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4GB vs 250GB

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Posted on Jan 4, 2012 9:45:41 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 5, 2012 8:13:21 AM PST
me says:
So everyone is saying they are the same, unless you want to store stuff. I.e. The speed is the same. Well I have a question for you.

Is there anyone here who actually tried both XBox 360 Slim 250GB and XBox 360 Slim 4GB side by side? I.e. when you say the speed is the same, are you guessing it or is it based on actual results of running the machines?

Despite what Microsoft wants you to believe, (I.e. the name of the two products only differ by 4GB and 250GB. It suggests that the size is the only difference, and they have the same performance), it is simply not true.

I first bought XBox 360 Slim 250GB Kniect Bundle a few weeks ago, and then after the price drop of XBox 360 Slim 4GB Kniect Bundle, I returned the 250GB model and bought 4GB model yesterday. Thinking, like all of you, that the 'only difference is the storage size and therefore the speed should be the same.'

Well guess what. I play LA Noire and there is significant the difference in loading time. When playing it for the first time on the 4GB model, I was shocked when I noticed that the loading time (between saved-game loads) is possibly three to four times longer. The loading process on the 4GB model is so long that it shows slide shows of pictures, and now I usually have to wait enough time for two to three pictures to show on the slide shows while the game is loading. The exact same loading on the 250GB model rarely showed slide shows, because it was fast enough. And when it sometimes did, it only showed one picture, never had time to show another one. My girlfriend was also very surprised that the loading is much longer.

Same thing with Fallout 3. Both loading and saving on 4GB model takes easily twice as long.

Of course, I had not installed these games to the HDD on the 250GB Model. So even when you don't install games to the HDD, the 250GB model is faster. And I'm talking about very noticeable difference, not some tiny differences. Actually the difference is so great that now I want to sell this 4GB model and buy 250GB again, even if that means I have to pay non-sale price.

I suspected that the difference must come from the storage device controller. I.e. between the flash interface and the SATA interface. So I did some work. And now I know that XBox 360 Slim 4GB model uses Silicon Motion SM3251 as its memory controller. SM3251 is a USB2.0 flash controller. Well, that explains the mystery. It's well known that, on average, SATA 2 controllers outperform USB2.0 controllers by 60% (check Tom's Hardware, etc). This can be verified by running the same external drive by both SATA or USB 2.0 controllers and comparing the numbers. Actually, I found out that, to make the matters worse, if you look up the datasheet for SM3251 flash controller, the target bandwidth is 25-22MB/s, (assuming that the 4GB flash is a MLC-type flash, which I am not sure about. If the flash is SLC-type flash, the write speed drops to 12MB/s), which is much slower than what people typically assume for USB 2.0 (60MB/s)

You don't have to believe me. Just open up your XBox S 4GB and check the memory controller sitting next to the flash memory, check its datasheet, compare it against SATA spec.

In short, both saving and loading from that SM3251 controller is going to be much slower than saving and loading from a SATA controller.

It doesn't matter if there are 100+ postings here blabbing that the only difference is the "space", and therefore it only matters if you download, install games, etc. There IS a performance difference. And you'll notice when you load saved games.

This experience made me realize how much BS is on Amazon discussion. People wording their guesses as if they were verified facts.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 4, 2012 5:06:57 PM PST
Cyprus says:
Wow, that's some good sleuthing right there!

What kind of file size do LA Noire saves come in at?

Posted on Feb 2, 2012 10:29:44 PM PST
Faz says:
well i m a typically sony console player since i was a kid....but now want to buy the xbox 360 but have no knowledge at all as i neva even considered it i just want to know few things
1. wot is a red light and wot does rodded means and does it still exists in new slim consoles??
2. Is using a flash drive means that i've to open the xbox and put the drive in to it or just to connect it via external usb port as we connect it with pc??

All responses will be highly appreciated and will be very thankful.

Posted on Feb 9, 2012 12:11:03 AM PST
S. Redmond says:
@me wow thanks for that very informative post!

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 9, 2012 5:43:41 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 9, 2012 5:45:41 AM PST
me says:
I bought the 250GB HDD add-on, and moved all system files & save files from 4GB internal flash drive to the new HDD. I'm happy to report that the loading time for Fallout 3 and LA Noire both improved significantly.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 23, 2012 4:54:22 PM PST
Austin 2240 says:
So, let me get something straight. If all i want to do is play xBox Live with a couple of my mates and Call of Duty, Forza, and NCAA off the disc, I wouldn't need the 250 gb model. Am I correct?

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 23, 2012 6:25:16 PM PST
Actually, I think you will need a harddrive especially if you are playing a lot of games on Xbox live. I figure most of the data your compile while playing online games has to be saved and stored someplace and 4gigs will fill up mighty quick. Seems that a lot of people that get the 4gb system end up buying the harddrive in the end anyways. So you can pay now or pay later. Might as well make it easy on yourself and just get the system with the harddrive to start with.

Posted on Feb 28, 2012 3:46:05 AM PST
Will I be ok buying a 4gb xbox for my son he's only 8and it's just to play a few games on

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 22, 2012 6:22:52 AM PDT
R. Dodge says:
This is a wonderfully informative post. Thank you for going through the pro's and con's so well.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 2, 2012 7:07:46 AM PDT
So i can constantly have 2 16gb flashdrives in the usb ports constantly? And will I be able to specify which drive b4 playing/loading/saving any game?

In reply to an earlier post on May 14, 2012 5:51:27 PM PDT
You can buy the 4GB then use some of the money you save to buy a better internal harddrive. You can easily get 500GB for less than $80

Posted on Jun 8, 2012 1:44:26 PM PDT
12lcrawford says:
Ok let's just some all that junk up! If u want to store lots and lots of stuff on your xbox 360 then u want to go with the 250gb. And If u just want to go to the store and buy the game on a disk and u don't want to download movies exta maps ect. U should go with the 4gb. And why the heak do they have such a big jump from 4gb to 250 gb?????

Posted on Jun 8, 2012 1:45:20 PM PDT
12lcrawford says:
Ok let's just some all that junk up! If u want to store lots and lots of stuff on your xbox 360 then u want to go with the 250gb. And If u just want to go to the store and buy the game on a disk and u don't want to download movies exta maps ect. U should go with the 4gb. And why the heak do they have such a big jump from 4gb to 250 gb?????

Posted on Jun 21, 2012 10:14:25 PM PDT
Steven Stern says:
Can I add a 3rd party hard drive to the 4gb xbox system to get more space? I have a few WD 750gb data drives I'm not using.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 22, 2012 7:23:15 AM PDT
I hear the max u can add is a 16 (or was it 32) gb usb flashdrive. Micro$oft is greedy, they wont allow you to just use any old external hard drive. Although I'm not stopping you from trying, just make sure you don't need any of the data on it.

Posted on Jun 28, 2012 7:18:22 PM PDT
M. Hanekom says:
ATTENTION: I've noticed a lot of the comments include the different finishes of each version. I just bought a new 250 GB today and it is matte finish (like the 4 GB), it's NOT shiny like the one I bought 2 years ago! It looks a lot better in my opinion, and it doesn't smudge either!

Posted on Nov 3, 2012 2:03:11 PM PDT
Faz says:

I want to buy an Xbox not for gaming but to convert my HD Tv for the use of TV on demand and others such as Netflix etc...

My question is which Xbox should I get?
Bearing my mind I don't intend to download anything, I have my laptop and desktop for this

Pure usage to convert my tv to watch tv on demand.


Posted on Nov 3, 2012 2:05:14 PM PDT
Faz says:
Also do I need to buy a keyboard?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 6, 2012 7:06:23 PM PST
Q.Q. McMudd says:
Don't forget that when Bill Gates built DOS for IBM, he never imagined that we would need more that 1.92 mb of ram. Very true story.

Posted on Nov 11, 2012 7:45:47 PM PST
Joe says:
For the price, get the 4 gb and a hard drive on Amazon. 40 bucks for a 250 gig.

Posted on Nov 13, 2012 12:22:19 AM PST
romeoteknik says:
The latest update allows you to use a 32GB USB drive.


Posted on Nov 14, 2012 7:59:33 AM PST
Angie Bry says:
I see a lot about the 4gb vs the 250gb. What about the xbox 360 20gb?? Is it the same thing as the 4gb with just a little more gb?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 23, 2012 6:56:29 AM PST
250-4=246. If you're going to correct someone's math, get it right. :)

Posted on Nov 23, 2012 12:18:38 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 23, 2012 12:20:25 PM PST
A. Murray says:
I can't believe I wasted my time reading alot of these posts... I only saw 1 or 2 people mention that there was a 320GB hard drive that you can buy for $50 and even though it's an external drive, apparently it slides into the console somewhere and really becomes an internal drive. This is THE main reason why the 4GB console exists! So people who have the 4GB console will eventually need to buy the external/internal drive. However, don't be fooled because you just need to give it a good 3-6 months and you will see third party vendors pumping out 500GB drives for cheap. I'm going to get the 4GB console with the Kinect bundle and use one of my 16 thumb drives I have laying around and when I eventually need more memory 6 months from now, I'll just buy a drive on Amazon/ebay.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 24, 2012 11:11:40 PM PST
Herbert Neal says:
That's what I plan to do.
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Total posts:  222
Initial post:  Jul 20, 2010
Latest post:  19 days ago

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