Master of the modders Ben Heck has illuminated why exactly the Xbox 360 makes such a racket, and why that makes it so dangerous.
The Xbox 360 is loud. Some are louder than others, inexplicably, but most of them are loud enough to keep your parents awake if they're sleeping one room over. "Turn that dang machine off!" they say when you're up late playing Gears of War 2 with your buddies online. That's fine - some of us could care less if our parents aren't getting their beauty sleep, but really, if someone could explain just why the machine produces so much noise, I think we could all rest better at night.
Here comes master modder Ben Heck, who has turned 360s into laptops and made wheelchair mods for Rock Band drums, with the answer. "Almost all of the noise on the Xbox 360 comes from the DVD drive, which spins at a very high rate," Heck told GamesRadar. "I'm not really sure what the RPM is, but I've run the DVD drives 'open' before and it's scary fast."
Scary fast enough to put the fear of God in Heck, apparently. This is a man who has lived with his head and hands in the guts of machines for years and the 360 gives him the willies. "I have no problems sticking my hands around running machinery, band saws, CNC machines, etc, but the 360's DVD drive scares me," he remarked.
The converse of the 360 being loud, naturally, is that the PS3 is quiet. Heck dropped some knowledge about that as well: "The PS3 has a more custom Blu-ray drive and thus is probably more efficient. As you may or may not be aware, the 360's DVD drive has a higher data transfer rate than the Blu-ray... because it spins so fast!"