Xbox 360, TOSLINK, and Audigy2 ZS

So I got my TOSLINK cable (optical digital audio cable) from Amazon.com on Friday and went ahead and installed.

First of all, I didn’t know there were these little plastic stubs I had to remove first before plugging it it. So for a few minutes, I was trying to jam it in, but it wouldn’t stay in. I made sure I was aligning it correctly to it’s weird 6 sided shape. I finally noticed the hole and the pin were different sizes. At first I thought I purchased the wrong cable, but as I yanked on the plastic, it came off and it fitted nicely into the Xbox 360 hole. I had to do the same with the other side to stick into my Audigy2 ZS dashboard (comes with the platinum edition).

The cable was super thing. The reviews had already said so, but it was a lot thinner than I had expected. As I mentioned in my previous post, monoPrice.com would probably be the best place to purchase online. Their cable pricing is just awesome, and tack on cheap shipping and you have a winner! The 10ft of cable was more than enough to connect from the back of the Xbox 360 to the front of my computer.

But then I hit the problem where at first no sound was coming out. I thought I had to switch it from analog to digital within the Xbox 360 system settings, but it seems that you can have both digital and analog audio on simultaneously. I made sure that S/PDIF-in was enabled, but still no sound. I finally ended up playing with the digital audio settings inside the Xbox 360 and apparently changing it from Dolby Digital 5.1 to Dolby Digital Stereo worked and audio started to come out! Sweet! Not sure why that was the case since the Audigy2 ZS supports upto 7.1 spearkers.

So Stanman, ChemChampion and I played PGR3 and Perfect Dark Zero from 10pm to 4am.


Speaking of which, there’s this interesting article on Game Console Energy Consumption (from /.). From the article the Xbox 360 uses 2W when it’s turned off, which seems a bit high when compared to the others. However, the article states:

Console       | Energy  | kWh Wasted | Annual
              | Leakage | Each Year  | Cost
---------------------------------------------
Playstation 1 | 0.2W    |  1.752 kWh | $0.26
Playstation 2 | 2W      | 17.52 kWh  | $2.63
Xbox          | 0.4W    |  3.50 kWh  | $0.53
Xbox 360      | 2W      | 17.52 kWh  | $2.63
Gamecube      | 0.4W    |  3.50 kWh  | $0.53
Dreamcast     | 0.4W    |  3.50 kWh  | $0.53

As you can see every single console is a victim of energy leakage to some extent. The losers here are the Xbox 360 and PS2, however the PS2 is the biggest loser of the group. There are a few points that need to be made. While both consoles need to power their internal clocks, they also need to keep their IR ports constants scanning for remote controls trying to power on the console explaining the added power requirements. The Xbox 360 also has to keep its internal wireless card active otherwise it wouldn’t notice when a controller is sending a request for the machine to turn on. So while both machines require the most power, the Xbox 360 has the most components that need to remain powered in standby making the energy leakage a little more acceptable. The idea of spending $2.68 just to have a PS2 plugged in the wall is less then desirable.

The comparison of the consoles when they were running was shocking:

Console       | Dashboard
              | Energy Use
--------------------------
Playstation 1 |   4W
Playstation 2 |  23W
Xbox          |  61W
Xbox 360      | 145W
Gamecube      |  20W
Dreamcast     |  17W

It’s shocking to find that the Xbox uses almost 3x as much energy as the PS2 and the Xbox 360 uses almost 2.5x the energy that the Xbox uses. It’ll be interesting to see how much energy the PS3 would end up using.


Speaking of which, I was looking for ways to obtain cheap Microsoft Points to use in Xbox Live Marketplace just yesterday. eBay wasn’t a good source as the pricing there was even higher than what Xbox Live was selling them for online. The online pricing comes out to be 80pts/$1. Everywhere else either is at that pricing or higher. I decided to wait a bit and see if people end up throwing away points to sell online. Guess what, Outpost is now selling 1600 points for $14.99. There’s even free shipping! That makes it over 106pts/$1. Unfortunately, they charge sales tax in WA (Please note that we charge sales tax for AZ, CA, GA, OH, TX, NV,WA, IL and IN.) making it $16.31 including tax, so the point to dollar ratio is now down to 98pts/$1. Still a really hot deal in my opinion since I couldn’t really find points cheaper elsewhere.

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