Print 37 comment(s) - last by Manfred.. on Feb 7 at 8:00 AM

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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nice job on the title DT
By Chapbass on 2/6/2007 10:54:35 AM , Rating: 3
"No, not THAT optical drive; just a quieter DVD drive"

you had me thinking exactly that....such devils you are over there...

in more relavent news, i suppose this cant be a bad thing can it? provided that it plays everything and there arent issues with it...

RE: nice job on the title DT
By StevoLincolnite on 2/6/2007 11:03:16 AM , Rating: 2
Gawd darnit! When I read the headling I thought to myself "Ooh! 360 Finally has an internal HD DVD drive now! Yay!".
Still the quiter drive was needed, But I wished they added a HD DVD drive, But I guess the cost of producing the machines hasnt dropped enough to make that a viable alternative.

RE: nice job on the title DT
By Enoch2001 on 2/6/2007 11:32:34 AM , Rating: 2
I'd rather they keep a standard DVD drive internally and release an external Blue-Ray option for an affordable price, just like they did with the HD-DVD drive. Would solve the format battle for me, that's for sure.

RE: nice job on the title DT
By ViperROhb34 on 2/6/2007 11:56:11 AM , Rating: 2
Thats still quite possible later if HD-DVD would fail..

Unlike Sony who has a hand in ownership in Bluray.. MS has no ownership in HD-DVD. They could lisc Bluray at a later date just like anyone who pays the lisc fee.

RE: nice job on the title DT
By stromgald on 2/6/2007 12:05:01 PM , Rating: 2
Probably won't happen since Microsoft (along with Intel, Toshiba, NEC, and Sanyo) is one of the major supporters of the HD-DVD format.

Unless a third party is able to reproduce the interface of the external XBOX360 HD-DVD player but with a Blu-Ray player, you won't see Blu-Ray on the XBOX360 unless HD-DVD is in its death throes.

RE: nice job on the title DT
By FITCamaro on 2/6/2007 5:23:05 PM , Rating: 2
Hence why the person said if HD-DVD fails.

RE: nice job on the title DT
By Scabies on 2/6/07, Rating: 0
RE: nice job on the title DT
By ViperROhb34 on 2/6/2007 11:56:46 AM , Rating: 2

RE: nice job on the title DT
By obeseotron on 2/6/2007 12:46:05 PM , Rating: 2
Not a chance, a fundamentally different kind of laser is required, not just new firmware.

RE: nice job on the title DT
By Scabies on 2/6/2007 12:57:15 PM , Rating: 2
however HD-DVD technology is backwards compatable with DVD media. Never know, it might have the blue diodes with HD DVD media recognition turned off.

besides, we're just being hypothetical/joking

RE: nice job on the title DT
By MattCoz on 2/6/2007 3:28:01 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, maybe they're in a giving mood and will surprise us with a free upgrade to HD-DVD...


RE: nice job on the title DT
By Vertigo101 on 2/6/2007 8:29:39 PM , Rating: 4
Or, maybe they'll charge us $2 to turn on something that's already in the box!

RE: nice job on the title DT
By HammerZ on 2/6/2007 5:47:16 PM , Rating: 2
I'll give you 2:1 odds on that $10 bet. :) Why would they add the drive for free when they can easily lower the cost of the external unit to generate revenue or increase market share.

RE: nice job on the title DT
By JDL440 on 2/6/2007 11:54:53 AM , Rating: 3
I doubt the motive behind this new drive was a quieter 360.

I bet this one isn't as easily flashed to allow playing burned games as the others.

I just got my 360, but I'm sure it's the older drive, because that thing is LOUD!

RE: nice job on the title DT
By Flunk on 2/6/2007 4:17:42 PM , Rating: 2
You're forgetting cheaper or more reliable (less returns) that's the real reason MS would do somthing like this.

RE: nice job on the title DT
By One43637 on 2/6/2007 5:56:03 PM , Rating: 2
lol, that's what i thought as well when i read the title.

it's nice that they replaced that noisy drive. too bad the rest of us can't take advantage of it if our 360s are working.

RE: nice job on the title DT
By Manfred on 2/7/2007 8:00:47 AM , Rating: 2
I bought my 360 in March and everytime it spins up its loud as hell.

If you get the soft pads for chair legs at a home depot or something. The really soft gel ones are the best. Stick those to the bottom of you 360 so they act as the feet. It cuts down on the vibration and that helps a lot.

Great news!
By isaacmacdonald on 2/6/2007 3:16:57 PM , Rating: 2
This is great news for late adopters. I have the original 360 and heat is not an issue as long as you have some active ventilation (which is in itself indicative of poor product design)--but the noise from the DVD-drive is inescapable. It seems to be more of an issue with certain titles (Gears of War is probably the noisiest game in this regard, it never seems to stop seeking), which makes sense.

Anyway, in combination with lower heat emissions, this corrects all the major engineering flaws in the original release. If you're interested in some particular titles but had been holding out, now is the time to pick a 360 up.

RE: Great news!
By zerocool84 on 2/6/2007 4:20:57 PM , Rating: 2
I am still going to wait until the end of the year until they work out all the kinks and hopefully they release a bigger harddrive with it.

RE: Great news!
By FITCamaro on 2/6/2007 5:31:35 PM , Rating: 2
They still don't have the 65nm processor in. After its in, thats the time to pick one up. And most likely will be when I do.

And I agree with the earlier comment on a Blu-ray drive. While Blu-ray sales are picking up because of the PS3, Microsoft really doesn't have to care which one wins. If Blu-ray does win, they just release another add-on drive. If Blu-ray fails, and I'm hoping it will, Sony has an extremely expensive, relatively useless feature in the PS3. And from what I hear Gears of War is 17GB before compression, so I think the Xbox 360 is good to go in terms of space.

And honestly, regardless of wether HD-DVD or Blu-ray wins, if 3 years from now, developers do need more space, Microsoft could release an HD-DVD equipped 360 to use with games. They'd just have to make the HD-DVD add-on cheap. In 3 years, an HD-DVD drive will probably be $20-30. The N64 at the end of its life required the memory pack for a few games and it didn't seem to hurt those games. Perfect Dark was one of the best games on the N64. If its cheap enough, no one will care to play better games. Look at the fools who bought $2000 PS3s on Ebay or spend $650 to get the best graphics cards. I hardly think requiring a $20-30 add-on drive would hurt a game if its good enough.

RE: Great news!
By MrDiSante on 2/6/2007 9:56:15 PM , Rating: 2
Or they could use two DVDs. People would scream bloody murder if MS forced the HD-DVD drive on them, on the other hand 2 DVDs is perfectly acceptable and has been done before - my GCN uses 2 disks for a bunch of games.

By bplewis24 on 2/6/07, Rating: 0
By trex1000 on 2/6/2007 11:30:24 AM , Rating: 2
I have one and I do notice it is a bit quieter than a friend of mines. He actually pointed it out to me one day he had his console over my house. Microsoft should have just gone ahead and implemented an hddvd. Would have been a smart idea to offer a console with one even at higher costs to try and help make up for lost ground in the hd war. I am thinking that if sales increase on hd-dvd drives so will the amount of new releases for hd-dvd. Still not as quiet as my PS3 though, but that in itself is a whole different argument.

By AndreasM on 2/6/2007 1:24:43 PM , Rating: 3
Would have been a smart idea to offer a console with one even at higher costs to try and help make up for lost ground in the hd war.

What lost ground? I thought the war ended with a whimper when no one cared.

By Lakku on 2/6/2007 8:42:34 PM , Rating: 2
Since I have all 3 systems side by side, thought I would share some expanded info on that whole different argument.

1) The PS3, during game or movie usage, is indeed the most quiet of the 3. The 360 might be more quiet with this new drive, since my 360 is loud due to the disk drive. However, the Wii is louder then the 360 or PS3 when it accesses its disc, though it does this less often then the 360 so it may be moot. Before I installed the clear plastic stabilizer on the Wii, it would vibrate the whole unit (in vertical mode) when it accessed the disc, but it was made better with the clear plastic disc. At any rate, the Wii is just as loud as the 360 when it reads discs, if not louder. This article is mostly spot on, accept I disagree with media access on the PS3, but it is farther away from me then my 360 by a couple feet. But thje PS3 HD does make more noise. Anyway, it's a good read.

2) With that said, I took a IR thermometer to the consoles during heavy usage, and the PS3 was 5 to 15F hotter then my 360, with the Wii being the coolest, though still warm. I measured the top of the PS3 (during Bluray and Resistence), and the back of the 360 (during Gears of War). The PS3 produces a lot of heat during Bluray playback, more then a 360 produces during HD-DVD playback. They were closer during game playback, but that could be due to Gears taking more of the 360s power to play then resistence takes from the PS3. Anyway, just food for thought.

Don't integrate HDDVD
By obeseotron on 2/6/2007 12:56:22 PM , Rating: 2
Including an HDDVD drive would drive up costs far too much. It also looks a lot worse than it did a few months ago for HDDVD, between the sales figures for movies and the strong Blu-Ray orientation of CES this year. I think a Core+20GB drive at $200-$250 and a new premium with the 120 and hdmi at $300-350 is the way they should go. If they wanted to offer an integrated version at $400-$450 as a sort of specialty item that's one thing, but price is what's really holding the 360 back from the casual gamer at this stage.

By therealnickdanger on 2/6/2007 1:31:01 PM , Rating: 2
For starters, your username is hilarious. Second, no one said anything about adding the HD-DVD drive, all they have done here is replace the original DVD drive with a quieter, faster model.

RE: Don't integrate HDDVD
By dubldwn on 2/6/2007 1:51:59 PM , Rating: 2
If they wanted to offer an integrated version at $400-$450 as a sort of specialty item that's one thing,

Bingo. And make it black. With a blue light. And if they can pull off the $200-$250 model then that's cool, too. Then everyone is happy.

IS PS3 A Failure G4 Video
By ViperROhb34 on 2/6/2007 5:46:01 PM , Rating: 2
This is a good video that was on G4 Attack of The Show
posted at this site in Ps3 section under PS3's worth..

RE: IS PS3 A Failure G4 Video
By ATC on 2/6/2007 9:40:19 PM , Rating: 2
That's a good video and I agree with most of what was said, especially that it's too early right now to pin point a winner. The question has to be asked again in 1-2 years and only then will you get the answer. Certainly not in 2007.

HD-DVD drive...
By therealnickdanger on 2/6/2007 11:16:35 AM , Rating: 2
Now they just need to shut up that HD-DVD turbine, er, I mean, drive. I keep both behind closed doors, so it's not really an issue for me, but a high-pitched whine can still be heard during quiet movie scenes.

It's not all that loud.
By h0kiez on 2/6/2007 11:31:35 AM , Rating: 2
Granted, I sit about 12 feet from my Xbox when I play it, but I never notice it despite the fact that it's not behind doors or enclosed in any way. It's certainly louder than it ought to be, but it's not a huge issue.

Just like the original XBOX
By arazok on 2/6/2007 11:33:08 AM , Rating: 2
I'm one of the unlucky early adopters of the original XBOX who got a drive that likes to randomly spit out a "there is a problem with this disk" message in the middle of my games. Microsoft eventually replaced that drive in revised models.

Having learned my lesson, I was waiting for just such an announcement before getting the 360. Once the first price drop happens (and perhaps I'll wait for the rumored HDMI/smaller chip version), I'll be getting an XBOX.

By whalenapp81 on 2/6/07, Rating: 0
RE: xbox360
By Teletran1 on 2/6/2007 2:39:12 PM , Rating: 2
Well when you compress something you have to decompress it. Doesn't that take the 360 away from doing something else with its CPU and GPU like playing games?

It's true!
By Jonwww on 2/6/2007 4:17:59 PM , Rating: 2
I originally bought a 360 a week before this past Christmas and strangely enough had freezing problems (which I thought were fixed) on the 2 games I have so I brought it back for exchange a little over a week ago. I thought maybe I just got lucky with a much quieter console but now this explains it. My new 360 has born on date of 11-23-06.

By otispunkmeyer on 2/6/2007 5:27:46 PM , Rating: 2
my drive is horrendously noisy

you need to blow it every other time you switch the 360 on

regularly has trouble reading discs as well, it will practically stop, the laser will jimmy about abit, then it will try and resume.

a quieter, faster, more reliable drive would be a god send.

"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive
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