The Jasper Hunt Continues: Still Looking for the 65nm Xbox 360by Michael Andrawes on October 24, 2008 12:00 AM EST
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So far, there has yet to be a confirmed Jasper sighting, despite a lot of false information. I don't have a lot of new info myself, but I did want to clarify a number of things that seem to still be confusing. Some of my own suggestions from my previous article may not be as useful as I'd hoped.
A number of readers have informed me that early Falcons were still labeled as drawing 16.5A, which is the same as the Zephyr/Xenon systems. That is, they were labeled directly on the console as such (the PSU rating is not really relevant). These Falcons came with either the 203W/16.5A PSU or a 175W/14.2A PSU, but again, the PSU labeling is not really that relevant unless it's something new (150W for Jasper). Despite the labeling, these systems drew the same amount of power as later Falcons that were labeled correctly. Chances are, Microsoft was just finishing off their stock of older pre-printed stickers. Therefore, my suggestion that a console labeled with 12.1A on the 12V rail, regardless of PSU included, would be the easiest way to identify a Jasper is only partially correct. Eventually, it will be true of all Jaspers, but it may not be true of the very first ones to hit stores. As such, I believe that measuring the power draw at the wall outlet using a Kill-a-Watt (or similar device) will be the best way to ID Jasper early on. Once again, here are Anand's numbers from his Falcon for reference (not a super early one, but not a late one either). Jasper should be about 40-50W less than Falcon both at idle and during game play - so around 50W idle, 75W during Halo 3.
Just to be totally clear here, forget the PSU power rating - it can be 175W/14.2A and still be Jasper. The only way the PSU will be an indicator is if you have a 150W/12.1A PSU - that would definitely indicate Jasper. The same goes for the current rating on the console itself - forget it! While 12.1A would definitely be Jasper, 14.2A may be Falcon or Jasper. Current rating on the PSU is completely irrelevant and will be 14.2A on all 175W PSUs, regardless of what is labeled on the console and regardless of what is inside the console.
Since the original article was published, the new 2008 Xbox 360 Holiday Bundle has started to hit stores and online retailers. It appears that these are a mix of existing stock that has been repackaged and truly new systems. Some of the repackaging is being done in-store, but a lot of it is being done by one of Microsoft's facilities, who is marking the systems with team "ADUE." A sticker is placed over the existing box to indicate the new games inside. This is similar to what happened last year with the 2007 Holiday Bundle. Meanwhile, newer systems (lot numbers 0836 and up it seems) are starting to show up in a new box that is pre-printed with the Holiday Bundle information. So far I've seen reports of up to 0837 in these new Holiday Bundles, some from online retailers and some from local stores. At this point, your best chance of getting a factory bundle is to order online, although there's no guarantee. That said, it also seems that overall local stores are slow at getting the factory-packaged bundles too. So, we're kind of stuck in that regard. Unfortunately, all those 0837s are Falcons still be all accounts. I should also mention that the likelihood of finding a Jasper in a non-bundled system is basically zero for the time being. I have yet to see any newer stock in a non-bundled system. The possible exception would be in a country where the bundle is not available, although I'm not sure if that's even a possibility.
Please don't forget that the manufacturing team is just as important as the lot number. Most likely, one of the manufacturing plants will switch over first so that if there's a problem, they don't loseall their manufacturing capacity. Last year, team FDOU was first with Falcon and team CSON switched over eventually.
One additional possibility that may point us towards Jasper is the keying of the PSU to console interface. The 175W PSUs are keyed differently than the 203W PSUs, such that the 175W PSU will only fit a Falcon, while a 203W PSU will fit a Falcon or a Zephyr/Xenon. The consoles of course have to be keyed too, and this is where we may have another identifier. Mitsuho on the official Xbox forums has posted this pic demonstrating the different plug receptacles on the console itself. These represent Zephyr/Xenon (top) and Falcon (bottom). Jasper will have to be different in some way, so keep an eye out for changes in newer consoles.
The last indicator may be a weight reduction. This is a little harder to predict precisely, but may be relevant. Less heatsinking on the GPU and, more importantly, a lower power PSU will be significantly lighter. This will probably not be that useful in early identification since the difference in weight from the heatsink alone is unlikely to be easily detectable. When the 150W PSU is finally included, I expect the weight difference to be more obvious. That said, I expect we'll have better identifiers in terms of lot numbers by the time the 150W PSU shows up. Of course, this will only be useful in comparison to Falcon, since Falcon is already lighter than Zephyr/Xenon.
Before I go, I have a confession to make - I actually gave in and ordered an Xbox 360 Holiday Bundle last week. Yep, I'm weak. I got lot number 0835 from team FDOU and it's not Jasper. I still intend to sell this system and buy a Jasper when they're more widely available in a couple months, so I'm still on the hunt. :)