I just went through another round of buying toys and I’m not sure I’m quite done yet. My most recent purchases include yet another large hard drive (500 gig), next-gen game console, speaker wire, and more.
The Xbox 360 Elite edition recently came out and I had been eyeing it for a while leading up to it’s release. It’s very similar to the Xbox 360 Premium edition, but it adds an HDMI port, black finish, and larger (120 gig) hard-drive. There are a number of reasons I decided to take the plunge and get one. I’m not really a true “gamer” by nature, but I am interested in console modding / hacking. My current Xbox 1 is the pinnacle of my home theater and entertainment system. It’s modified to run “homebrew” software, copied games, and emulate older consoles. It currently has a piece of software on it called Xbox Media Center (XBMC), which serves as a dashboard from which I can launch other applications, games, and widgets or play movies, music, and pictures. I really should post an article about this to describe in more detail what it does, but for now I’ll leave it at that.
That being said, the Xbox 360 really didn’t excel at any of the things that my Xbox 1 did once it was modified. However, the in-game graphics and technology inside the console are what really did me in. I said I’m not really a gamer, but if you know me you know I love technology and high-resolution video/graphics. I recently bought a 56” 1080p TV and now that the Xbox 360 includes an HDMI output, I thought it would match up well. On top of that, all my home-theater equipment is black so the console will match much better than the standard white version. The fact that they threw in a larger hard-drive was just an added bonus. I really have no need for it now – I already have around 2 TB (terabytes) of storage capacity on my network – but in the event that the Xbox 360 is modified to allow homebrew apps I’ll be happy the storage space is there.
Since I moved to my new apartment, the complete home-theater experience has been lacking in one area – completing my surround sound. I have a 1000 watt 7.1 setup powered by an Onkyo high-current amp, but I only have 2 speakers and the sub hooked up at the time. The way I laid out the apartment wasn’t really accommodating for the complete system, but I finally decided to buy the tools I needed to complete the job. Laura has been doing some decorating and I now have a great place to hide the two rear speakers out of the way. I bought some Acoustic Research PR362 flat, white speaker wire to run to the rear locations and a fishing tool to get the wire where I need it. I still don’t have a good location for the rear center speakers, but for the time being 5.1 will have to do. Attached is a diagram of what a 7.1 setup looks like.
And what better to pair with my new home-theater and entertainment equipment than another 500 gig hard drive for the media-server. The computer currently has an 80 gig “system” drive that is used for operating systems and applications. I have Windows XP, Mac OS X, and SUSE Linux 10.2 loaded on it for fun – but really only use the Windows System. I keep getting larger and larger hard-drives, but there’s not much I can really do about it. Here’s the progression of the computer storage capacity:
80 GB + 80 GB
80 GB + 80 GB + 160 GB
80 GB + 160 GB + 160 GB
80 GB + 300 GB + 300 GB *
80 GB + 500 GB **
80 GB + 500 GB + 500 GB
* 160 GB drives went into the Xboxes
** 300 GB drives went into the Xboxes
As you can see, it will only be a matter of time before I need even more capacity. It would probably be a really good idea to have a good backup system, but as much as I change through hard-drives I couldn’t afford while I was in college. Who knows, maybe a good RAID setup will be my next purchase.