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XBOX Buying Guide: 4GB vs. 250GB and Other FAQs

When did video games become so darn complex?  I still remember the Atari 2600 back in the day and you did not need a PhD to buy one.  That’s not the case anymore, so lets go over some of the Frequently Asked Questions people have about the XBOX 360:

Q: Should I buy the 4GB XBOX 360 over the 250GB XBOX 360 and save around $100?

A: No!  This is a bad idea unless you have some very specific use for it and are well versed in the XBOX world so you know what you will be unable to do or you are very hard pressed for cash.  Also, give some thought before giving a 4GB XBOX to someone as a gift.  It would be like giving someone a nice new sports car that can only hold 1 gallon of gas.  At first you’ll not notice till you are cruising around having a blast somewhere and the party stops.

Now let’s explain why.   When you are  looking at a 4GB XBOX, the “4GB” means how much hard disk space you have to store things.   It may sound like a lot at first but lets review the following points:

  • For best game performance you tend to install the game local to the hard disk rather than to play off the DVD.  Most games range from 4GB – 8GB.  It is also suggested by XBOX to run your games on the hard disk.  If you run them from the DVD too much they eventually deteriorate and the game will start to freeze up while playing.  XBOX games cost up to $60 each.  You want to take care of them.  With a 4GB drive you can MAYBE load one game but odds are you will need to play all games from the DVD.
  • Games with more than 1 DVD require data to be written to the XBOX’s hard disk.  The amount varies but it adds up fast.
  • XBOX, like all Microsoft products, are continually being patched and upgraded.  These upgrades are stored on the XBOX’s hard drive.  This adds up quickly.  Often when you buy a new game you have to run these patches/upgrades or you cannot play your new game.
  • If you want to store and view family photos and videos from your XBOX it will be very hard to do with only a 4GB hard drive.
  • XBOX live is an online community where you can play games with people all around the world and it offers all sorts of fun downloadable content.  Downloadable content can be game demos, full games, video clips, and other fun stuff you’ll quickly grow addicted downloading. These items are all rather large in size.  Guess where they are stored?  Yep, your hard drive.
  • Some salesmen will tell you that you can add more external hard disk later.  This is true but first off, it is external so it is going to take up more space and its more cables running behind your entertainment center and you can only add 32 GB total.  This is still not enough and the cost for that is about the same to buy the 250GB XBOX.
So there we have 6 reasons to go with the 250GB XBOX 360.  The price variance between the 4GB and the 256GB is about $100.  Money is tight and every dollar counts, but it’s also wise to get the most for your dollar.  When it is all said and done just know the limitations of the 4GB XBOX.

Q: What is Kinect?

A: It is an attachment that plugs into your XBOX (4GB or 250GB) that let’s the XBOX “see” you.  It’s kind of like a webcam but bigger.  With Kinect you can play games where you interact with your body rather than the controller.  There is a dance game called “Dance Central” that is very popular with Kinect.  Matter of fact, next time you are in an electronics store and you see someone jumping around like a fool they are likely playing Dance Central or some other Kinect game.   If they are, don’t make eye contact and quickly walk away. ;)

Kinect has a lot of exercise based games as well.  It is a great way to get in shape.  Trust me, you break a sweat with it!

Q: What is XBOX Live?

A: The XBOX 360 (4GB and 25oGB) comes with a Wi-Fi built in that allows you to connect your XBOX to the internet and play XBOX games with people all over the world.  Most games now come with a solo version (not online) and interactive version (online) for that very reason.  In order to do this you need an XBOX Live account.  There are plenty of other great features with XBOX Live.  You can stream movies, download games, play music, and a lot more.  There are two kinds of XBOX Live accounts.  One is free and allows you to do very little, to be frank.  You can download games, watch movies from Zune, and chat with other people on XBOX live.  In order to play games with other people, use NetFlix or Hulu to stream movies, use Facebook or Twitter on your TV, and get personalized music from Zune you need to pay.   A single account costs around $60 a year or you can get a family pack for around $100 a year.  Deals pop up from time to time for a cheaper price, but plan on spending some money if you want to use  XBOX Live.

:: Do you have an XBOX? Any tips or advice on buying one?

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