Our out-of-warrantly xbox died, and it's the CD drive (I've been in the box, and got it back working several times). I've determined it's not a big deal to swap in a new drive - if you also swap the PCB with it (short of transferring info with special programs). Unfortunately, I have BenQ drive with soldered connections, rather than plugin connectors. I've decided the best solution is just to buy a new xbox. But - is there any way to determine from an in-the-box new xbox, without opening the carton and peeking at the tray (which can tell you) what brand drive is in the xbox, so I can buy one that can be easily swapped if (when) it goes bad? Hitachi and Samsung/Toshiba appear to have PCBs with connectors, amking swapping easy if something goes wrong. Is there a serial number or something that can tell me this?
This is only be a partial answer, but this list appears to be up to date with the newest versions and will tell you how to determine what lot numbers and teams mean which drives are in the machine.
All that being said, I don't know that you can find this out without actually seeing the physical xbox 360 unit as these numbers are for sure on there. I do not know if the Lot numbers and teams are displayed on the cardboard box that the unit ships in, so it may not be of any use.