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So, which console should I get?

Microsoft’s Xbox, launched earlier this year, got off to a slow start, with a high price-tag and cheaper opposition, in the form of the GameCube. It’s gradually made its way up the charts, though, thanks to a few killer apps – such as Halo – and a major price cut.

Criticisms of the Xbox are the controller and console size. There’s now a smaller Controller S available, which is similar in size to the PlayStation 2 controller. To be honest, the size of the actual console doesn’t really matter – unless you live in a cupboard.

The most powerful of the 3 consoles, the Xbox has a 733MHz processor, a 250MHz graphics card, 64MB RAM, an 8 GB hard drive (the only console with one) and a built-in broadband adapter. It can also play DVDs (using a extra peripheral) and CDs.

All of this power lets the Xbox run graphically superb games with large levels. You can also rip music from CDs, store it on the hard drive, and use it as a game soundtrack.

The online service, Xbox LIVE is outstanding, and you can read our review of it on Thunderbolt. It allows players to talk to each other in all games, and incorporates other features to create a great online environment.

Although there aren’t many games out for the Xbox, compared to the PS2, more and more developers are signing up to make games for the system, especially PC game producers. There are many good quality and range of software available, and it’s mainly aimed at an older target audience than the GameCube.

It is the best value-for-money console you can buy, as it’s now available at less than half its launch price, and there’s plenty of bundles around.

With an increasing user-base and an excellent online plan, the future looks bright for the Xbox, and Microsoft might even make a profit out of it soon.

So, which one should I get?

The author of this fine article

is the Editor at Thunderbolt, having joined in November 2000. Get in touch on Twitter @PhilipMorton.

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