Compare the noise of the new Xbox 360 to the Elite and the PS3 Slim:
Sound recordings were made six inches from the front of each of the three consoles. Results should only be used by way of comparison.
Perhaps the biggest improvement over the older console is actually an intangible one – the system's operating sound. The quieter disc drive is coupled with a single larger internal cooling fan instead of three smaller ones as before, resulting in a stealthier console.
This is made possible by using a slimmer, more power efficient 45nm CPU with integrated GPU. With less power being generated by the processing chip, the console is able to run cooler, with a quieter fan. The difference is night and day.
When there's no disc in the tray the console is totally inaudible. Fire up a game and the drive's rapid read speed still inevitably makes sound, but it's more of a gliding 'whoosh' than the whirring sound of the motor.
Take a look at the video clip above to get some idea of how the noise of the new Xbox 360 compares against the original model and also the PS3 Slim.
Instead of the fat top-loading hard drive of the old console, Microsoft has now hidden a more compact hard drive case in a slot accessed on the underside of the console (underside when stood vertically, that is).
To extract it you must remove the hatch covering and pull on a flimsy tag on the top of the drive, which does not seem like a good idea to us at all. If there's one thing on this new Xbox we can see breaking, it's this tag.
As with the other Xbox 360 consoles, the new 250GB model comes with one wireless controller. Aesthetically, it's slightly different to the one that shipped with the 360 Elite.
The grey trim is replaced with glossy black, while the round silver Xbox button is now glossy silver rather than matte and the thumbsticks are black instead of grey.