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Shortly after the Xbox 360's release, Microsoft unveiled a handy little memory stick for transferring and transporting, gamer profiles and game saves/data. These were rather hard to come by in shops and can still be rather expensive today, despite the fact that gamers can now use USB memory sticks to do an even better job. The Unit takes no time to load and makes no sound compared to the xbox 360 itself and is super easy to use, inserted into one of the two flap slots in line with the disc drive. It doesn't really have any faults and considering it is several times larger than its 64MB predecessor, it allows for far more profiles and or game saves and data, but some games still can be too large for memory unit storage.
Thanks to numerous updates and a different xbox live dashboard, you can now use an external memory stick to hold your profile (determining the amount of space allowed for gaming use on first plug in varying from about 100MB to the whole thing). A USB device can also be used to play videos, music and view photos from. With this in mind, the official Microsoft memory unit effectively becomes obsolete, yet still purchasable for a good price second hand. Still, nothing wrong with it.. its just a bit redundant.
I've been after one of these for some time now and after trawling the usual suspects online and on the high street my search was unsuccessful. After a little research on the internet I discovered that these memory cards had been discontinued by Microsoft. This was frustrating and also very surprising to me as an XBOX user for several years Microsoft have never held back with launching accessories that you might otherwise expect to have been in the box with your console in the first place.
I should explain why I was after one of these as every requesst for a memory card was met with a quick head shake followed by the suggestion that I should buy a hard drive from several sales assistants. Now, I have a (120gb) hard drive and I find that product very useful for downloading and storing my games as well as allowing game installs which slows down the propeller in my XBOX and stops it from wanting to take off.. What that product doesn't permit however is the easy transportation of game saves, profiles and Live Arcade games. This 360 memory unit allows for easy transportation of your gamer profile as well as your save data to a friend's console. This also keeps a record of aany achievements you've earned while you've been away from your XBOX which is great news for all gamerscwhores!
As sad as it may sound I live in a household with two XBOX 360s with my brother picking up his own machine last year so he could play those awful Cabella hunting games. Compared to me he's a light user and again compared to me rarely downloads any games and from time to time i'm keen to share what i've downloaded when a particularly staggering game gets released like Trials HD or Peggle, short of moving my XBOX around the house (something i'm reluctant to do after the reliability issues i've suffered) this hasn't been possible.
So it was to my great surprise and delight on one of my regular trips to Gamestation that they had a preowned Memory Unit in stock and the larger 512 mb one at that! To cap it all off, the memory card was only £9.99, the manager told me that a new one would have cost £34.99, a price i'd probably have paid before if i'd been able to find one!
I should also mention here that I am aware that even at £9.99 this is a hefty price to pay for such a small storage unit and I do understand that I could get a USB jump drive of a larger size for less but these are unfortunately not compatible with the 360 in spite of it having three USB ports. This is just Microsoft being Microsoft as far as I can tell after paying a similarly inflated price for a wireless network adaptor a couple of years ago.
So, in use, I was surprised and very happy with how easy it was to transport data between my hard disk drive and the memory unit. I simply brought up the 'My XBOX' section on the dashboard scrolled right to open up the memory option and upon opening an item in the hard drive I was given the option to 'copy' it to the memory unit. In this first outing to the card I transferred around a dozen Live Arcade games (these can now range wildly in size so newer games like Shadow Complex for example can't be moved in this way) as well as my gamer profile which first logs me out of my own console before transferring, this all took literally seconds. Compared to the half hour or so it can take to recover my gamertag through XBOX Live this was all so easy and at the other end, playing these games and loading my profile was as straightforward as you could hope it to be.
After my test session I went back to my own XBOX and was keen to see whether I could still use my profile on my console without returning my profile from the card. This was not possible and my whole profile was gone from the machine and had to be returned from the card before I could sign in again. This all makes perfect sense and isn't a disadvantage with the card but it does make me feel that this could be a little risky and made me wonder what would happen if I happened to lose the card or it got damaged.
Overall, the memory unit has been extremely useful for me and i'd strongly recommend it for anyone wishing to do something similar to what i've described but I wouldn't have it at the expense of a hard drive as they allow so much more storage and can be found for little cost these days, especially the 20gb ones which like the memory unit has now been discontinued.
The Xbox 360 512MB Memory Unit was created with Casual Gamers in mind. For those of us who didn't want to buy the Premium or Elite XBOX 360 units, the alternative was and still is the arcade version. The difference between the Arcade and Premium / Elites is that it doesn't come bundled with a hard drive to save your games on. Instead, the arcade version comes bundled with a 256MB Memory Unit which is the exact same product as this one, but with only half the memory capacity.
So that really begs the question - who buys the 512mb version ? Well, I guess Microsoft figured that if somebody runs out of room on their 256mb Memory Unit then they would naturally purchase a 512mb Memory Unit to be able to continue saving their games, which is a fair assumption.
Another reason to buy the 512mb version is quite important if you have access to xbox live. The reason is that if you are connected to xbox live you are now required to install the new xbox experience update. This update requires 136mb of storage, so if you only have the 256mb memory unit you are left with only 120mb to use for game saves, etc - but if you install the NXE update using a 512mb unit you will have a larger 376mb left to use.
My main gripe with the product is that the 512mb Unit costs a staggering £29.99 which is astronomically high for a mere 512mb of storage. It's nothing special - it's just a piece of plastic that stores data, no different to USB Flash Memory sticks that you can buy for your computers for under £5 for the same amount of storage.
Sadly though the xbox 360 doesn't let you save data onto standard flash memory sticks, so you are forced to use Microsoft's own storage products.
However ignoring the price, you can't really fault the product - it's a memory storage device and it does what it is supposed to do - and that's store memory. The Memory Unit allows you to store your game saves which are typically between 50kb and 1mb, so the 512mb of storage should be more than sufficient for most gamers. However if you have access to xbox live gold you will not be able to download the latest demos or game upgrades that are available as they are typically around 1GB in size.
The memory unit itself is rather small and slots into the front of your xbox 360 console. It looks physically nice as it matches the xbox nicely in colour and shape and can be left connected to your xbox 360 for as long as you like, even if you are not using it.
I would recommend the 512mb Memory Unit to those gamers who don't plan on connecting to xbox live unless they don't have the desire to download any content such as demos from the market place. The main advantage of the Memory Unit is that it is extremely portable as it is extremely light in weight - so taking it around to a friends house is a breeze. These memory units are also popular for transferring data between two hard drives (copy the file from hard drive A onto memory card, then copy the same file that is now on the memory card onto hard drive B)
The product is fine for the casual gamer who primarily wants to store their game saves, but there's little point in buying a 512mb Memory Unit if you already have the 256mb Unit that comes with the Arcade Console unless you plan on using it for portability reasons or transferring purposes. If you're seriously planning on upgrading from a 256mb Memory Unit to a 512mb Memory Unit just for storage purposes, then you're making a bad decision.
Given the price of the 512mb Memory Unit (£29.99 - Amazon.co.uk) you are far better of upgrading to a 20GB Hard Drive which are now available for as little as £39.99 (from Gameplay.co.uk). For the extra £10 that you spend you get roughly 12.5GB more storage space than you do with the 512mb Memory Unit, so you get a lot more value for money. (The 20GB hard drive only actually allows you to use 13GB of the space)
Also, another incentive to upgrade to the hard drive rather than the 512mb memory unit is the fact that the new xbox experience update allows you to install your games to your hard drive (typically takes 5GB+ per game) which makes your games run faster and your xbox run quieter & cooler, potentially extending the life span of your console.
Plenty of storage for game saves
Can transfer data between two hard drives
20GB HDD is available for £10 more
Review also now published on Ciao.
The Xbox 360 512MB Memory Unit is a storage device for your Xbox 360.
If you have a Core 360 console or even an Arcade you will have little or no room to store your save games and so on. You will need a memory card, like this one.
The 512MB memory unit is currently the biggest memory unit available for the Xbox 360, it can store 8x as much as the original 64MB one.
In reality the 512MB is not that much and if you want to download Xbox Arcade games you will fill it up very quickly as the newer ones are sometimes 100MB+, for save games you should be able to manage as they are usually 1MB but some are more.
Sadly you will still not be able to get demos as most of them are atleast 700MB which is a shame as you will not be able to try games out before you buy them.
If you just want a few arcade titles that won't fit on a smaller memory card or if you want to just have enough room for any games that you may buy this will suit you well.
This memory unit is slightly pricey at £30 especially as you can probably get a used 20GB hard drive for that much now.