Xbox 360 game installs – Improvements/Un-improvements.

I figured I should make a list of all Xbox 360 games I have installed and give details on whether they helped the game load/perform better, or whether it has made the game worse. I am not going to give the size of the installs as it does not factor into this. I also haven’t timed the loading times myself, so instead I am just giving you what I’ve noticed.

I am using an Xbox 360 S  (AKA The slim). The 4GB version with a 250GB internal HDD.

I have played through each of these games for more than three hours after installing them.  Here are the colour codes which will help you understand whether or not installing the game is beneficial to the game.

Green = Installation has yield considerable improvements.

Yellow = Installation shows some improvement, at the expense of loading times/performance.

Red = No improvement has been noticed, or has been made worse with no significant improvements.

White = Not Tested.

* = Downloaded game (Even though they were downloaded they still get “installed”)

Game Effects of installation
Skyrim Better graphics at a cost of extremely long loading times. Also had some very major performance issues and more crashes/freezing on the odd occasion.
Fallout 3: GOTY Greatly reduced loading times. Less bugs and crashes.
Fallout: New Vegas (W/ All DLC) Reduced loading times, less bugs/glitches.
MW3 No effects noticed.
Borderlands: GOTY Reduced loading times.
C&C3: Tiberium Wars 1 second reduced off loading times.
Saints Row: The Third Frame rate issues, and high chances of the game freezing. No difference in loading times.
Halo: Anniversary Slightly reduced loading times.
Metro: 2033 Reduced loading times, and better frame rate in some areas.
RAGE (Disc 1 & 2) No effects noticed, no different in graphics (to my eyes at least).
Battlefield 3 (HD install) Noticed some better textures, but nothing more.
Black Ops No effects noticed
Dead Island Some improvement has been noticed, game takes less time to load, less glitches.
Dead Rising 2: Off the Record Reduced loading times, higher chance of game crashing, and many performance issues.
Fable 2 Greatly reduces loading times, and there are less bugs.
The Sims 3: Pets Improvement in both game performance and loading times has been noticed.
Crysis 2 Loading times greatly improved, and it also solves some of the fame rate issues.
Supreme commander 2* No improvements, significant crashes.
Supreme Commander No improvements noticed.
Far Cry instincts: Predator No improvements, graphics get worse.
Duke Nukem: Forever Loading times reduced, frame rate issues noticed, textures blurry.
Batman: Arkham City Not yet tested.
Prototype* Loading times reduced. Draw distances slightly better.
Rainbow Six: Vegas 2* No improvements noticed.
Far Cry 2* Greatly reduced loading times noticed.

For a complete list of install loading times click the link below.

Why would I need to install games?

This is an optional feature on the Xbox 360.  Installing games means that the console won’t need to use the disc through the entire game. It only uses the disc once, when loading up a game and then it reads all data off the HDD.

As you can see from the table above some games show significant improvements from installation, and some games show no improvement or in fact get worse. 

Installation also reduces the wear and tear of the disc drive, increasing it’s overall life and due to this it also keeps the console quiet. 

I have the 4GB Xbox do I need to get a HDD?

Yes you do, as the Xbox doesn’t seem to register that 4GB as a HDD (when in fact it’s an SSD). You’ll have to get one. The 250GB HDD retails for about £80, but I assume you can find it cheaper on Ebay or Amazon. A HDD is also need to take full advantage of some features in games such as Halo Reach’s Co-Op mode, it is also needed should you wish to purchase any DLC in the future.

Can I do this on all models of the Xbox 360?

Yes as long as you have the latest dashboard update, and a HDD (Internal not USB) then you should be good to go.

When I install the game I don’t notice anything?

Yeah sometimes it can be hard to see if an install has made any difference. However you’ll notice quicker loading times on many games, and some of the later games such as Skyrim have better graphics when installed.

Some of the older Xbox 360 games, released before the installation feature may actually get worse as they were made to be ran from the disc and not the HDD.

Are you going to make a PS3 vs Xbox comparison of game performance?

I might do, since I own some games on both platforms I could possibly make one. However when it comes to installing games, it will be unfair as in many cases PS3 players get no choice but to install the game to the HDD.


Thanks for reading this post.  See you all soon.


One thought on “Xbox 360 game installs – Improvements/Un-improvements.

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