Xbox 360 "CD" Versus "Hard Drive Install" Game Quality Comparison

Ben Fritz at Variety writing for his games blog The Cut Scene has an intriguing post up suggesting that Fable 2 (PCW Score: 100%) "looks noticeably better" if you play it from the Xbox 360's hard drive. Running games off the hard drive is one of the New Xbox Experience's features, an option that's being offered to 1) remedy an acoustical design flaw in the Xbox 360's DVD drive and 2) make Microsoft some extra scratch selling hard drive upgrades.

In all the time I've spent with the NXE (see Parts One and Two of my hands on) I can't say I noticed anything graphically better about the visual output. I'm running my 360 through a VGA cable at 1280 x 768 on a fairly high end Sony Bravia LCD TV. Fable 2 looks terrific, but it looks as terrific to my subjective eye whether CD or hard drive spooled.

Since how Fritz or I "feel" the visuals compare is pretty much irrelevant when it comes to what is or isn't transpiring, I took a stab at a picture for picture comparison standing at the spot in Bower Lake just outside the gypsy camp. These are rough and ready snaps from a save game load, but I've ensured all the color profiling and quality metrics are identical.

Fable 2, Bower Lake, CD Load

Fable 2, Bower Lake, HD Load

Judge for yourself, but I can't see a whit of difference.

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