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Author Topic: Random Assorted 360 Questions  (Read 2462 times)
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-Lord Ebonstone-
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« on: August 22, 2006, 06:39:07 PM »

So my house is now home to a new 360, which my brother bought.  So far I'm pretty impressed with the system and I'm starting to consider purchasing one to have at college for myself.  However, there are some qualms/questions I have about it that I hope someone with more experience could answer for me:

1.)  I've got two options for a display:  A 20" S-Video TV, or my 18" viewable 1280x1024 LCD monitor (with 3ms redraw and both VGA and DVI inputs).  Which would be better, or would they both suck?  Is my monitor's default resolution even compatible with the 360?  If so, what level of HD is it considered?  Could I play 7-10 feet away from my monitor and still make stuff out on the screen, or would it be too small?

2.)  I'm pretty sure I want to buy the system from CostCo for the perma-warranty/return rights.  I have two options in terms of bundles from Costco.  Both come with a Premium System, an extra controller, and a plug-n-charge.  The $475 bundle has PGR3 (which I have no interest in) and the $500 bundle has a 12-month XBox Live card (well, the screenshot is of a 12-month XBox Live kit, which according to Gamestop comes with the Billiards arcade game, a headset, and 200 market points).  Which is the better deal, or are they about even?
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« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2006, 06:47:33 PM »

the monitor is going to look better than svideo
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« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2006, 06:50:34 PM »

PGR3 is *technically* the better bundle, but if you have no interest in it, just get the other one.  At retail, PGR3 is $50, while a 12 month Xbox live is $60.

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« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2006, 06:51:38 PM »

The monitor will look fine- you will have to get the VGA cable for it.  I'd be more concerned with gaming on an 18" display device from 7-10 feet away. 
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« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2006, 07:00:39 PM »

Quote from: Kevin Grey on August 22, 2006, 06:51:38 PM

The monitor will look fine- you will have to get the VGA cable for it.  I'd be more concerned with gaming on an 18" display device from 7-10 feet away. 
7-10 feet away is probably inaccurate -- I doubt my dorm room is even 10 feet in any direction.

I just don't want to play the system at my desk, ie, 2 feet away from the monitor.  I want to actually relax and enjoy the wireless controller, etc.  So probably closer to 5 feet away.
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« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2006, 07:18:09 PM »

The 18" monitor has practically the same viewable area as a 20" tv, so in either case you'll be dealing with potential issues of small text and whatnot.

If the monitor can do at least 480p (and it can probably do 720p), then that'd be a sharper picture with more detail and clarity than the tv even if the tv is a bit larger.  S-Video will limit you to a 480i picture, which makes it harder to make out the details you can on a progressive image.
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« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2006, 07:43:55 PM »

Ugh, I just realized I don't have speakers for my computer, so I wouldn't have them for the XBox either...
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« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2006, 07:49:15 PM »

Quote from: -Lord Ebonstone- on August 22, 2006, 07:43:55 PM

Ugh, I just realized I don't have speakers for my computer, so I wouldn't have them for the XBox either...
You can get a good set for like 50 bucks, its worth it.
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« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2006, 07:50:56 PM »

If you have a stereo system with L/R inputs, you can run the audio cables from the 360 to the stero and the VGA/DVI cable to the monitor.  Otherwise, yeah, you'll have to either use the TV or rig some speakers to the pc and have a means of external audio input to them from the 360.
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« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2006, 07:54:29 PM »

Quote from: Calvin on August 22, 2006, 07:49:15 PM

Quote from: -Lord Ebonstone- on August 22, 2006, 07:43:55 PM

Ugh, I just realized I don't have speakers for my computer, so I wouldn't have them for the XBox either...
You can get a good set for like 50 bucks, its worth it.
I'm such a  retard, I meticulously picked out $2400 worth of computer parts, spent three hours putting it all together, another two days getting everything reinstalled, and I reach for the new speakers I got to hook into my shiny new Creative X-Fi... and realize I didn't buy speakers.

This was like five months ago.  I've been living off a headset all this time -- and actually, the mic on the headset died, so they're just headphones with a goofy, vestigial apendage.

I'm reading the VGA cable comes with optical audio input or some shit.  Are there any $50 range speakers with optical input?  Do speakers even get optical input, or is that a deck/converter thing?  I seriously know nothing about audio.
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« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2006, 07:56:53 PM »

I'm running my 360 through the VGA cable to my 19" LCD which runs at 1280x1024.  For the most part it looks freaking great.  I'd say about half of the games I play on it display in the full 1280x1024 resolution.  The other half will make the display letterbox to a widescreen which I'm guessing is 1280x720 with black bars at the top and bottom.  Of the ones I've played so far Perfect Dark Zero, Tomb Raider Legends, Dead Rising and Burnout Revenge all force the widescreen resolution.  Call of Duty 2 doesn't and it looks amazing.

You have the option in the dashboard to set the display to 1280x1024 Normal or Widescreen and when you choose 1280x1024 Widescreen it modifies the image to fill the whole screen which results in a weirdly stretched picture.  I don't like it much so I've stayed with Normal and the forced widescreen mode with black bars.  But you won't be able to see the image very well from 5 or more feet away.
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« Reply #11 on: August 22, 2006, 08:01:42 PM »

Wait...isn't Lord Ebonstone the person that constantly ragged on eveyrone who had a 360 around launch time?  Am I misremembering?  If not, nobody has crucified him yet? Tongue
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« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2006, 08:02:18 PM »

Quote from: warning on August 22, 2006, 07:56:53 PM

You have the option in the dashboard to set the display to 1280x1024 Normal or Widescreen and when you choose 1280x1024 Widescreen it modifies the image to fill the whole screen which results in a weirdly stretched picture.  I don't like it much so I've stayed with Normal and the forced widescreen mode with black bars.  But you won't be able to see the image very well from 5 or more feet away.
So do you play the 360 as if you were playing a game on your PC?

One of the appeals of consoles to me is that I don't have to be sitting at my desk to play them... it sounds really stupid, but if I had to sit at my desk to play the 360, I don't know if I'd enjoy it.

By the way, that TV I mentioned I had -- it's bigger than 20".  I don't know where I got the 20" idea from.  It's somewhere in the mid-20s I believe.  Maybe 26 or 28?  This kind of exercise combines the two things I'm worst at -- memory in general, and memory of specific numbers.
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« Reply #13 on: August 22, 2006, 08:03:33 PM »

Quote from: The Grue on August 22, 2006, 08:01:42 PM

Wait...isn't Lord Ebonstone the person that constantly ragged on eveyrone who had a 360 around launch time?  Am I misremembering?  If not, nobody has crucified him yet? Tongue
Yeah, but recall that the 360's launch was baked ass, and also, the speculation was that the PS3 simply couldn't be much more expensive than the $399 XBox.
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« Reply #14 on: August 22, 2006, 08:18:08 PM »

the problem with the tv approach is several games have unreadable (or nearly unreadable) text on anything other than HDTV or VGA.  No matter how big you make it some games are very difficult to play without the added resolutions. 

I think 3-5 feet away would work fine, you could definitely kick back and play.  But I'd say 7-8 feet is probably pushing it for the monitor.
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« Reply #15 on: August 22, 2006, 08:22:05 PM »

Quote from: -Lord Ebonstone- on August 22, 2006, 08:02:18 PM

By the way, that TV I mentioned I had -- it's bigger than 20".  I don't know where I got the 20" idea from.  It's somewhere in the mid-20s I believe.  Maybe 26 or 28?  This kind of exercise combines the two things I'm worst at -- memory in general, and memory of specific numbers.

Personally, I'd go with playing it on the TV in standard def then.  A TV of that size will be great in a dorm room.  Hopefully, devs will learn from Capcom's mistake on the text for Dead Rising so that issue won't crop up in the future. 
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« Reply #16 on: August 22, 2006, 08:33:08 PM »

Think S-Video worth the extra $30, Kevin?
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« Reply #17 on: August 22, 2006, 08:33:59 PM »

Quote from: -Lord Ebonstone- on August 22, 2006, 08:02:18 PM

Quote from: warning on August 22, 2006, 07:56:53 PM

You have the option in the dashboard to set the display to 1280x1024 Normal or Widescreen and when you choose 1280x1024 Widescreen it modifies the image to fill the whole screen which results in a weirdly stretched picture.  I don't like it much so I've stayed with Normal and the forced widescreen mode with black bars.  But you won't be able to see the image very well from 5 or more feet away.
So do you play the 360 as if you were playing a game on your PC?

One of the appeals of consoles to me is that I don't have to be sitting at my desk to play them... it sounds really stupid, but if I had to sit at my desk to play the 360, I don't know if I'd enjoy it.

I've got a really comfortable padded leather desk chair and when I played computer games I'm usually an arm's length away.  When I play my 360 I scoot back a bit and recline the chair so I'm probably around 2 arm's lengths away from the screen.  It works for me and everything is really nice and crisp on my monitor.  But I have been eyeing those widescreen monitors a lot more the last couple weeks.
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« Reply #18 on: August 22, 2006, 08:35:00 PM »

Quote from: -Lord Ebonstone- on August 22, 2006, 08:33:08 PM

Think S-Video worth the extra $30, Kevin?

Absolutely.  S-Video is a pretty big step up from composite.
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« Reply #19 on: August 22, 2006, 09:10:51 PM »

Quote from: gellar on August 22, 2006, 06:50:34 PM

PGR3 is *technically* the better bundle, but if you have no interest in it, just get the other one.  At retail, PGR3 is $50, while a 12 month Xbox live is $60.

gellar
PGR3 now retails for $30, and you can even get it at Wal-Mart with Forza Motorsport for the Xbox for the same price.
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« Reply #20 on: August 22, 2006, 09:17:58 PM »

Quote from: Kevin Grey on August 22, 2006, 08:35:00 PM

Quote from: -Lord Ebonstone- on August 22, 2006, 08:33:08 PM

Think S-Video worth the extra $30, Kevin?

Absolutely.  S-Video is a pretty big step up from composite.

Yes, yes, absolutely.  Component (RGB) would be even better if you can use that.  For a good while, I was playing my 360 on a 27" standard-def television via component cables.  Looked great, and I rarely had any trouble with text in games (I've seen Dead Rising on a S-Def tv though, and ouch... that text sucks...).  If you're running a mid-20's tv, then yeah, like others said, play on that and run the S-Video or Component for better picture quality.
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« Reply #21 on: August 23, 2006, 12:27:20 AM »

Quote from: gellar on August 22, 2006, 06:50:34 PM

PGR3 is *technically* the better bundle, but if you have no interest in it, just get the other one.  At retail, PGR3 is $50, while a 12 month Xbox live is $60.

gellar

Nah, PGR is down to 30 new (25 used).
LE I use a computer monitor and for me it's just like being on the computer. If you don't want that, go with the TV.
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« Reply #22 on: August 23, 2006, 01:55:28 AM »

I have my 360 hooked up to a 20" monitor and I sit in my recliner which I would estimate is about 7 feet back from head to screen.  If there is a game with a lot of smaller text to read I might scoot forward a foot or so.  But I also need new glasses, so that could be part of the problem.   icon_wink
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« Reply #23 on: August 23, 2006, 03:10:28 PM »

LE, allow me to don the "Voice Of Reason" +2 Wis hat here.

You are going to use it on both. Face it. Get the VGA cable for your monitor (and use DVI to the monitor for your PC). There are numerous screen resolutions it can do, and basically you are getting high-def. (720p is 1280x720, 1080i is 1920x1080 IIRC).

If you are going to have a buddy over, you're going to want to use the larger set. I don't know that the svideo is worth that time; you've already got the composite at no extra cost. the clarity you will get on your monitor will have you wanting to see it closer.

As to the bundle, don't go with PGR3 bundle... it's trade-in value is negligable. if it truly is the 360 KIT and not a card, that means you'll have an extra headset for your brother / friend who comes over and brings their account with them. (or a spare if you're harsh on your equipment)

Since you're in a dorm and you may want to get better speakers anyways, may I suggest running the optical out or the rca outs into your XFI input, and then get a decent set of speakers (perhaps something like the Logitech x530s if you want a 5.1 system) or a pair of long-wire / wireless earphones? The speaker option does require your PC be on (when do you turn yours off though?) but then both your PC and your computer benefit. Also, this means that the live headset isn't going to interfere with your voicecomm ability.
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« Reply #24 on: August 23, 2006, 03:54:40 PM »

I'd probably want a 2.1 sound system for space and cash reasons, unless the 5.1 was the same or a very similar price.  Recommendations welcome.
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« Reply #25 on: August 23, 2006, 07:24:56 PM »

Quote from: -Lord Ebonstone- on August 23, 2006, 03:54:40 PM

I'd probably want a 2.1 sound system for space and cash reasons, unless the 5.1 was the same or a very similar price.  Recommendations welcome.

that x530 is 79.99 CAD (~70USD). Any decent 2.1 system with a sub is going to run damn close to that.
Newegg has it for as cheap as 50USD

Which XFI card do you have? the platinum with the expansion bay with the connectors?
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« Reply #26 on: August 23, 2006, 07:27:09 PM »

Quote from: Purge on August 23, 2006, 07:24:56 PM

Quote from: -Lord Ebonstone- on August 23, 2006, 03:54:40 PM

I'd probably want a 2.1 sound system for space and cash reasons, unless the 5.1 was the same or a very similar price.  Recommendations welcome.

that x530 is 79.99 CAD (~70USD). Any decent 2.1 system with a sub is going to run damn close to that.
Newegg has it for as cheap as 50USD

Which XFI card do you have? the platinum with the expansion bay with the connectors?
No, it's the model that comes with the card only.

$35 for these X-230s seems like what I'd be looking for...
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« Reply #27 on: August 23, 2006, 08:01:46 PM »

Quote from: -Lord Ebonstone- on August 23, 2006, 07:27:09 PM

$35 for these X-230s seems like what I'd be looking for...

You have the following math to consider:

$52.99 / 5.1 = 10.39 per speaker
$35.00 / 2.1 = 16.67 per speaker

This means that, with the 360 audio routed through the PC, you could have 5.1 audio for pc, home theatre use and for games.
It would be the optimal solution.

Personally, I have had the 5300 (this is the updated version 5300e), and I now have the 5500 speakers
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« Reply #28 on: August 23, 2006, 08:31:16 PM »

Quote from: Purge on August 23, 2006, 08:01:46 PM

Quote from: -Lord Ebonstone- on August 23, 2006, 07:27:09 PM

$35 for these X-230s seems like what I'd be looking for...

You have the following math to consider:

$52.99 / 5.1 = 10.39 per speaker
$35.00 / 2.1 = 16.67 per speaker

This means that, with the 360 audio routed through the PC, you could have 5.1 audio for pc, home theatre use and for games.
It would be the optimal solution.

Personally, I have had the 5300 (this is the updated version 5300e), and I now have the 5500 speakers
Sure, but I'm probably going to be in a 6'x7' room, if even that.
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« Reply #29 on: August 23, 2006, 08:47:14 PM »

I'm not sure why, but I get occasional stutters at 1280x720 using a VGA cable with my Viewsonic '32 LCD.  When I use component cables at 720p I do not.  I was hoping to save my component connections for something else, but I was forced to dump the VGA cable once I noticed the stuttering.
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« Reply #30 on: August 24, 2006, 03:41:24 PM »

Quote from: denoginizer on August 23, 2006, 08:47:14 PM

I'm not sure why, but I get occasional stutters at 1280x720 using a VGA cable with my Viewsonic '32 LCD.  When I use component cables at 720p I do not.  I was hoping to save my component connections for something else, but I was forced to dump the VGA cable once I noticed the stuttering.
Weird.  Could that possibly be due to some kind of progressive scan issue?
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« Reply #31 on: August 24, 2006, 03:50:31 PM »

I was thinking that the refresh rate through the VGA connection wasn't high enough.  I have seen some 19 inch LCD monitors with sub 9 millisecond refresh rates.  I'm sure my 32 inch Viewsonic is much slower than that.  Unfortunately I don't know enough about the way monitors work to say if the refresh rate is different with a VGA input compared to component.  I just know that I don't see the stutters with component.  Perhaps someone more knowlegable can enlighten me.
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