Well, as it turns out, I didn't know shit about my beloved Xbox 360. But after a heartbreaking hardware failure, I am much more knowledgeable and because Preparations For Birth is helpful and awesome, soon you will be too. Be warned, this may get slightly technical but relax: there will be swearing.
As you can imagine, since the release of the Xbox 360 in 2005, Microsoft have released new models of their console over the years. Mostly to reduce manufacturing costs but also to try to fix the company-crippling Red Ring Of Death (RROD) problem. The other day, my Xbox 360 froze up. I initially believed it to be another RROD (my second) but as it turns out, my hard drive is fucked and I'll have to buy another one. The console itself is fine.
"I fart in your general direction!"
But here's the thing. I did some investigation into these new 360 models Microsoft have produced and it's all very interesting. They gradually release better models as the years pass. Better, as in less-chance-of-RROD. So, bear with me here.
The launch model of the Xbox 360 (2006) is codenamed the XENON. It has a graphics chip (GP) and a central processing unit (CPU) which both have a nanometer count of 90.
This is what I have, the XENON. A massive piece of fucking shit which Microsoft bundled out the door quickly in order to kick Sony's arse rather than double-check everything worked properly. According to my good friend THE INTERNET, these models have roughly a 50-60% of RROD. With me so far? No? Okay here's a picture of something awesome.
Pictured: fucking awesome.
Anyway, after crapping out the XENON (and a small revision of it called the ZEPHYR), Microsoft released the FALCON on the world in 2007 which has a slightly smaller nanometer count (80 GP, 65 CPU) which reduces the power usage and makes the console run cooler. Apparently, its chance of RRODing is around 30%. The FALCON is what you can find on shelves right now for the most part. (Trust me, I've made a few calls).
So, we're up to 2008/09 now. The new model is called the JASPER (65 GP, 65 CPU) which has no reports so far of RROD after its release in Oct/Nov 2008. The JASPER is the one to get folks. And here's the way you can tell.
To the left of the serial number bar code on the back of the console. Directly above MADE IN CHINA.
Here's a closer look. If you see 12V and then 16, it's a XENON. 12V and then 14, it's a FALCON. But is you see 12V and then 12 like the picture above, it's JASPER. Grab that bitch quick smart.
Please be advised, this method is the ONLY confirmed way to identify a JASPER. Some sales clerks might try to fob you off by saying "Check the manufacture date", but that don't confirm shit. And there's no confirmed way to tell by looking at the packaging. (There's also a way to tell by the power connector, but I can't get the picture to work so fuck it).
Basically, the JASPER model of the Xbox 360 is the best and the one to get your hands on. I've done some ringing around and asked some friendly sales clerks to check the console. They're all FALCONs. So do your research. From what I've heard on the grapevine (less lame name for THE INTERNET), JASPERS have been spotted in Australia. Cairns and Melbourne specifically. So they are out there boys and girls, just go all private eye and check. As a footnote, I've asked two Microsoft support people directly about the JASPER, and they act like they have no idea what the hell I'm talking about. Hmmm...
"Never heard of me? That's a paddling."
All that said, it still sucks that my hard drive crapped out after I had invested 35+ hours in Fallout 3. HEY MICROSOFT, YEAH YOU KNOW WHAT'S COMING, GO FUCK YOURSELF YOU BLOODSUCKING SONS-A-BITCHES.