Update: If you're looking for instructions on how to disassemble the new slim Xbox 360 read our updated guide here!

Microsoft's first try at a gaming console amounted to essentially a very affordable PC.  It used standard PC components, including a mobile Intel processor (a hybrid Pentium 3/Celeron), a desktop NVIDIA chipset, a Western Digital hard drive and relatively standard PC DVD-ROM.  The original Xbox was such a PC in fact that there were quite a few users that wanted to mod it simply to have a cheap PC, not even for gaming - including ourselves.  

Before the Xbox was launched, Microsoft was very concerned with users thinking of the Xbox as nothing more than a PC branded as a gaming console, so it went to great lengths to reduce the association.  For example, the strict ban on keyboard and mouse support, despite the fact that the console implemented the standard USB interface.  

With the Xbox 360, Microsoft gained some benefits of the original Xbox success.  Xbox didn't win the sales battle against Sony's PlayStation 2, but the first Xbox was strong enough to cement Microsoft's name in the world of console gaming manufacturers.  For their second time around, there is less worry of the Xbox 360 being viewed as a just a PC, so Microsoft took a bolder approach.  

Honestly, with the Xbox 360, Microsoft could have put forth another PC in a black box and it probably would have done fine.  But with their second gaming console, the target was growth -- and Sony.  With an established name and fanbase, it was time to take the market seriously and start to exert some dominance and thus the Xbox went from being a clunky black box of a PC, to a stylish consumer electronics device.

The Xbox 360 is smaller than the original Xbox, and its wireless nature makes it a natural fit in the living room - marking a thankful change from standard gaming consoles of the past.  Despite looking like the offspring of an iPod and a DVD player, the Xbox 360 is still very much a PC on the inside.  As such, it's got all of the components we're used to.

With less than a week to go before the retail availability of Xbox 360 consoles, we got our hands on one to give it the usual AnandTech once-over.  And take it apart of course.  

What's in the Box?

Our Xbox 360 system was the $399 unit, which comes with the following:

- Xbox 360 console
- 20GB Removable Hard Drive
- Wireless Controller
- Headset
- DVD Remote
- Ethernet Cable
- Component AV Cables
- External Power Supply

 

The $299 core system gives you the same console (with a white DVD tray cover), a wired controller, and standard composite AV cables; there's no hard drive, headset or remote.

By now you have undoubtedly heard about the massive external power supply that comes with the Xbox 360 and you can see it in the lower left hand corner of the picture above. Remember that in the original Xbox, the power supply was internal.  But with the power requirements of the Xbox 360 being significantly higher than its predecessor, while featuring a noticeably smaller case, the only solution was to take the power supply out of the Xbox 360. 

What's in the Box, in the Box? (Taking it Apart)
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  • Coherence - Wednesday, November 16, 2005 - link

    Agreed. I was very surprised to see that DVI/HDMI was left out of the first production run. My HDTV has all its component video inputs used up already, so it would have been nice to plug the 360 into one of the spare HDMI ports. I hate using switchboxes, but that's what I'll have to do with the component inputs now. Reply
  • glennpratt - Wednesday, November 16, 2005 - link

    Does you HDTV have VGA? Thier is a VGA out. Reply
  • apriest - Thursday, November 17, 2005 - link

    VGA (analog) isn't nearly the quality of DVI (digital), though it would be better than component. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, November 16, 2005 - link

    My Toshiba HDTV has an HDMI port (no DVI, but a DVI to HDMI cable works). However, it also has two component inputs, and that's far more common than DVI, HDMI, or VGA inputs on HDTVs. Reply
  • cruzer - Wednesday, November 16, 2005 - link

    Very slick design, looking forward to getting one!! Reply
  • cruzer - Wednesday, November 16, 2005 - link

    On page 5, "two dice on the chip", should that be 'dies' instead of 'dice'? Reply
  • cruzer - Wednesday, November 16, 2005 - link

    Nevermind, dice is correct. Reply
  • apriest - Wednesday, November 16, 2005 - link

    I was wondering that myself until I looked it up! Reply
  • bldckstark - Wednesday, November 16, 2005 - link

    Two dies as in tooling dies, are not referred to as dice. Dies is the correct word. The same applies to computer mouses. The plural for computer mouse is not computer mice, but computer mouses. Mice is a group of more than one animal, not more than one tool. I have thousands of dies here at work, and have worked around millions of dies, never once has anyone even suggested the use of the word dice for them.

    From dictionary.com -->
    die2 pl. dies or dice (ds)

    1. pl. dies - A device used for cutting out, forming, or stamping material, especially:
    1. An engraved metal piece used for impressing a design onto a softer metal, as in coining money.
    2. One of several component pieces that are fitted into a diestock to cut threads on screws or bolts.
    3. A part on a machine that punches shaped holes in, cuts, or forms sheet metal, cardboard, or other stock.

    4. A metal block containing small conical holes through which plastic, metal, or other ductile material is extruded or drawn.
    2. pl. dies Architecture. The dado of a pedestal, especially when cube-shaped.
    3. pl. dice
    1. A small cube marked on each side with from one to six dots, usually used in pairs in gambling and in various other games.
    2. dice (used with a sing. verb) A game of chance using dice.
    tr.v. died, die·ing, dies

    To cut, form, or stamp with or as if with a die.

    I don't care if AT gets it right or not as long as I can understand what they mean, but if we are going to discuss it, let's make sure we are correct.
    Reply
  • Zebo - Friday, November 18, 2005 - link

    I've made this correction before as well but Anand's not listening..that's alright he's the man. Reply

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