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The New Xbox 360 S "Slim" Teardown: Opened and Tested

Author: Ryan Shrout
Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: General
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Enter the new guy

First and foremost, it appears impossible to get inside the new Xbox 360 S (that is what Microsoft refers to it as now) without breaking a few clips here and there.  We were still able to get it back together without a problem just don't be surprised if you see bits of plastic strewn around your work area after doing something like this. 

The easy part is removing the top grates around the hard drive bay area and the top of the system but getting under these plastic plates was much more problematic.  Just be prepared to hear things snap off but be slow and they should come out eventually.

The new Xbox 360 S includes 802.11n WiFi - a welcome addition from the previous models that included NO wireless connection option.  The method Microsoft used though was pretty humorous; the WiFi chip is actually built on to a USB dongle that is located just below the top grate and is held in place by a screw.  Either MS decided to add this in last minute or they wanted an easy serviceable and upgradeable solution. 

After getting the top and bottom off removing the sides should be a little bit easier.  There are clips holding the two halves together along the back (seen above) and quite a few more along the front panel.

The clips along the front are a bit hard to get to without damaging the exterior of your Xbox 360 S but some getting prodding with a flat head screw driver should get the job done. 

Also be careful with the small ribbon cable that is permanently affixed to the front plate that connects to the power button and lights.

This is the device that the ribbon cable attaches to (top right hand corner there) and is easily removable with a couple of screws. 

We are now fully inside the new Xbox 360 S and you can see that there is a significant decrease in the amount of cooling required. 

The optical drive is a Lite-On model that was much quieter than our original Xbox 360's drive.

Taking out the optical and hard drives reveals the much smaller, and less crowded, PCB. 

This is the only fan and heatsink in use on the new Xbox 360 S and because it is larger it can rotate more slowly and thus generates less noise than the previous models pair of fans.  I have included a video of the Xbox 360 S versus Xbox 360 noise properties below - be sure to check it out!


For a comparison, you can see the heatsinks AND fan used on the new console on the left while the two larger heatsinks and heatpipes were required for the older generation Xbox 360.  Without a doubt the new processing cores (which we will show on the next page) are using less power and generation less heat.  All good news for anyone that has gone through the red ring of death. 
UPDATE: We had some requests to show the hard drives (which I apologize for leaving out before) so here you go.
On the bottom of the new Xbox 360 S there is an easily removable portion of the plastic grate that reveals the user replaceable hard drive.  The drive is still a standard 2.5-in hard drive but is locked in place to a proprietary Microsoft enclose unfortunately.

The first model of the S comes with a 5400 RPM 250GB drive from Hitachi.

All there is to removal now is a ribbon that attaches to a button on the bottom of the casing.  If you were hoping to be able to easily replace the hard drive that still isn't going to be the case - the enclose is glued shut.  We did try putting in a standard 2.5-in HDD (without the enclosure) but the system didn't recognize the device as expected.
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