Surprise! New Smaller, ‘Whisper Quiet’ Xbox 360 Shipping Today

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In case you missed our liveblog of Microsoft’s press announcement at E3, the company announced an all new Xbox 360 design to replace the 120GB Xbox 360 Elite model. It looks quite a bit more svelte than the current hardware, yet retains the familiar shape underneath a slick black paint job.

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Under the hood, there are a couple minor upgrades. First, there’s now a built-in Wi-Fi connection—faster 802.11n Wi-Fi, no less—and second, there’s a 250GB hard drive, standard, instead of a 120GB hard drive. Microsoft’s Don Mattrick, who made the announcement, also referred to the new Xbox 360 design as “whisper quiet,” which is quite a departure from the current design as any Xbox 360 owner can tell you.

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The newly-designed Xbox 360 is shipping to retailers today, with stock available to purchase by the end of the week. It’s priced the same as the currently-available 120GB Xbox 360 Elite at $299. No word on if and when we’ll see an Arcade version or higher-capacity hard drive Elite version yet.

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Peter and Evan are live at E3 and have posted an unboxing.

UPDATE: There’s some more info trickling in here and there, including this shot of the back of the console:

So we’ve got five total USB ports now–three on the back, two on the front, and you’ll notice that the optical audio port has now been separated from the AV cabling. That odd looking port labeled “AUX” is the Kinect port and you’ll notice that there’s still a hardwired Ethernet connection in case you don’t want to use Wi-Fi.

As for the “whisper quiet” promises, Peter got a hold of a specs sheet which says “Whether you’re playing a DVD disc or from the hard drive, or navigating the dashboard, with the all-new and much quieter Xbox 360, the only noise you’ll hear is your own laughing, cheering and playing.” That’s good news for those of us that cry while gaming, as I do.

Here’s the specs sheet:

(More on Techland: E310: Xbox 360 Press Conference Liveblog)

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