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Difference Between Xenon and Zephyr

Xenon vs Zephyr

Xenon and Zephyr are codenames for different motherboards used on different models of the Xbox 360. The Xenon is the first one and is found on the Core version, which is the bare bones package needed to play Xbox 360 games at the lowest cost. A step up from the Core Package is the Pro or Premium package. This one initially shipped with the Zephyr motherboard but was replaced with the Falcon motherboard in 2007.

The easiest way to differentiate a Xenon Xbox 360 from a Zephyr is to inspect if it has an HDMI port; the Zephyr has one while the Xenon doesn’t. A port may seem like a minimal difference but it spells a huge difference if you also have other HD appliances. The Zephyr can connect with HDTVs and display at HD resolutions for finer and more detailed graphics. Although the Xenon motherboard is also capable of handling the same resolutions, the lack of an HD interface meant it is incapable of transmitting HD video. Even when connected to an HDTV, the component cables can only provide SD resolutions. One thing worth noting though is that even though the Xbox 360s with the Zephyr motherboard is HDMI capable, it doesn’t ship with an HDMI cable. So you would need to purchase one separately.

Another improvement in the Zephyr motherboard is the enhanced heatsink that attaches to the GPU. In a gaming console, it is the GPU that is constantly hard at work and is producing large amounts of heat in the process. The GPU heatsink has more fins on it, which helps in transferring the heat from the GPU to the air. Once the heat is in the air, it can be easily removed from the unit via the fan. A better heatsink keeps the GPU cooler and mitigates the appearance of on-screen artifacts on prolonged use. It may also help extend the life of your Xbox 360.

The Xenon and Zephyr motherboard models of the Xbox 360 are fairly old and superseded by other models found on newer devices.


1.The Xenon is an older model than the Zephyr
2.The Xenon is found on the Core Xbox 360 while the Zephyr is found on some Premium Xbox 360s
3.The Zephyr has an HDMI port while Xenon doesn’t
4.The Zephyr has a better GPU heatsink than the Xenon

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1 Comment

  1. Thank you for a simple and concise article about the difference between these two versions of the XBox 360… if only all web pages could have your precision!

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