Last night, I was playing Bioshock 2 when my 360 froze with a funky patterned screen of blue herringbone. After a few reboots I determined that it was now just booting to display a 3/4 red flashing ring. Is this the Red Ring of Death™? I can't keep track anymore. I sort of think 3/4 is different from the full red ring but whatever. The main point is that Xbox #4, old stalwart that it was, has bit it. Well, you can buy a new 360 "slim model" with 4Gb of flash RAM for about what MS charges to service an old model, so let's do that! Off I went to Best Buy.
First note: the new "slim model" has a bare SATA port, and thus won't take the OG 360 hard drives. Really Microsoft? You decide to shaft the early adopters? Well, you decided that years ago, but I guess the shafting is still ongoing. Turns out it's pretty easy to open the case of the old hard drive, extract the bare drive and stick it in the SATA slot. Google it to find the relevant Youtube videos and have your Torx drivers ready. OK, done. (But wait, I hear you saying. Does the SATA drive slot *only* take laptop drives? After all, that's the been the whisker-thin justification all along for the hard drive gouging! No, it takes a full-size drive. The laptop-sized drive I freed from the enclosure just sort of floats in that larger space. But I'm sure the high performance of the drive is well worth the cost! (rolls eyes))
Second note: Did you buy a memory card to store your account on? Oh sorry, the new 360 can't actually connect original memory cards! D'oh! You'll have to recover your account, which takes about 15 minutes. I don't know what the fuck you do if there is real data on that thing. Sucker! In 2010 people use flash drives like real computers. If you bought the previously gougy memory card than Microsoft will laugh at you all the way to the bank.
Third note: You need to transfer your licenses to the new console. For whatever reason, Safari didn't work for me and I had to use Firefox. Visit http://www.xbox.com/drm and follow the instructions there.
Fourth note: Yes, that "4Gb model" you just bought only has 3Gb of storage available. Sucker!
In conclusion: if you've bought more than zero Xbox 360's? Sucker!