How To Lose An Argument: 120GB Xbox 360 Edition

Want to argue with me? Come with proper facts and some logic to argue your case or I’ll make you cry and send you home a loser.

Oof. Look at all the would be job applicants that just retracted their resumes – I’m not talking about a work argument… believe it or not I’m far more willing to compromise and accepting of different points of view at work. This is about some all-too-typical fanboy crap.

For example, consider the 120GB Xbox 360 Hard Drive upgrade and it’s suggested retail price…

A lot of people have been mumbling about the MSRP of the 360’s new 120GB drive, since it’s currently $180 [for the sake of ease, I’m rounding $179.99 to $180 – work with me on this].

The first reaction is “zOMG!!!1!11 THAT”S S0 MUCH!” often followed by “HO SHVIT! I CAN GET M0GAM0 BYTES FOR THAT! 500GB for 109!!!1!121”.


Yes, if you go to CompUSA or Fry’s or the like, you will see a 500GB drive for under $180. But how does that compare to the 120GB HDD in question?

It doesn’t.


The 120GB HDD accessory for the 360 is a Serial ATA 2.5″ 120GB hard drive. The drive above is either Parallel or Serial ATA and certainly 3.5″. Fact: 2.5″ inch drives aren’t available at 500GB. The “common” cap at this point is 160GB – I’ve heard of 200GB coming soon, but since the 2.5″ 160GB is more than a 3.5″ 500GB drive already, it’s a moot point.

What the hell are people talking about a drive for if you can’t even use it on the system in question?

And there’s the problem: people are panicking about something that they shouldn’t be panicking about. Apple and Oranges, neh? I could get a really sweet V8 engine on the cheap but if it won’t physically fit in my Jeep, what does it mean? Nothing! It’s like trying to convert country music to French.

So lets look at it another way, by comparing bytes to bytes:

2.5″ 120GB SATA 5400rpm drive, OEM packaging from NewEgg: $90

Now consider retail packaging, i.e. you go to CompUSA: $130

Add to that an external enclosure w/ wire, NewEgg has a bunch: $30 on average

You’re now at $160. Also, as part of the new drive’s price, you get some sort of transfer software. I don’t know if that means a PC process, an Xbox disc, or what have you: it just means that there’s another feature in the overall package that has some price involved. $20 worth? If it means I don’t lose my saved games and Gamertag, I’d pay $50, but fine… say it’s a gimmie and call it $5.

This brings the estimates price of a comparable HDD solution to $165.


Now then. If you’d like to complain about the gap between this solution and the 360 accessory, by all means have at it. Will I argue it? No, because I think the transfer software makes up for the gap in hardware, but that’s just my opinion. Besides, as it stands now, it’s a $15 doller difference, which is at best 5 lattes. And I don’t even need the space: I’ve still got all of the sample data on my HDD with 8+ GB free – I don’t leave downloaded videos knocking around any more than I do on my DVR. One of those OCD things, I guess *g* Would I leave stuff on the drive if I had room, though? Probably. It would be a nice to have.

But at least make this your argument, using the proper technology when making comparisons. Otherwise it turns into a chronic case of mental masturbation and personally, I don’t have the time.

Fun stuff either way… Jump In :)

14 thoughts on “How To Lose An Argument: 120GB Xbox 360 Edition”

  1. It can’t? I mean, I plugged in a Zune that had WMV’s on it and I could play them back (at least it did the last time I tried it) – are your movies not in WMV format maybe? I KNOW that it works for music… maybe it’s looking for the files in a different location? The PSP *still* screws me up with where to put video :)

  2. it’s just weird considering that Sony’s got a product that works with standard SATA drives right out of the box.

  3. And that I can’t argue that. I mean, that’s what it was designed with; the 360 was designed to use a standard SATA notebook drive in a 360-specific enclosure. The orignal Xbox had a standard PATA drive. What does it all mean if there’s enough room for your data? Not much at all :)

  4. Well, if you consider that the second generation of PlayStation 2 models, those being the ones released in the US and Europe in late 2000, could use a swappable standard PATA drive with a network adapter? Note, the very first generation of PS2s in Japan used a funky PC card device in the back and the slims can’t use a HDD at all with out major modifications to the console.

    It just really makes me wonder if Microsoft is or is not behind the times on this. Given the size of the motherboard and internal components, you could easily fit a standard 3.5″ disk into an xbox360 with out necessarily making it much bigger than the PlayStation 2 or indeed itself.

    Also, given that you can use any number of non-sony devices on the PS2 and PS3, I’m seriously beginning to wonder if Sony has been selling consoles at a loss or not, even with R&D.

    Oh, and the Xbox360 can’t use anything but the HDD and the MemoryCard for storage of Xbox Live Marketplace content. Which is kind of the big deal right now since when High Definition movies were announced, Microsoft reps told consumers who already filled their xbox360 disks with premium xbox content to buy another one. So… oops.

  5. It depends on how you look at it, of course. The PATA drive that was an add on for the PS2 can’t even work with the latest rev of the PS2 – that it’s a PATA vs SATA makes it older tech, straight up, so that’s a moot issue already.

    As for easily fitting a 3.5″ drive into a 2.5″ drive, no, it’s not easy. To say so is to look at the drawer of the DVD drive and the drawer of the HD-DVD and say “Hey, lets swap them”. There’s no where to put it in the box – outside the box, what you see is all that could fit. That’s just plain ol’frashioned geometry. Also, the good thing about the 2.5″ drives is that they use less power and can often be self powered by an enclosure’s USB cable – 3.5″ need an external power source. How does that play into the 360? I’ll leave that question out there.

    Otherwise, I’m not sure what non-Sony devices you mean on the PS2 or PS3. If it’s controllers, Sony and Microsoft both have many third party companies making controllers already for the PS2/3 or Xbox/360. If it’s data, you can plug an iPod or HDD [or Zune] into a 360 to play your own content. As for Marketplace content, yeah that is restricted, but that’s also DRM’d – makes it no worse than other DRM solutions like iPod and their iTunes Music Store downloaded content. You can put that on a HDD, sure, but you can’t play it without added overhead for the PC you bring it to.

    Further, isn’t the whole point of the removable HDD that of upgrade and size? If they put a 120GB HDD on a 360 in Nov-05, the price would have been $200 higher b/c of the cost of the drive itself. That would have sucked then AND now, I still have 8GB free on my current 20GB drive. If I fill up my PC HDD I’m told to buy an extra one yet not everyone fills theirs… so I don’t get the point. Either, thanks – I’d rather have the choice.

  6. As far as non-sony components, I’m referring to various PlayStation->USB adapters reported to have worked(and I’m thinking that there are usb controllers that have been reported working, but I can’t verify that), USB headsets, in addition that nearly any USB storage device works as a memory card on the PS3. Plus the fact that you could use a non-Sony HDD in the PS3 and PS2 if you had the initialization disk.

    As far as fitting a 3.5″ drive where the 2.5″ drive goes is concerned I was speaking in terms of design. You just simply make the thing .5 inches wider on both sides. The thing’s relatively small, so, another inch won’t hurt. The Xbox360’s HDD already sticks up and out like a sore thumb rather than nestling safely inside of the machine with say, a hatch where you can pull it out and replace it with another, like say, the PS2 and PS3 do.

    Where you’d get the power to run a 3.5″ HDD is where you’d get power to run the power to a DVDROM or any other component, the internal power supply. The pin-out from the xbox360’s connector has the SATA spec power connector pins and the connector breaks out to a standard SATA data cable and power cable. That sucker is big so, it better have enough juice to run a 3.5″ disk…

    Yeah it would’ve been more expensive, but I’m really not worried about what it should have shipped with in terms of density, but rather, function. The fact that it runs with standard hardware under the hood means that we should be able to easily replace the hardware with out necessarily voiding the warranty.

  7. Lotta if’s in that first paragraph :)

    In retrospect, maybe, on the design. But after all the crap the original Xbox and PS3 have taken over big sizes, I can certainly see that the width was a huge design goal. Also, we don’t know what the change to a 3.5″ drive would have done for things like heat displacement, power consumption, speed of access, etc. It’s not designed like a PC, where you can replace the parts with a CompUSA shopping spree upgrade – consoles are very, very tuned in all scenarios. The fact that you can replace the hard drive on the PS3 – if you have the installation disc – is impressive from an engineering feat, but is it worth it? For all the support costs and calls that come along with it? Not for me to say.

    Frankly, I think you’re looking at this from the eyes of Apr-2007 and hindsight makes it easy to be an armchair quarterback. From the forward looking eyes of 2005, before the initial release, I’m sure it wasn’t so easy to be “sure” of all the things that we can talk about now.

    Further, the point of this post wasn’t to debate the price, design or validity of the 360 or it’s HDD. It was about how not to argue an argument – at least you have some valid points to do so :)

  8. Actually, in 2004, I was just installing my first hdd into my PS2 for use with HDLoader, and I was thinking that it was a shame I couldn’t easily extract or install the disk out of an Xbox as easily as I could a PS2 and I hoped for the same functionality when the PS3 and Xbox2 came out. When I found out the dimensions, the first thought was why didn’t they include a cheaper 3.5″ drive bay? It would’ve been smaller, but the upgrade options would’ve been tons better.

    As far as the PS3 goes, you don’t need the install disk for the ps3, just PS2. I no grammar well.

  9. You sir are an idiot.

    Simply open the HDD enclosure and use the cable to connect a 3.5″ drive. And *bam* your entire argument is null and void.

    Have a nice day.

  10. You preview your comments before posting them? Then what’s the point…

    The only comments we see are the ones you have allowed. Utter bullshit. Eat it.

  11. The only comments I delete are from moronic people that feel obligated to click Post more than once.

    Besides, what are you connecting a 3.5″ drive to? The SATA cable? What SATA cable? Out of the drive bay? Then how are you getting power to a 3.5″ drive? You need a 2.5″ drive for it to work.

    Geez, what a dumb ass.

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