Difference between Xbox 360 and Xbox 360 Slim

These successful video game console systems from Microsoft came out a few years apart, with the latter as an enhancement to the former. Let’s find out which is the better console.


Xbox 360 vs Xbox 360 Slim
Xbox 360

Developed by Microsoft as the successor to the first Xbox game console that came out November 2001 in North America, the Xbox 360 is the tech giant’s second home gaming console. It took on Sony’s PlayStation 3 and Nintendo’s Wii.

The Xbox 360 came out in two variants when it was first released. The first one was the Xbox 360 Package, also called the Pro version, and it featured a detachable 20 GB hard drive and a triple-core IBM processor called Xenon. The second was the Xbox 360 Core, which was a stripped-down version of the first one. It featured a wired controller and was missing a hard drive for saving games. Both versions came with the ATI Xenos graphics processor (10 MB eDRAM) and a 512 MB main memory pool. Microsoft released two more versions, the Xbox Elite with a 120 GB hard drive, and the Xbox 360 Arcade that replaced the Core. A few more variations came out, including special edition releases, different colors, and themes.

A built-in Ethernet adapter allowed gamers to connect to the Internet with the first models of the Xbox 360. USB Wi-Fi adapters were available separately.

The “Red Ring of Death” is a phenomenon where the first three quadrants around the power button flash red, indicating a general hardware failure. If the first and second quadrants flashed red, this meant the machine was overheating.

Xbox 360 Slim
Xbox 360 Slim

The Xbox 360 S, also called the Xbox 360 Slim, was released in 2010 and replaced the Elite and Arcade versions. It brought a solution to the infamous “Red Ring of Death” caused by overheating that users complained so much about with the earlier Xbox 360 releases. A redesigned motherboard called Trinity integrated the graphics and central processors together with the eDRAM in the same chip package. Not only was the overheating reduced, the new design also lessened the console’s noise output. It also cut the unit’s power consumption in half. If overheating occurred, the power button flashed red. It flashed red and green after a general hardware failure.

Memory card slots were no longer required on the Xbox 360 S, as USB drives can be used to increase storage and save game progress. An internal bay for the hard drive replaced the external connectors as well. A hard drive from an older 360 model fits in the 360 S.

Xbox 360 vs Xbox 360 Slim

So, what’s the difference between Xbox 360 and Xbox 360 Slim?  Any hardware or software will get an upgrade as long as it is profitable for the company that made it to keep on doing so. The Microsoft Xbox 360 was no exception. The first few versions of the Xbox 360 used a Xenon motherboard that drew 203 watts of power, which was one of the causes of the frequent overheating problem users complained about. The Xbox 360 S featured a redesigned motherboard called Trinity and integrated the GPU, CPU, and eDRAM. The motherboard only required a 135 W power supply. This resolved hardware issues many users complained about in the earlier 360 versions.

The first and second quadrants of the ring circling the power button flash red when the Xbox 360 overheats. On the Slim version, the power button flashes red. If the first three quadrants of the ring on the 360 flashed red (Red Ring of Death) a general hardware failure occurred, while the power button on the Slim flashed red and green. The Xbox 360 uses an Ethernet adapter for network connectivity, while the Xbox 360 Slim has a built-In wireless adapter.

Comparison Chart

Xbox 360 Xbox 360 Slim
Featured the Xenon motherboard, which was prone to overheating. Features a redesigned motherboard named Trinity to check previous overheating and hardware issues from earlier Xbox 360 versions.
General hardware failure indicated by the “Red Ring of Death”. General hardware failure indicated by a flashing red and green power button.
Connects to the Internet via Ethernet cables or optional wireless adapters. Has built-in wireless adapters for network connectivity.


Here’s a great video talking more about the difference between the two Microsoft home consoles.