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Xbox 360: Come on Down!

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Almost two years after its release, Microsoft has finally lowered the price of the Xbox 360. Maybe now you can convince your wife, girlfriend or Mom to let you get one! Not coincidentally, I'm sure, the drop comes just in time for the next wave of killer titles, including the new Madden, BioShock and Halo frigging 3!

The Premium model saw the biggest price drop, of $50, to $350. The low- and high-end models saw $20 and $30 drops, respectively. Unless you have to have the fancy HDMI output and ginormous hard drive, or are just so damn poor you can't spend a penny over what the low-end model costs (if so, save your pennies and wait), the Premium model remains the killer deal.

As an added bonus, there are strong indications that the excellent Rockstar Games presents Table Tennis game will come bundled in as a freebie. Sure it's only a $20 game anyway and you might be asking, "Why the fuck do I care about a damn ping-pong game?" But it means you don't have to lay out an extra penny to start playing. And you're wrong: you should care about the game because it's freaking awesome.

Reliability issues are still a concern, but with the recent upgrade to a three year warranty, it's more a matter of inconvenience than expense if your box succumbs. And, last night I discovered a little fact I'm going to share that made me feel better about my own machine, which had been making some god-awful noises that sounded like my discs getting eaten.

After noticing some scratches on my barely played copy of All-Pro Football 2K8 (which I love as much as I'd hoped) I decided to place my machine in a horizontal position. I've kept it vertical since I got it, since it took less space and looked cooler that way, but logic told me that a disc was more likely to get damaged with just two little notches to guide it into place rather than with gravity lending an assist. Well, not only did my box stop making those grinding, chewing noises that scared the bejeesus out of me, my game actually loaded noticeably faster.

Bonus! Obviously this is purely anecdotal and not time-tested, but I've spent a lot of time with the beast, and I know it's running better than it ever has. When you get yours, for god's sake, lay it down. If you already have one, let it rest, on its side, like nature intended. The handy graphic below should serve to clarify and remind. -- Cory Casciato
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