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There's a new Xbox 360 in town and he goes by the name of "Jasper". Here's what you should know about the new units and how to tell if you're looking at one when you find one in the store.
Microsoft, in its constant search for cooler, more reliable hardware, has revised the Xbox 360 a number of times in the past, and, as of October 2008, they've done it once again. The new Xbox 360 features lower power requirements and lower heat output by shrinking the size of the CPU and GPU chips. The latest model of the Xbox 360 ships with a 65 nanometer CPU and GPU which should help to increase reliability. Less heat means fewer chances of mother-board warping and resulting in the "Red Ring of Death" we've all come to know and love about the Xbox 360. Also, because the chips consume less power, a lower wattage power supply was called for in the form of a 150 watt supply versus the older, 175 watt supply. Finally, the on-board system memory has been raised to 256MBs, allowing even units without a hard disk drive to enjoy the New Xbox Experience.
Now, the question is, how do you recognize these new units in the wild? According to Benjamin J. Heckendorn over at Engadget, the easiest way to tell the difference between the old Xbox 360 and the new "Jasper" Xbox 360 -- without taking it apart, of course -- is to look at the number of amps used by the 12 volt rail. This is actually easier to do than it sounds... The magic number you are looking for is 12.1 amps and you only need look through the hole in the Xbox 360 box where the barcode for the unit peaks through for scanning.
If all goes according to plan, you'll be able to enjoy more time playing with your Xbox 360 and less time sending it back to Microsoft.