My release model, no-HDMI Xenon RRoD'ed on me lately, after nearly 3 years of semi-regular use. Its otw back to MS right now, and when I get the inevitable Falcon refurb back, I'll be giving it to one of my little brothers (I make them sound small, but they're adults, and bigger than me =), along with some games.
I went out to the local Fry's Electronics... and lo and behold... a Jasper Arcade was right there (12.1A power req. listed on the back, through the little window, so I knew it was a Jasper from the get-go. The Falcon's are 14.2A, and the Xenons/Zephyrs are 16.5A or so). Lot #0842 Team CSON, for anyone who cares. It came with a 175W power supply, but it looks like its keyed for a newer supply as well (150W, I hear).
First the good parts.
My new Jasper X360 runs cooler than my slimline PS2, as far as I can tell. I had it on for many many hours -- I have a very good feeling that this machine will never RRoD on me, or if it does, it'll be very old when it happens. Its just as quiet as my PS3, except when the DVD is spinning, of course. Its a hell of a lot quieter than my old Xenon was.
The ultra-sensitive D-pad is still there on the new* (out of the package... its not a new design... I was hoping) controller -- doubly irritating with the "forget where you were last" NXE menu system... Still, the X360 controller has grown on me for a couple genres in particular (shooters and console flightsims), and although MS apparently has never gone and improved the D-pad with the new units, its still a good controller.
Now the bad parts.
I got RRoD before NXE, so I was excited to try it out. I downloaded it (after hearing lots of people having "trouble" with installing it), no problems at all (I bought a 60GB HDD with the Arcade, as well).
My evaluation... NXE is weak. Its a cluttered mess of a menu system. To that I have to ask "wth?" to MS. They've been designing UIs for eons (some would argue, that this is exactly why the NXE is the way it is)... and it doesn't show. Clutter is bad. Isn't that like, rule #1 of user interface design? Maybe #2 or #3, tops.
Don't get me wrong, its not worse than the old system. And its not awful, really. Then again, I've been using computers and consoles for eons, so I'm pretty used to... just about anything really. I hate how you can't see all the menu options at once. I hate how the higher level menu items just plain vanish when you descend into the menu. I'm going to have to memorize its layout to use it efficiently. NXE is a shining example of poor UI design. The PS3 XMB is somewhat better, by nature of simplicity alone. The Wii interface is also better (of course).
On top of that, I noticed that the NXE is upscaling a 720p image to my 1080p screen. The jaggies on my avatar are pretty evident, and unchanging from 720p to 1080p (there's a very small amount of "blur" to the jaggies with 1080p, due to the upscaling, but they are clearly still present). I actually prefer the 720p version -- at least its crisp. I'm a little confused as to why MS didn't make the NXE run natively in 1080p. I guess the premium themes are all 720p, and they didn't want to upset the folks who make themes? NO idea. I'm sure my 360 has always upscaled the interface... I just didn't notice until I had a (spiffy, actually, I like them) avatar to look at onscreen.
I guess not noticing is the reason they don't provide a 1080p native version... although the clarity of background images, etc. clearly suffers next to my 1080p native PS3. Not a big deal... just a "why not make it better?"
All-in-all, due to the apparent cool-running nature of my new Jasper, I will very likely be picking up games (shooters in particular) which review better on the X360, ON the X360 again. True, that era has kinda come and gone (most cross-plat games are so close, I pretty much just have to go with whichever controller I prefer for the genre), but at least my X360 is a viable option again. I avoided it, for fear of RRoD, way too long. I shoulda just let the inevitable happen. =) Although, in retrospect, I am really glad I waited for a Jasper model.