Xbox One Elite bundle moves consoles closer to SSDs

31 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Microsoft has released a new “Elite Bundle”, with a faster hard drive and a re-designed controller..

This is a $500 Xbox One. “Games and gamers are at the center of everything we do and we’re always looking for ways to offer the best ways to play on Xbox,” the firm said in a blog post. “Today we’re thrilled to unveil the Xbox One Elite Bundle, [which] comes fully loaded … with premium features to take your gaming to the next level.” Microsoft talked up the 1TB drive, “which stores frequently accessed files on a solid state partition and optimizes system performance so you can get to the action up to 20 percent faster from energy-saving mode.” But the real draw is the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller.Upgrading the Xbox One’s storage space became a non-issue when Microsoft added support for external hard drives a while back, but slipping a tiny hard drive inside the black box to reduce clutter and prune your power strip? Built for competitive gamers using Xbox One and Windows 10, the sleek device comes with customizable features and functions, like interchangeable paddles and hair-trigger locks, “to provide an unparalleled experience every time you game.” The $499 package will be available worldwide in November.

The new One isn’t the first to boast 1TB of storage — Microsoft officially announced a new iteration with a terabyte of storage at E3 — but this is the console’s first hybrid drive with that much space. But the new 1TB hybrid drive—consisting of a rotating hard drive and flash memory “cache”—decreases game loading times by 20 percent, according to Microsoft.

Microsoft hasn’t identified who the drive manufacturer is, nor what percent of the drive’s total is solid state, nor what the drive’s technical ratings are (with solid state hybrid drives, performance can vary considerably). The Elite Controller, however, is definitely the draw for this bundle, since it adds new features like Hair Trigger Locks and stainless steel paddles in its design. Alongside the new console, Microsoft announced the “Xbox One Special Edition Lunar White Wireless Controller” — a standard Xbox controller, but in a bright white and gold colour. Instead, it’s a mix between the two, containing a spinning disk similar to an HDD but also flash memory, which will allow many programs and functions to load faster.

Well, it’s mostly like a normal hard drive with spinning magnetic platters, like the one that comes with the original Xbox One (read: slow) except the “hybrid” part means it also has some speedy flash storage too. Microsoft didn’t say how large the flash cache was within the hard drive, but terabyte hard drives like this one sold by Seagate contain an 8GB cache. Microsoft says it will sell the system for $499 in the U.S. exclusively through GameStop and Microsoft Stores starting November 3 (GameStop’s annual expo runs this week, thus the announcement timing).

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