who push graphics only over everything else could have hurt solid gameplay which breaks a game more then looks does.

But console hardware can hurt innovation or take steps backwards too, I mean look at some of the recent FPS games that exclude prone and lean from the PC version because the console couldn't support it. Balancing issues can of course be fixed but it just feels wrong that older games have features that newer ones lack or that PC games are console ports =P.

ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

"the retarded casual gamers that only cares about graphics"

Huh? Only hardcore gamers care about graphics. Casual gamers play on the Wii, they play Flash games, etc. Unless of course you meant to insult the hardcore gamers that care about graphics by calling them casual (which IMO doesn't work well as an insult).

Regarding the rumoured slim 360, hey, it won't hurt. The lower cost will allow 360 + Natal to not cost too much over the current 360, and a new box design might appeal to the Wii crowd.

Thompson said:

Pretty late in the game to be copying Sony's strategy of reducing the size of their consoles.

I wonder how this will effect the red ring issue, a smaller box will make it even hotter.

yorro said:

They are already building the next console the same time they are working on this. They are just cashing out the people who hasn't bought a 360 yet by providing enough incentive. By the time people buy one, they are already rumors for a 720.

unrealmp3 unrealmp3 said:

I don't want to get into a PC/consoles flamewar, but it's just a matter of choice and preference.

PC gamers are often more knowledgable about computers in general, so they'll use that knowledge to get the most out of their systems with the freedom of hardware configuration. Console gamers are generally more casual persons, and they just want to focus on the gaming part without having to manage the complexity of a computer.

To each their preferences. It's PC all the way for me.

Kibaruk Kibaruk, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Pretty late in the game to be copying Sony's strategy of reducing the size of their consoles.

I wonder how this will effect the red ring issue, a smaller box will make it even hotter.

Dude... new technology is what makes manufacturers make slimmer and cheaper consoles. For as much as they would like 4 years ago this couldn't even be dreamed.

ansarimikail said:

I always thought PCs were more powerful, but I suppose Consoles work out cheaper in the long run. Considering you dont have to upgrade your graphics card everytime a new game comes out.

levar said:

I think that's more than enough reason why they'd want to slim it down a bit. Whats wrong if there's slim model I can't wait hopefully this is in the works, I hope they change its hard drive I hate the current and that its can't find the word I'm looking for :/ but it only being for the xbox360 and not like the PS3 that is using Laptop SATA Hard drives.

Jay Pfoutz Jay Pfoutz, Malware Helper, said:

This slim model, in my opinion, is just a trial to copy off of Sony when they made their Playstation slim models.

Just a way to save space. I think this is a greener way to make a gaming unit, however.

compdata compdata, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Maybe i would consider if it had a blu-ray drive too :-)

bigclick said:

More hardware as yet unconfirmed. If it is in development, I expect it sooner rather than later. I'm not into consoles, but I'd try to wait if I could.

Guest said:

What if they are sliming down the internals to make room for a PSU or what if they are integrating somthing else there is a PCI-E bus that could be tapped into also.

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.