Xbox 360 Accessories - What They Are and Why You Need Them
The Xbox 360 is available in three console configurations: the "Arcade", the "Pro or Premium", and the "Elite." Each of these consoles comes complete with its own collection of Xbox 360 accessories, including wired and wireless controllers, faceplates for customization, headsets for chatting, webcams for video chatting, Gamercize and dance mats for exercise, three different sizes of memory cards, as well as three sizes of hard drives--120GB, 60GB, and 20GB--each of which are designed to match the console. There are now so many different peripherals in different configurations, colors, styles and technological capabilities, that hard-core Xbox 360 gamers now pride themselves on building their own custom systems.
Here are a few of the major Xbox 360 accessory categories and descriptions of each:
At the heart of the Xbox gaming system, the console is the "heart, soul and brains" of the platform. It's sleek, ergonomic desktop design looks great in either horizontal or vertical placement. The Xbox 360 console is the component into which nearly all other accessories are attached. The unit measures 3.3 by 12.2 by 10.2 inches and weighs a mere 7.7 lbs. It's power comes from a custom IBM PowerPC-based CPU with three symmetrical cores each running at 3.2 GHz. Furthermore, the console contains a custom ATI graphics processor having 10 MB of embedded DRAM, 48-way parallel floating-point dynamically scheduled shader pipelines and Unified shader architecture. As a point of reference, this is enough power to enable the system to draw 500 million triangles per second....more than needed for great looking games in standard TV definition, which is made even more awesome thanks to built-in support for HDTV 1080i televisions. The console even supports the widescreen 16:9 format. Out of the box, the Xbox 360 console employs a 12x dual-layer DVD-ROM drive, which plays both games and progressive-scan DVD movies. For game-save and media storage, users can select between the detachable and upgradeable 20GB hard drive, or a 64MB flash Memory Unit (sold separately). In addition to storing files, the hard drive makes the Xbox 360 backward-compatible with part of the existing Xbox game library.
As the name implies, the Xbox 360 Controller is the hand-held device used for navigating and accessing all on-screen activities. It's boomerang-shape--reminiscent of Batman's iconic symbol--fits comfortably in the palm of both hands. The ergonomic design includes left and right shoulder buttons, two analog pressure-point triggers, two vibration feedback motors, and an eight-way directional pad. Controllers come in wired and wireless models. The wired model includes a nine-foot break-away controller cable. The glowing Xbox Guide Button at the center of the controller provides quick access to digital movies, music, and your game libraries. You can even contact your friends on Xbox live as well as customize your gaming experiences. The controller even includes a port for your Xbox 360 headset. Many users consider the standard Xbox 360 controller to be the best gaming controller ever made.
Wireless network adapters let you configure your Xbox 360 system to your home wireless network to quickly get online and into the game. These adapters are easily configured, seamlessly synchronizing with the Xbox 360 system. Once connected, you can easily transfer videos and music to your system from your Media Center PC, chat with friends, play games via Xbox Live and more, all without the clutter of wires.
4. Batteries & Charge Kits
Rechargeable battery packs and charge kits are recommended for use with wireless controllers. With these packs, you rarely need to buy batteries. With a normal rechargeable life, the packs last a year or two and can be charged while the unit is being used. While the Xbox 360 off, the unit can simply be charged from your computer's USB port.
5. Hard Drives
With the Xbox 360 Hard Drive, you can expand your Xbox 360 experience with downloadable content. These devices let you save your games, Xbox Live gamer profile, game demos, and custom soundtracks from your own music collection. The device also lets you play an assortment of original Xbox games and even comes preloaded with an Xbox Live Arcade game, music, and videos.
Many different types of headsets designed specifically to work seamlessly on Xbox 360 system are available for the Xbox 360 platform. From the Xbox 360 wireless headset to the over the ear headset, to headset earbuds, each style lets Xbox 360 gamers choose the perfect fit for them. Regardless of the style you choose, you're guaranteed enhanced clarity and performance, stylish ergonomic design for comfort, and state-of-the-art radio technology for crisp, clear reception and audio delivery.
Remotes for the Xbox 360 range from the Universal Media Remote to the Light Up Wireless Remote to the Intelligent Report, among an assortment of others. The Universal Media Remote, for example, functions as an integrated control center for the entire Xbox 360 experience, all with the touch of a single button. You can play DVD movies and music, control your TV and Media Center PC, all with this single remote. The Intelligent Remote 360, on the other hand, is a self-programming remote that learns the functions for other remotes.
8. Faceplates & Skins
Faceplates and console skins are sticker graphics that allow the Xbox 360 gamer to customize their hardware components towards their own personality traits and characteristics. The typical faceplate and skin designs range from the psychedelic to iconic representations of favorite Xbox 360 games like Halo and Guitar Hero II.
9. Cables & Wiring
Having the right cables and wiring enhances the Xbox 360 gaming experience. As users upgrade their TVs, they may also need to upgrade their cables in order to retain the sharp, crisp details they've come to expect from the Xbox 360. One user describes how he converted from a CRT television to a 60-inch plasma and lost a tremendous amount of resolution in the process. By upgrading to Xbox 360 VGA HD AV cables, he suddenly notices that game images became intense and crisp. The details seemed sharper and fonts displayed during character's conversations became clear and legible. In short, he was blown away at the quality difference he obtained through something as simple as an upgrade in wiring.
As you can see, the Xbox 360 system is hardly a generic, one-size-fits all platform. Rather, it is a highly sophisticated, multi-component gaming system allowing users to customize their game play based upon style, preferences, and performance needs.