Xbox 360 Installs may have a secret.

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So I have had some time to test out quite a few games using the new install feature in the NXE. I wanted to determine just what the benefits were. Would the games load faster, how much quieter was the console and so on. I must say I’m rather surprised at what I’ve found and it’s led me to an interesting conclusion.

Firstly, load times – the games I tested were Banjo Kazooie – Nuts and Bolt’s, Fallout 3, Pure, Gears of War 2 and Midnight Club. After timing a specific load screen with the game not installed, I would install the game and time the same load screen again. What I found was that the difference was very minimal and in some case’s as with Gears of War 2, the load times were in fact worse. The game that gained the most was banjo Kazooie but it was a matter of a couple of seconds.

So with the install option not offering much in terms of load speed I turned to the other advantage it may have. The ability to take work load off the optical drive. This is when I started thinking, I’ve had 3 previous Xbox 360’s die on me because of drive issues, In fact I’ve never had a RROD, all my 360 issues have been optical drive based. We’ve all heard the stories of the work Microsoft has put in to combat the RROD but I haven’t heard much about optical drives.

Installing games to the HDD all but takes the optical drive out of the equation, it spins for a few seconds when you boot the game and thats about it. It doesn’t even get up the “jet engine” speed we are used to for those seconds. So at the end of the day what the install option does is extend the life of your optical drive. It makes you wonder if there isn’t something Microsoft knows about our optical drives  that we don’t?

Last Updated: November 26, 2008

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