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Thread: Thinking about buying a console (help needed)

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    White and Nerdy Anthem's Avatar
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    Default Thinking about buying a console (help needed)

    Well, I never thought this day would come but here I am. For Christmas, my wife got me a copy of Dragon Age and I got her a copy of Mass Effect. We sat down to play and realized that in the couple of years since we've gamed our computer had become somewhat underpowered. I realized that for the cost of upgrading our Mac we could do a lot better by getting rid of the desktop entirely, living with a laptop and buying a TV and console.

    We're pretty well locked into a 360 but I'm trying to figure out if that would work for us... The media capabilities look abysmal. As far as I can tell it can't run media off an attached Hard drive and can't access a networked share either. So i'd have to buy a nettop and run Boxee or something.

    Thoughts? Besides play games, what can your xbox do?

    EDIT: To clarify, we currently don't own a TV *OR* a console. But I'm thinking I could get close to $1000 for our iMac... that could get us a 360, a decent 32" TV, and a Revo.
    Last edited by Anthem; 01-01-2010 at 10:31 PM.
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    International Counter bellisimo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thinking about buying a console (help needed)

    mass effect and dragon age? if those are the types of games you're going for...PC is where it is at...i've built my system for $700USD over 2 years ago and have no problem playing those games properly...so knowing how technology cheapens computers value, i'm pretty sure you can get my same set-up for half the price these days....

    intel core 2 duo e6700 2.67GHZ *its an old model - not on newegg but the cheapest one there is $120*
    2 GIG DDR2 RAM *$50 on newegg.com*
    GeForce 8600 GTS *found 8600GT for $55 on newegg.com*

    rest is up to you...

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    The New Gold Swagger travmil's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thinking about buying a console (help needed)

    If you have a desktop running Windows 7 or Vista Home Premium or Ultimate, the media capabilities are fine. Your desktop can share any media file with the 360 over the network. Mp3, video, pictures. In fact, I have a buddy that basically uses his 360 as his cable box. You can even save whatever media files you have to a flash drive and run them off of that if you don't have network options. What other kind of media options are you looking for?

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    White and Nerdy Anthem's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thinking about buying a console (help needed)

    Quote Originally Posted by bellisimo View Post
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    mass effect and dragon age? if those are the types of games you're going for...PC is where it is at...i've built my system for $700USD over 2 years ago and have no problem playing those games properly...so knowing how technology cheapens computers value, i'm pretty sure you can get my same set-up for half the price these days....
    Yeah, with the parts I have I figure I could build a pretty great system (quad core, 4gig ram, etc) for $400, plus $150 for a screen. But I can get a 360 for $200.

    Quote Originally Posted by travmil View Post
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    If you have a desktop running Windows 7 or Vista Home Premium or Ultimate
    Which I don't, or at least wouldn't. The whole point is to ditch the desktop entirely.

    You can even save whatever media files you have to a flash drive and run them off of that if you don't have network options.
    It's a start... does it have to be a flash drive? Could I use an external hard drive?
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    The New Gold Swagger travmil's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thinking about buying a console (help needed)

    I'm not sure as I've never done the external hard drive. I have personally seen media streaming off of a flash drive plugged into the USB ports on the front of the system.

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    Junior Member The Toxic Avenger's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thinking about buying a console (help needed)

    I am a HUGE fan of the 360 but I'm not sure what all you want in a Entertainment System so I'll just tell you what my girlfriend and I do with ours.

    First and foremost... You need an Xbox, High Speed internet, HD TV and an Xbox LIVE gold account ($50 a year), definitely HD Cables which usually cost extra. To do what I do and have what I have from scratch will cost a lot of money up front so don't take this challenge lightly!

    1: I play FPS like Halo 3, Cod, GoW, Etc. Its what the Xbox was designed for IMO!

    2: I use it for Netflix. I'd estimate that over half of Netflix's media is available via streaming HD video over Xbox Live. To watch Netflix you need a Gold Live account and you need to subscribe to netflix (plans start at $9 a month). Anyway, of all the things an Xbox does I'm most excited to tell people about Netflix as everything else is expected and is done on every other console. Netflix has its own "app" if you will where you can browse movies by type. Scrolling through you'll see Menu Titles like: New Release, Recommened for You, Your Instant Queue (A list of movies that you've already "Added" to watch later), Recently Watched, Drama, Action, Comedy, Sci-Fi, Romance, Foreign, Independent, Documentary etc.

    You can add/watch movies, TV Shows, Whole TV series... PBS Documentaries, The History Channel... for Halloween there was a Zombie Menu where I found a plethora of good and bad Zombie movies.

    Anyway, With each and every title you watch you can rate it out of 5 stars. If you like a particular movie Netflix will recommend other movies of the same genre, featuring the same actor, or movies liked by people who share your overall taste in entertainment... the more titles you rate the better it gets and sensing your likes and dislikes. Netflix eventually gives titles you haven't seen yet a rating it expects you to give it. Its pretty spot on.

    SO, you liked the Movie "Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels" and rated it 5 stars... Netflix will recommend "Snatch" and give it a Best Guess rating of 4.5 stars. And again, depending on your internet, its usually in HD.

    3: I play RPGs like Oblivion, Fallout or Dragon Age. The graphics are good and there is no "Memory Lag" that I always used to feel when I played these on any standard Desktop or Laptop.

    4: Free Demos. I have a 60GB hard drive with which to download dozens of free game demos before I commit to buying the full $60+ game... You usually get about 5% of the full game in a few actual levels, customized for the Demo, extra content like pictures, trailers, or Themes (which are like a Computers Desktop Pic) for free and can decide right away if I'm going to purchase the game or not.

    5: Arcade games and Games on Demand. Download full games and mini arcade games or useless apps for $1-$15 straight to your Hard Drive... I recently downloaded a Tower Defense Game, Uno, and Galaga (yes the original Galaga) that was remastered to not look like crap on 1080p (which is what I have going to my LCD) They are games that I could probably play online for free but I save the cost of owning a computer and i get to play them while reclining so win/win really. One of the sillier things I've seen is a scrolling LED display that you program to say whatever you want... the time, "Newman Sucks" or whatever.

    I just recently gave my girlfriend her own Xbox Live Gold account so that she can have her own custom Xbox experience... I already own 2 xboxes and I take 1 to work with me so is essence we each get our own xbox. Anyway, It suprises me how differently she sees and uses the Xbox compared to me. She has downloaded her own themes (desktop pics yet so much more), uses the rudimentary facebook app (sad i know), and just downloaded Diner Dash. She has also set up her own Last.fm account so she can listen to Lady GaGa and Queen while doing things around the apartment. Her favorite things to do via Xbox is Play Uno, Listen to music, and watch an endless slideshow of her, her friends, and our pugs facebook pictures. She's made her own avatar and purchased a pug that her avatar interacts with.

    I've dabbled with connecting a PC to my Xbox and its really easy but I haven't really used its features... just moved some music to my Xbox.

    Lets see... Total Costs
    Xbox (Arcade): $200
    Xbox Live Gold account: For one Year $50
    Extra Xbox Controller:$40
    HD Cables: (I think... mine came with the xbox via ebay) $40
    Better Hard Drive: (cheaper on Ebay) $90
    Netflix Per Month: $9

    With Taxes: $450+

    If you have any more questions about the Xbox or need anymore details feel free to ask as I like to spread the word about how awesome the Xbox is!

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    Default Re: Thinking about buying a console (help needed)

    360 comes with HD cables IIRC. I have an Elite now so it came with a HDMI cable and HD cables, but I thought the Arcade should come with a split cable for HD and regular use.

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    Junior Member The Toxic Avenger's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thinking about buying a console (help needed)

    They might have changed it but the Box for MY xbox that I'm looking at right now says an arcade gets Standard (I'm assuming Yellow, white, red) and that Pro and Elite get Standard/HD and that the elite also gets an HDMI... I know they also have VGA cables out and about as well for those who like that.

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    White and Nerdy Anthem's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thinking about buying a console (help needed)

    Quote Originally Posted by The Toxic Avenger View Post
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    I am a HUGE fan of the 360 but I'm not sure what all you want in a Entertainment System so I'll just tell you what my girlfriend and I do with ours.
    Yes! This is what I'm looking for. Would love to see use cases for other people... it's really helpful.
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    White and Nerdy Anthem's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thinking about buying a console (help needed)

    Ok, so I'm trying to figure out the difference between the $200 and $300 bundle. I'm switching back and forth between editions here:

    http://www.amazon.com/Xbox-360-Arcad...2433291&sr=8-3

    The extra $100 gets you...

    - A black cover.
    - A 120gig HD (internal, I assume)
    - 2 games (that I won't play... can I sell them for anything?)

    Stuff that's the same:
    - Still only 1 controller
    - Still no cables
    - The pro talks about HD capability and an HDMI port and the arcade doesn't, but surely that's a shared feature right?
    - Same with DVD... surely the Arcade can handle DVD, right? How's its upscanning capability?
    - As a PC person, I'm assuming that when the xBox arcade says "256megs of memory" what they really mean is "storage." Is that right? The arcade comes without storage, the Pro comes with a big hard drive.

    Basically the cost difference doesn't seem worth it unless it's the only way to add a hard drive, which doesn't seem to be the case. I'm still going to be springing for another controller and an HDMI cable. Is there anything else I'm likely to need?
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    Default Re: Thinking about buying a console (help needed)

    All hard drives on the 360 are EXTERNAL and portable. It's basically like having a giant memory card that you can pop on and off and take with you easily. I have the Elite which comes with the 120 GB hard drive and I think it's great, some big games run much quicker (loading screens stuff like that doesn't take as long) when you run them off the hard drive as opposed to the disc and having the extra space allows me to do that more often.

    Anthem, I also believe that the Elite is the only Xbox that is compatible with HDMI, meaning the Pro and Arcade DO NOT have the HDMI hook up on the back.
    Last edited by Trader Joe; 01-02-2010 at 04:54 PM.

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    White and Nerdy Anthem's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thinking about buying a console (help needed)

    Quote Originally Posted by Indy View Post
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    I have the Elite which comes with the 120 GB hard drive and I think it's great, some big games run much quicker (loading screens stuff like that doesn't take as long) when you run them off the hard drive as opposed to the disc and having the extra space allows me to do that more often.
    Gotcha. How much of that space do you actually use? Is the 120GB worth it over the 20GB?

    Anthem, I also believe that the Elite is the only Xbox that is compatible with HDMI, meaning the Pro and Arcade DO NOT have the HDMI hook up on the back.
    Wow, really? Gotta look into that. Anybody here have the XBox Arcade? Does it really not have HDMI?
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    Default Re: Thinking about buying a console (help needed)

    The hard drive is well worth it, obviously to save game files but to also download demos, videos, and expansion packs. The most important is the ability to burn games to the hard drive (you still have to have the game in the tray to play), this will help extend the life of your 360. However the hard drives are external so if you decide to go with the arcade, you can buy one later.

    Yeah both play DVDs, but again to extend the life of the system, I wouldn't recommend using it as your primary DVD player. I assume it's just a run of the mill type anyway, since the HD-DVD add on was the upscaling player.

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    Default Re: Thinking about buying a console (help needed)

    Quote Originally Posted by Anthem View Post
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    Wow, really? Gotta look into that. Anybody here have the XBox Arcade? Does it really not have HDMI?
    I think still might... I bought a pro to replace my elite after it died, and it has an hdmi port. I'm looking at the box now, and for the arcade it says that cable is sold separately for the arcade. So I assume it has one as well, but hopefully someone can verify.

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    Default Re: Thinking about buying a console (help needed)

    Yeah, I don't know I just remember when the Elite first came out they made a big deal about it having the HDMI port, maybe they started adding the port to the arcade and pro later on.

    I think the 120 GB hard drive is worth it, but I don't remember off the top of my head how much space I use, but I think being able to burn the games to the hard drives is such a great thing especially for the big games i.e. I've used it for Oblivion and most recently for Forza 3.

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    White and Nerdy Anthem's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thinking about buying a console (help needed)

    Quote Originally Posted by Natston View Post
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    I think still might... I bought a pro to replace my elite after it died, and it has an hdmi port. I'm looking at the box now, and for the arcade it says that cable is sold separately for the arcade. So I assume it has one as well, but hopefully someone can verify.
    Yeah, check this pic of the back panel:

    Clicky.

    So that's solved.
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    Default Re: Thinking about buying a console (help needed)

    Also, Anthem since you brought up Mass Effect I assume you're aware that the sequel is coming out on 360 this month?

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    Default Re: Thinking about buying a console (help needed)

    Quote Originally Posted by Natston View Post
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    Yeah both play DVDs, but again to extend the life of the system, I wouldn't recommend using it as your primary DVD player. I assume it's just a run of the mill type anyway, since the HD-DVD add on was the upscaling player.
    Well anything we're going to watch regularly gets ripped and put on the media server. It's just the "just rented this and want to watch it ASAP" that gets watched on an optical drive.

    EDIT: A bit of googling is showing people with major complaints about play quality of the DVD player, so we'll see. The point is to have the minimal number of devices possible, but we'll see.
    Last edited by Anthem; 01-02-2010 at 06:13 PM.
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    Default Re: Thinking about buying a console (help needed)

    Quote Originally Posted by Indy View Post
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    Also, Anthem since you brought up Mass Effect I assume you're aware that the sequel is coming out on 360 this month?
    I am, as a matter of fact.

    The PC version is buggy as all get-out. I've got the minimum specs needed, but it keeps crashing after about 10 minutes of play. It's a well-known bug, there's a 70-page thread about it in the Bioware forum. It might or might not be related to a certain version of a sound driver, but nobody can say for sure. I tried messing with it for a while, and then decided I've moved past the point in my life where I have patience to try and solve bizarre software bugs. I only have a very limited amount of free time per week, and I don't want to spend it debugging error logs.

    So I'm cashing in the iMac (was running XP via BootCamp) and spending the money on a console, a TV, and a mediacenter frontend. PC gaming's been dying for a while and probably has a ways to go before it hits rock bottom, but I'm done with it.
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    International Counter bellisimo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thinking about buying a console (help needed)

    on a side note - what is the life cycle for PS3 and 360? in other words...when will the PS4 and xbox720? will come out?

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    Default Re: Thinking about buying a console (help needed)

    Quote Originally Posted by bellisimo View Post
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    on a side note - what is the life cycle for PS3 and 360? in other words...when will the PS4 and xbox720? will come out?
    At least two years...

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    Fear my small avatar Gyron's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thinking about buying a console (help needed)

    Atari 2600 will solve all of your problems.

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    Default Re: Thinking about buying a console (help needed)

    Anthem, do you mind explaining your media server setup and how you get your movies onto it? Does that include high def (Blu-ray)?

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    Default Re: Thinking about buying a console (help needed)

    Quote Originally Posted by Indy View Post
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    Anthem, I also believe that the Elite is the only Xbox that is compatible with HDMI, meaning the Pro and Arcade DO NOT have the HDMI hook up on the back.
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    Wow, really? Gotta look into that. Anybody here have the XBox Arcade? Does it really not have HDMI?
    No. All Xbox 360 consoles as of now have full HDMI support. This includes any previous Pro models with the 60GB HDD as well as the current Elite and Arcade.
    http://www.xbox.com/en-US/hardware/compare101.htm

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    Default Re: Thinking about buying a console (help needed)

    Quote Originally Posted by Hicks View Post
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    Anthem, do you mind explaining your media server setup and how you get your movies onto it? Does that include high def (Blu-ray)?
    Nope, just standard def so far.

    Right now, I don't have a TV, just an iMac. We just rip the DVDs with HandBrake/VLC and watch them either in iTunes or Frontrow.

    It's mostly what we're using the iMac for. And it seems stupid to have $800 locked up in something that's essentially a 20" TV. So we're gonna buy a nice 32" LCD for about $350, an Xbox Arcade for $200, and an Acer Aspire Revo for $200.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-228-_-Product

    That baby will push out 720p no problem.

    I'll be running Windows 7 on it, most likely (because only Windows gets GPU-accelerated Flash for now, which means it can push fullscreen hi-def Flash content) but you'll never see the Windows interface. I'll be using it for XBMC or Boxee, not sure yet. Both are relatively the same. Boxee is in the lead right now because it does better with Hulu.

    Everything on the network will have gigabit ethernet, so streaming video across the network will be no problem. In the short term, I'll have everything on external hard drives tucked behind the TV. In the long term, I'll go back to what I used to do, which is have a box tucked away in a closet whose sole function is to serve up media.

    Does that answer your question?
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