Xbox 360 Elite and 120GB drive now official

HD nerds and Xbox fanboys, the moment you've been waiting for: the Xbox 360 Elite we alerted you about way back when it was just called the Zephyr has finally been announced. As we previously mentioned, it will be black, it will have HDMI, and it will have a 120GB drive (it'll also come bundled with a one month Xbox Live trial) for $479. Unfortunately, also as mentioned before, it's not going to have the new 65nm CPUs, it still doesn't have integrated WiFi (Xbox said it's because a study showed the majority of their customers use Ethernet to connect -- huh?), and it won't have an integrated HD DVD drive (not that we expected otherwise). Microsoft did make some marketing decisions since our sources spilled the beans on this thing though: it's not going to be limited edition, as we previously had. Instead, the Elite will be a permanent SKU, the third and top-tier Xbox device. On the solo 120GB drive side of things, that unit will cost $179, and will come with a cable and software to migrate from your old 20GB drive. (MSFT wasn't yet sure if that kit would be sold separately for new Elite users -- sounds like it will be though, and will be priced very reasonably.) More info:

  • The console will come with component and composite cables, as well as an HDMI cable. (Take that, Sony and Apple!)

  • The console will come with a black wireless controller and black (wired) headset.

  • Sorry, the new black controller still doesn't have backlit buttons -- don't let the pic fool you.

  • The black controller, black rechargeable batteries, black headset, and black Play & Charge kit will all be available in retail for the same price as the white gear.

  • The HD DVD drive will not be released in black.

  • Xbox didn't know what HDMI version the Elite uses, nor whether it supports PCM 5.1, TrueHD, etc.; it will obviously support 1080p, though.

  • Sorry, no price cuts on the Premium or Core packs.

  • Xbox Live Marketplace will also begin vending content from New Line, Paramount, and Universal (and their properties).

It's out April 29th in the US and Canada, people. Ready for your second Xbox? No? Well, it's still cheaper than that other black game console.

Update: Added more pics; also, Major Nelson has live hands-on pics, too.