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>> The Xbox 360 was the first next hand console and it's held its spot as the console for hard core gamers. Now a few little tweaks and it could almost be perfect. I'm Brian [assumed spelling] Thomas for cnet.com and today we dive into the Xbox 360 Elite to see if the new upgrades really live up to its new name.
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>> The Xbox 360 Elite has the power, it's got the game and it has the ability to be the centerpiece of your living room with its digital entertainment services. So here's what you guys already know; it has a great library with tons of 360 exclusives like "Here's a Freakin' War and Halo 3 coming out. Now all the games are native in high def and this looks ridiculous. Xbox Live is the best online gaming service for consoles hands down and the experience is pretty seamless. The Xbox Live Marketplace allows you to download free movie trailers, game demos and use prepaid points to purchase original mini games or some of those great throwback titles. Now the Marketplace also allows you to download TV show episodes as well as feature length movie rentals by 300 in HD; Spartans. Now it has a DVD drive but there's an HD-DVD add on for under 180 bucks. It's the most affordable way to watch HD-DVD's and once you start, I'm telling you, you cannot go back. So we got all that out of the way, what's different? Well we got two things. A larger hard drive with 120 gigabytes of storage; that's 6 times the storage of previous 360's and if you're making this your multimedia center, 120 is a good thing. Now the other addition, an HDMI port. This makes connecting the most HD TV's easier with a single connection and most HD TV's accept the highest resolutions through HDMI. Now did I mention this black? Well make that three. So is it worth making an upgrade if you already own a 360? Well outside of the changes I just gabbed about, everything is basically the same. I mean you can buy the larger hard drive separately and pop it on your current 360, plus we're seeing that Microsoft is rolling out HDMI port on other versions of the console so the HDMI feature really isn't exclusive to the Elite model anymore. Now some of the things I really wish were upgraded built in WiFi so we don't have to buy an adapter or run all those messy wires through our home. Also it would have been nice to have an HD-DVD drive inside the Xbox Elite. I mean Sony's PS3 they have built in Blu-Ray, couldn't we have an HD-DVD drive in the Elite? Plus the DVD drive does seem to be still noisy and the cooling fan you can hear that too. The Xbox 360 Elite is a great machine to purchase on its own, and it offers a better value instead of making those upgrades down the road on your current Xbox 360. But if you own one already, it might not be compelling enough for you to be Elite. I'm Brian Thomas for cnet.com and as long as the 360 keeps pumping out great titles, its games and its multimedia features make it the console choice for the hardcore gamer.
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