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Microsoft Corp. on Wednesday unveiled a new version of its Xbox 360 game console that comes in black case colour and features larger hard disk drive compared to previous offerings. While the device, unlike expected, does not feature built-in HD DVD drive, it sports new connection to TV-sets and is positioned as a solution for multimedia fans.

“Today’s games and entertainment enthusiast has an insatiable appetite for digital high-definition content,” said Peter Moore, corporate vice president for the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft. “Xbox 360 Elite’s larger hard drive and premium accessories will allow our community to enjoy all that the next generation of entertainment has to offer.”

The new Xbox 360 Elite, in addition to everything that is offered by the Xbox 360 Premium kit and black case, sports 120GB hard disk drive, HDMI output and an HDMI cable, allowing the console to connect to TV-sets using modern high-definition multimedia interface (HDMI) port.

Earlier it was thought that the new version of Xbox 360 will feature integrated HD DVD drive to compete against Sony’s PlayStation 3 that features Blu-ray, but Microsoft decided that to have a 120GB hard drive and a white HD DVD player for black Xbox 360 Elite game console is a better choice for consumers, who will have to pay $479 for the new version of game console when it arrives to the U.S. in late April.

For those, who would like to upgrade their existing Xbox 360 game consoles Microsoft will offer 120GB HDD for estimated retail price of $179. Nevertheless, those who would like to connect Xbox 360 to their HDTVs using HDMI will still have to buy the most expensive version of the console.

 Microsoft Xbox 360 console is based around microprocessor developed by IBM, high-definition visual processing unit designed by ATI Technologies, I/O controller engineered by SiS and some other key components. The gaming machine will provide a broad set of multimedia capabilities in addition to games. Depending on the bundle, Microsoft Xbox 360 currently costs $299 or $399 in the U.S.

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