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Must-have Xbox 360 accessories

A solid collection of Microsoft Xbox 360 accessories, hand-picked to suit whichever version of the 360 you own.

CNET Networks

Now that the Xbox 360 Elite has been released, let's take a look at which accessories are must-buys. The actual amount of accessories you'll want ultimately will be up to you, but some decisions should be made depending on which version of the Xbox 360 you have. An Xbox 360 Core System owner will need to buy more accessories than an Xbox 360 Elite owner simply because of the difference in the items bundled with each system. Here's a list of what you should consider when in the market for Xbox 360 add-ons.

Extra controllers and batteries: The Xbox 360 can have up to a total of four controllers (wired or wireless) connected to the system at any time. Most gamers, myself included, like the feel of the Xbox 360 wireless controller ($50, also available in black). If wires don't bother you, a cheaper, wired alternative ($40) is available as well. As an added bonus, the wired controller will also work with any PC via USB.

If you choose to go with a wireless controller, you may get tired of constantly replacing the AA batteries. Instead, consider investing in a rechargeable battery pack ($12, also available in black) along with either a play-and-charge kit ($20, also in black) or a quick-charge kit ($30). The play-and-charge kit comes with a rechargeable battery and allows you to charge your controller while you play, using the 360's USB port for power. The quick-charge kit is a separate, more-expensive device that needs its own power source but can charge two batteries quickly at once. It too comes with an extra rechargeable-battery pack.

Storage: If you bought the Core System you're going to need storage space. The best way to do this is by purchasing a hard drive. Depending on how much downloading you plan on doing, you have two choices: the 20GB ($100) and the recently released 120GB ($180). In terms of value, I'd recommend the 120GB over the 20GB. If you already own an Xbox 360 with the 20GB hard drive and wish to upgrade to 120GB, Microsoft is offering its data transfer kit for free. But be warned, there have been some bumps in the road.

Wireless networking: Each Xbox 360 is ready for connection to the Internet directly out of the box using the included Ethernet cable. However, not everyone has their Xbox 360 close enough to their modem. If you find yourself in this situation, consider the wireless network adapter ($100) which connects to your 360 via the rear USB port. Of course in addition to the adapter, you'll need a wireless router to provide the Xbox 360 with a signal.

Wireless headset: If you're tired of wires all together, you may want to replace your wired headset with a wireless one ($60). It may be a little pricey but once you use it, you'll wonder how you ever played a game online without it.

HD DVD player add-on: If you're the type of person who must have the latest and greatest technology available, the HD DVD player add-on ($200) is something you should take a look at. Microsoft opted to keep the drive out of the 360 because of the current (and seemingly endless) format war between HD DVD and Blu-ray and to keep production costs down. Xbox 360 Elite owners may be more inclined to buy the HD DVD player add-on because of the inclusion of HDMI-out in the new console. HDMI will allow the best possible picture quality for the 360, making HD DVDs look even better then they did on previous Xbox 360 systems.