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What are the differences between Xbox 360 models? Arcades, Elites, Slims, Premiums and More

Updated on February 21, 2013

Need help buying an Xbox 360? This guide will help you learn all about the different versions of this console and the pros and cons of each. Microsoft's Xbox 360 is one of the most popular pieces of electronic on the market today. Hardcore gamers love all of the competitive, pulse-pounding games available for the 360 while casual gamers and families have fallen in love with the motion-tracking Kinect add-on.

Check out all of the different versions of the Xbox and find out what features are right for you. Be sure to leave any questions about Xbox 360 hardware in the comments section. I'll be happy to help as soon as I can with any inquiries!

Some models come with a Kinect
Some models come with a Kinect

Getting a new 360?

For newcomers to the system, however, it can be quite confusing. Over the years, Microsoft has released a large number of different variations on the Xbox 360 hardware. If you're not paying attention, it is difficult to tell which is which.If you're looking to pick up a 360 and want a run down of what each console is capable of, look no further! Read on for a complete analysis of the pros and cons of each of the many different Xbox models, including deprecated designs which are no longer in production and can only be purchased on the used market!

What You Can Find On All Xbox 360s

Setting a baseline

Before we start looking at differences between 360 models, let's look at what all the Microsoft console's have in common!

All Xbox 360 consoles can play 360 games, naturally. They are also able to play both DVDs and CDs. All of them can access the internet, although older models wi-fi is inferior to the upgraded Slim 360s.

There are no Xbox 360 models capable of playing Blu-Ray discs at the moment. 360s can also stream media by acting as a hub between your PC and your television.

The latest Xbox 360 model - The Xbox 360 Slim

Let's start by looking at the most recent model put out by Microsoft, the Xbox 360 Slim. This smaller, sleeker model was first released in 2010 and is the kind of Xbox 360 model currently being sold in stores They are known for having improved wi-fi, a better designed cooling system that is both more efficient and quieter than older Xbox models.

The 360 Slim also has additional USB ports located on the front of the console and in the back along the power strip. The 360 Slim also allows gamers to hook their 360 up with an HDMI cable, something not all of the previous iterations of the 360 allowed. All of the Slim models also come with a special port designed just for the Kinect. Older versions of the 360 can still use Kinect hardware, but the latest model has streamlined the process.

Other aesthetic differences include a revised interface for turning the system on and off and ejecting discs.

Read on to see the different versions of the Slim currently available on store shelves.

  • The Xbox 360 250 GB Console - This is considered the "standard" version of the 360 for gamers. The huge hard drive is perfect for those who love to take advantage of downloadable games or like to keep multiple titles fully installed on their hard drive at any one time. This does not, however, come with the Kinect.
  • The Xbox 360 4GB Console - The budget option. The 4GB is noticeably less expensive than the 250 GB version of the console, but for any users who love downloading full games, the space available might be insufficient.
  • The Xbox 360 4GB Console with Kinect Bundle - A popular choice for folks who are looking to buy a Kinect. This bundle allows for families looking to enjoy the Kinect's motion gaming titles to purchase a 360 and relevant accessories at a relatively low price.

The 360 Arcade
The 360 Arcade

The Older 360 Models

360 Slim vs Premium vs Elite

There are a number of 360 models currently no longer being produced but are still frequently found on the market. These are almost always being sold used, either through online resale shops on eBay or as refurbished products in local GameStops.

For the most part, the Slim Models are better in every way than their equivalent versions from the early generation of 360 hardware. However, there are still good reasons to purchase older 360 models. An old 120 GB Elite will cost the same as a new 4GB Slim but with exponentially more storage space, for example.

Read on to find out more specifics about the different models!

Information on Xbox 360 Arcade, Premium, and Elite editions

  1. The 360 Premium - There are actually two important versions of the Premium. It came in either a 20GB or 60GB version and was the vanguard of the original launch of the 360. After a few years, consumers stopped being interested in a middle ground and began to prefer the economy or elite versions described below.

    If you're looking for one of these online, try and find 360 Premium consoles made after September 2007. These feature an upgraded Falcon motherboard which is less prone to failure. If you already own an older 360 model and what to know if it has the Falcon chip set, check the SKU number. A number 0734 or higher will have the new hardware and will be less likely to have red rings of death.

  2. The 360 Arcade - Analogous to the current 4GB slim, the 360 Aracde was the original economy model released by Microsoft. Released with only a 256 MB hard drive, the Arcade was not able to hold much information other than saves and extremely small games. For a long time, the Arcade was a significant design problem for the 360s as developers were not encouraged to use features that took up a lot of hard drive space as a large percentage of 360 owners did not have a console capable of using these features.

    Luckily, the 360 has since been phased out.

  3. The Xbox 360 Elite - Once upon a time, the Elite was the best 360 on the market. With a huge 120 GB hard drive and a number of bonus pack-in features and accessories, this was also the priciest. Nowadays, you'll be able to find an Elite for cheap online making it a great alternative for users looking to get a used 360 without sacrificing much in the way of usability.

Any questions?

Thanks for reading. Leave a message in the comments section if you have any questions about buying or selling your Xbox 360 or need help figuring out what model of 360 you own.

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