-- So long red ring of death? That's what some are asking now that slightly (and stealthily) revised Xbox 360s are finally trickling into the market. New on the inside, anyway, though without so much as a twinge of marketing pomp and circumstance.
What's new? Three things, it seems.
First, the graphics processing unit or GPU has shrunk from 90nm to 65nm, which in simple terms means "same performance, less heat." Less heat means the thermal sensors won't tell the fan to whirr like a leaf-blower, which makes for an overall cooler and less fortissimo experience.
Second: The power supply's dropped from 175 to 150 watts (a 65nm GPU gobbles less electricity, after all) which means it ought to run cooler as well. Probably drops the overall power footprint a hair?
Finally: The new revision adds 256MB of internal flash memory (versus the original models' 16MB). That's big enough to store the New Xbox Experience locally (it's no longer tied to the removable hard drive) as well as accommodate a few save games if you're so inclined.
How do you tell which is which? You don't. Well, not without tearing open the box and having a peek at the power supply. According to Anandtech, you can tell whether you've got yourself a "Jasper" by scanning the power brick's underside to see if it's 150W. Xbox Scene, which managed to tranquilize and chop up a Jasper, has a snap of it here, in case you're interested. Anandtech speculates there may still be some Jaspers using 175W power supplies labeled 14.2A, so caveat emptor if you're thinking of donning a pith helmet and going on safari for one.
Microsoft won't officially talk about Jasper or acknowledge what's up. Annoying, but understandable, given the hysterics over the messy red ring of death debacle (I've had three 360's replaced myself). "No comment" in this case is probably just Microsoft's deadpan euphemism for "Replace your defective Xbox 360 with what, exactly?"