Today’s big news: Microsoft Unveils Xbox 360 Elite
Shiny black finish? Check.
HDMI support? Check.
120GB hard drive? Check.
But the one question that this press release doesn’t address is the one that matters most to me: How much noise does it make? I’ve got two Xbox 360s here, purchased almost exclusively for their Media Center Extender capabilities. The one that was installed in the master bedroom has now been banished because of the godawful noise, which made TV viewing unpleasant. The one in the living room is still in service, but the noise level, while tolerable in the larger room, is still noticeable, especially when watching a quiet movie on DVD or streamed from the Media Center PC in the other room.
I really hope that the engineers who work on the Xbox 360 pay some heed to the many complaints about this issue. Read the comments on this thread, for instance, to see that I’m not alone: the fan noise is “pretty distracting, actually”; “annoying and the wife acceptance factor just isn’t there”; “makes the 360 useless as a media player”; “for bedroom purposes, useable only if you want to drown the fan noise with louder audio”; and so on.
Spousal acceptance factor is the key metric. These comments from the same thread are identical to my experience:
Vista works flawlessly with the new XBOX 360 as an extender. The graphics are great, HD, recording, etc. everything works as it should through the XBOX. The only problem is the fan noise on the XBOX 360, unbelievable. It’s unrivaled as appliances go, and my wife is not too pleased with it.
In the bedroom we have a Linksys extender and there is NO noise from the box. It is a very [quiet] unit, BUT it will not stream HD. The wife likes this box as an extender and uses it every day. Please wake up to the fact that any audible fan noise is NOT acceptable if Microsoft want the xBox 360 to be a true set top box.
As much as I love Vista’s Media Center capabilities, I can’t use them, at least not today. I’ve pulled the old first-generation Linksys Media Center Extender out of mothballs and put it back in the bedroom, and XP Media Center 2005 is running the show.