reported last week, Eurogamer noticed something fishy about its NXE HDD install of Halo 3 when investigating the performance of titles using this new feature: it was awful. Turns out that, with today's roll-out of the New Xbox Experience, more and more people are discovering this. Bungie has weighed in on the topic, revealing that, because of the way the game's designed, it really shouldn't be installed to the 360's hard disk.
In a post on the Bungie forums, engineer Mat Noguchi explains that the slower loading after a full HDD install is a direct result of how the game was designed to use the HDD in the first place. "When Halo 3 runs, if a HDD is present, we copy maps from the DVD to the utility partition on the HDD," says Noguchi. "And as a result, it means that even if Halo 3 is already installed to the HDD, it will still copy maps to the utility partition."
The problem: copying from the HDD to the HDD is slow. "Ultimately this is because for the HDD, you read and write through the same mechanism, i.e., the hard drive read/write head, and those reads and writes cannot occur simultaneously through a single mechanism," Noguchi explains. The moral of this story: don't install Halo 3 to the HDD and you'll be much, much happier.
Bungie has no plans to issue a post-NXE launch fix because, as Naguchi writes, "The risks of doing that and the resources required has to be carefully considered against what could really be a rather insignificant change to the player experience."