BenQ VAD6038 DVD drive - image courtesy Xbox-Scene
No, not THAT optical drive; just a quieter DVD drive

The sharp-eyed folks over at Engadget have picked up on a bit of interesting news for potential Xbox 360 owners out there. The Xbox 360 has been criticized for a number of issues over the past year. There's the hulking power supply, the tendency for the machine to overheat, the red rings of death that seem to show up on occasion and the extremely loud DVD drive.

It looks as though Microsoft is finally getting around to solving that last problem. According to Xbox-Scene, Microsoft has begun shipping Xbox 360 consoles manufactured in November 2006 onward with new BenQ VAD6038 DVD drives. The BenQ VAD6038 replaces the Toshiba-Samsung and Hitachi-LG drives currently in service on the Xbox 360.

According to user reports, the new Philips-based drive is extremely quiet compared to its predecessor and even loads games faster.

So it now appears that Microsoft is slowly but surely chipping away at the Xbox 360's weaknesses. Now we can only hope to see a 65nm, HDMI-equipped, 120GB Xbox 360 just in time for the release of Halo 3 and Xbox360 IPTV.

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