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  1. #1
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    Installing Xbox 360 games: Is it worth it? (Comparisons)

    Got some more comparisons for loading times for any people still wondering. Mirrors edge really improved with the install which surprised me. Anyone have a game they really have noticed a big improvement on over the past couple months?

    Microsoft really rolled the dice with the introduction of the NXE. Taking an interface that many gamers had become familiar with and fond of, and turning it on its head was a gamble it could have easily lost. Thankfully, it decided to pack a bunch of awesome new functionality into the Xbox 360's makeover, sweetening the deal for every gamer who lays hands upon it. One of those new bits of functionawesomenss is the ability to load games straight to the Xbox 360's hard disk.

    There have been a number of theories as to why this feature was added, from the noise reduction it assists in to a cure for the "Red Ring of Death" (general hardware failure) that has become a sticking point of owning the console, but one thing is undeniable; it works damn slick. The typical installation goes a little something like this: Place disc in drive, press Y button on “Play Game” section, select “Install game to hard drive”, and wait. Depending on the game, your install will take somewhere between 10 and 20 minutes. Still, it doesn’t matter how smooth the installation process goes if the benefits aren’t there to be had, which begs the age-old question – Is it worth it? That’s what we’re here to figure out, so join us, won’t you?

    There’s a combination of things you’re going to need to consider when making the “should I install?” decision. First, and certainly most important, is if you’re really going to play said game enough to make the install worthwhile. If you’re renting the title, skip it. However, if you’ve got a Square-Enix RPG on your hands, or a shooter with a vast online multiplayer component, you’ll probably be glad you spent the time on an install when you’re playing your 50th hour.

    The second factor is space. Xbox 360s are shipping with bigger (60 GB) and bigger (120 GB) hard drives these days but that doesn’t mean you have all the space in the world to waste. A game install will take anywhere from four to more than ten gigabytes of space from you, so if you’re stuck with an early-generation 20 GB, or even a newer 60 GB drive, you’ll soon realize that space is at a premium.

    Now that we're past those two preliminary factors, you might be wondering what kind of benefits you'll see from the install should you decide to commit. First we'll look at load times. Just like all games consoles, the Xbox 360 loads information from a disc into its memory and then streams more and more information as needed while you're busy blowing the heads off aliens without a care in the world. Installing a game to your hard drive gives the console a bit of a break by keeping all the necessary information close at hand. This cuts down on the time it takes for the disc to spin up to speed as well as the seconds needed for the console to suck the information off the disc.

    To give you the best idea of the load time benefits you’ll be seeing, we’ve taken three of the hottest titles of the later part of 2008 and put them on the racks. We’ve timed how long the load times set you back in various parts of the games both with and without the game installed on our Xbox 360's hard drive. The three titles we’ll be looking at today are Gears of War 2, Call of Duty: World at War, and Mirror’s Edge.

    The honor of our first test goes to Gears of War 2:

    • Initial load
      • Without Install - 32.21s
      • With Install - 26.28s

    • Training Ground
      • Without Install - 10.05s
      • With Install - 9.32s

    • Act I / Chapter II
      • Without Install - 18.60s
      • With Install - 16.74s

    • Act II / Chapter II
      • Without Install - 18.13s
      • With Install - 16.74s

    • Act III / Chapter II
      • Without Install - 32.69
      • With Install - 29.30


    As you can see, the numbers aren't all that impressive. Saving a few seconds here and there on load times, while pleasant, may not be reason enough to spend the seven gigabytes on the installation. However, this is where the multiplayer component of the game has to come into consideration. If you're planning on dedicating some serious time to online play, it puts a very big + in the install column. Keeping your console quiet during hours and hours of multiplayer fragging is something that just might make this option worth your while.

    Round 2, Call of Duty: World at War reporting for, um, duty!

    • Initial load
      • Without Install - 16.34s
      • With Install - 12.89s

    • Multiplayer map loading (average)
      • Without Install - 11.35s
      • With Install - 11.16s

    • Single Player / Mission 1 Semper Fi
      • Without Install - 15.44s
      • With Install - 11.58s


    As with Gears 2, only the most minor of gains is seen with loading, regardless of mode. But, again similarly to Gears 2, the online component of this title is sure to have you spending many an hour in front of your TV. This might be a game to consider installing.

    Round 3, Mirror's Edge shows us some big gains.

    • Initial load
      • Without Install - 34.04s
      • With Install - 26.65s

    • Chapter 1
      • Without Install - 30.92s
      • With Install - 16.33s

    • Chapter 2
      • Without Install - 22.53s
      • With Install - 13.68s


    With some the biggest load time advantages of the bunch, Mirror's Edge seems like it's practically made for installation. Saving you up to 15 seconds per load is certainly nothing to sneeze at, but this advantage comes with an asterisk -- for most folks the game is a one play-through experience. Dashing through the story mode will be enough to satisfy most players, with only a dedicated few turning to the Time Trial mode for extended enjoyment. This leaves some folks installing the game, only to remove it a couple of weekends later.
    The last, and most overlooked, factor of installing a game onto your hard drive is the stress it takes off of the console itself while you're enjoying your game. Obviously, if the console has all the information at hand it doesn't need to spend the energy on disc processes to keep doing what it does. With the Xbox 360's history of hardware failure, this is a major advantage to installing your games. If spending 10 minutes installing a game will add an extra year to the life of your console, it seems like a no-brainer, but there's no way to know for sure if it actually does.
    So in the end, the decision to install really is a simple one: If it's a game you love and you've got the space to spare, why not save your ears the noise, and save your Xbox the stress, and commit to an install? Your system might thank you.
    http://www.obsessable.com/feature/in...s-it-worth-it/

  2. #2
    Lunar_Chaos
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    Unless you have a elite it's a waste of space.

  3. #3
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    Kind of makes me wish I got Mirror's Edge for the 360.

    (Waiting for the loads when doing speed-runs/time trials is brutal).
    I talk to myself because I'm the only one whose answers I accept.

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    I have a 60 gig and I install a couple games on it, only install games you play all the time.

  5. #5
    Rapture
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    Installing it completely worthwhile, IMO. Since I install the games I'm currently into at the moment, I know even after 100 hours of game time my 360 will not have near as much tress as it would have without installs. The heat generated with/without installs is immense for me. And I can game happily with almost no noise, somewhat to much faster loading screens, and know my console will last a lot longer then it would normally.

    That's the difference. I do understand it's only really viable for those with 60/120GB HDD's though. Thankfully I have a 60Gb and still have plenty of space.

  6. #6
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    With this option I really wish we could put any HDD into Xbox 360 or worst case scenario allow installations to an external USB2 HDD.
    We believe multiple SKUs just confuse consumers so we will just stick to one SKU....a year later... 20GB, 40GB (no BC), 60GB (US full BC, EU limited BC), 80GB, 160GB, more to come...

  7. #7
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    Achievements IT'S OVER 9000!
    I purchased a 60Gb Pro today and what was better was it turned out to be a Jasper unit, as quiet as my 40Gb PS3, that's saying a lot!

    Anyway, threw the 60Gb (which when cleaned offers 51.1Gb free) on my old Premium Zephyr and the modded 120Gb HDD I have (offers 107Gb free when cleaned) on the Jasper. Now installing games is something I do for each and every game as space no longer is an issue of concern across both consoles.

    To be perfectly honest and to the point, installing X360 games to the HDD now make just about all of them faster than their PS3 counterparts. I can vouch for GTA IV, FC2, POP, Mirror's Edge and SC IV off the top of my head.
    Gaming on all platforms right now.

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    I install every game I play, and I only have a 20... it is really worth the time...

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luner_Chaos View Post
    Unless you have a elite it's a waste of space.
    Uhh no. Other than saving some time loading, it provides other benefits. I have 4 games installed with 18 gigs left so the 60gig provides enough space.

  10. #10
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    Installs win by default - no drive spin+no drive noise and much less heat output negates any losses in load times in my experience. I traded my launch 360 for a new machine just before Christmas. Traded everything but the console and cabling as I already have a 120GB HDD. The only instances when discs have spun in this machine is during ripping games and movies are streamed as well as music.

    I remember when I had to load games from compact cassette back in the '80s, 10-20 minute load times for games and at times the load might be corrupted so I would have to go through the same process to maybe have the game load up and run.

    It's a great feature, and I would find it annoying to go back to the wind tunnel I had before the update.
    FM3/Borderlands

  11. #11
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    I only have Gears 2 installed and its made a difference

    PSN ID/Live GT: Evoking1230

  12. #12
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    Achievements IT'S OVER 9000!
    Installing Xbox 360 games is really worth it. a game only takes like 8 to 10 mins to install.
    so after you install the game you dont hear the dvd spining and there is less wear and tear on the 360.
    i have a 60 gig with 5 games installed and i still have 19 gigs left..
    iam not a down load junkie

  13. #13
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    Installing seems to help older games more than newer games.

    I have a 20 GB and I always have the game that I'm playing most installed. I could probably make enough space for 2 installs if I wiped my hard disk clean, but there seems no point.

    Installing really helped eliminate the DVD noise in Fable 2. But I have also liked it for Prince of Persia, Gears 2, and GTA4.

  14. #14
    FinalReaper
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    I've only installed eternal sonata on the hd and the only noticable difference is that the xbox makes less noise.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by FinalReaper View Post
    I've only installed eternal sonata on the hd and the only noticable difference is that the xbox makes less noise.
    I can't even remember any load times it had when not installed.

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    If I delete my game off the drive does it delete my data too?
    Been curious about that for awhile.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poida View Post
    If I delete my game off the drive does it delete my data too?
    Been curious about that for awhile.
    No, those are two separate files.

  18. #18
    The Hero From Vault 101
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    I think its worth it just to take stress off the console. I really don't see to much difference in games but I got plenty of space so why not.
    PS3: Uncharted 2 /// 360: Modern Warfare 2


  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by One-Shot View Post
    No, those are two separate files.
    Good.
    Thanks for that.
    I recently installed 07 and 08 Smackdown v Raw and now just have 7 gig left.

  20. #20
    Knuckles126
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    Every game I have installed thus far, I have seen the benfits. It also is nice to disable the disc drive, it makes my gaming experience not so 'air force one'.

  21. #21
    FinalReaper
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    Quote Originally Posted by One-Shot View Post
    I can't even remember any load times it had when not installed.
    lol there wasn't really something I liked about the game.

  22. #22
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    Achievements IT'S OVER 9000!
    i install games that im gonna spend time on, fable 2 and fallout 3, i have a 60gig. plus i also do it, JUST TO SHUT THE LOUD *** XBOX UP!!!!!

    Thanks to Final for the sick sig!

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luner_Chaos View Post
    Unless you have a elite it's a waste of space.
    shorter load times, quiter operation, cooler running temps and less laser wear. being as ive had 360's die both due to RROD and disc drive failure id say its more than worth it even if it does ***** up the HDD

  24. #24
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    recently got a 120gb hdd just for the feature, best xbox accessory i ever got



  25. #25
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    I might when I finally get the new dashboard (xbox ain't connected) I've noticed that Saints Row is spinning pretty hard so It will be good to get rid of that. Is there anywhere I can download the new dashboard on to a flash drive from my PC then install it on my 360?

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