What's in the Box, in the Box? (Taking it Apart)

Microsoft has shown the world that it's very swift when it comes to recovering from errors that it has made. With the original Xbox design, Microsoft was definitely testing new ground and thus had little experience when it came to protecting its intellectual property and hardware. The original Xbox was largely easy to open by most people with the most common of tools and was quickly adopted by the modding community as the ultimate "utility" console.

In an attempt to circumvent those with modified Xboxes, Microsoft added security and authentication features to its Xbox Live service that would detect whether an Xbox was in its original form or not. But the mod community did not sit idle and not long after, mod chips were introduced that were able to switch on and off between original BIOS mode and "modified" BIOS mode.

Microsoft has clearly announced to the public that it has designed the Xbox 360 from the ground up to thwart those who want to crack open the case -- even simply for a look inside. They have stated that the unit will be screwless (partially true) and be extremely difficult to disassemble -- unfortunately only partially true.

With a few simple tools we were able to disassemble the entire unit, removing every component from the system without any damage. If you plan to take apart your Xbox 360 -- and we must warn that doing so will void your warranty immediately -- the following tools are needed:

  • Three torx screw drivers in the following sizes: T6, T7 and T12
  • One small flat head screw driver or small and thin wedge
  • A 2 inch long and thin (roughly 1.5mm thick) metal stick
  • A 2 inch long and flat (less than 1mm thick) plastic or metal stick
  • A pair of thin pliers

With those tools in hand, we're ready to disassemble the Xbox 360.

Index Removing the Outer Shell
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  • Face27 - Wednesday, November 16, 2005 - link

    Is it my connection or is anandtech being really slow, its not loading any of the pictures which is what I wanna look at. I'm guessing this is quite a popular article. Reply
  • zech - Wednesday, November 16, 2005 - link

    The article was slashdotted:
    http://games.slashdot.org/games/05/11/16/1432205.s...">http://games.slashdot.org/games/05/11/1...5.shtml?...

    Anandtech's servers aren't handling this /. very well. But this is one of the first Xbox360 interal reviews (in a PC-hardware sort of fashion), so I'm sure every Xbox360 forum out there is posting links to it.
    Reply
  • ItsOnlyMonday - Wednesday, November 16, 2005 - link

    Yes, these pictures are on multiple forums, somee even lack proper credits.. :-\ Reply
  • gamigin - Wednesday, November 16, 2005 - link

    [quote]
    game developers shouldn't run into capacity limitations on Xbox 360 discs anytime soon
    [/quote]

    Prominent game developers disagree

    From "http://www.eurogamer.net/article.php?article_id=56...">http://www.eurogamer.net/article.php?article_id=56.... Note that this interview was before the next gen console debate in 2004.
    [quote]
    The danger is currently the storage medium (DVD), and one we thing we’re all praying for in the next round of hardware is that they don’t just go, ‘It’s DVD again’. We’ve done some clever stuff with compressing it, but we were virtually full on the disc with Vice City – this time we’re overfilling the disc to the max.”
    [/quote]
    Reply
  • quanta - Wednesday, November 16, 2005 - link

    If the developers worry about that much on not enough space to store sound samples, they should have invested on text to speech technology a long time ago, instead of relying on prerecorded sample. Unlike the cheesy Macintalk TTS in the 1980s, modern TTS can accurately simulate human speeches, even the emotional tones. Hey, Ananova uses it, does it not? That way the developers don't even have to worry about rehiring dead/retired/on-strike workers doing voices for games based on century-old movies! Reply
  • gamigin - Wednesday, November 16, 2005 - link

    Voice synthesis is great but it's really not at the point of replacing voice actors for dramatic games. Can you imagine watching a movie with the voices of your favorite actor dubbed in by a computer? Not quite the same.

    Also, it's more than just voice overs; a lot of space is used for graphics, models, textures, landscapes, animation data, sound effects, and music.

    Most current games don't need more capacity than standard DVD at the moment but some definitely do and others could at least take advantage of it.
    Reply
  • quanta - Wednesday, November 16, 2005 - link

    Actually, the emotionalal aspect of TTS is already been done by http://www.computing.dundee.ac.uk/staff/irmurray/s...">various people. In fact, many commercial grade TTS software that supports http://www.w3.org/TR/speech-synthesis/">SSML already able generate emotionally sounding voices. It's not Microsoft's fault that game developers don't try to use/refine the existing TTS engines to make them usable for voice acting applications. Reply
  • Xenoterranos - Thursday, November 17, 2005 - link

    Ywah, sure, but can you get a computer to do a dead-on Ray Liotta? I think not my friends, I think not! Reply
  • quanta - Tuesday, December 06, 2005 - link

    Why don't you try it first before commenting? You can find some demos on http://www.nuance.com/realspeak/rvoice/english.asp">Nuance rVoice's site. Depending on the title, the TTS voices sound better than the real live voices in some games. Reply
  • Questar - Wednesday, November 16, 2005 - link

    " We roughly estimated the power of the Xbox 360 GPU to be similar to that of a 24-pipeline ATI R420 GPU."

    What do you base this on?
    Reply

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