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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  • PrinceGaz - Friday, November 18, 2005 - link

    Just google "cpu dies" - although you get some hits about dead processors, there are many more abot processor manufacturing, more than you get by googling "cpu dice" (the vast majority of those are to do with random number generation).

    The correct trm for more than one CPU die is "dies".
  • KristopherKubicki - Sunday, November 20, 2005 - link

    CPU "die" is called that because the CPU is cut from silicon in a specific term called "dicing". "Dice" is in fact the correct word.

    Just because I had nothing better to do this weekend besides beat Kameo in 10 hours, I put together an etymology of all words related to "Die". I'll put that on a website sometime in the near future.

  • yacoub - Monday, November 21, 2005 - link

    That makes little sense. You dice food but you don't call the resulting piece(s) "die" or "dice". However, a processor is made from a die (remember die-cast metal cars when you were a kid?), and if you have more than one of that type of die, you have dies. Even the Google search comparison between "dies" and "dice" confirms that to be true.
  • akugami - Thursday, November 17, 2005 - link

    Anandtech with a comic from www.gucomics.com about their xbox 360 article.
  • yacoub - Thursday, November 17, 2005 - link

    As with the last article here that did this, you want "dies" not "dice".

    simply pull the heatsinks off to reveal the GPUs (two dice on the chip)
  • yacoub - Thursday, November 17, 2005 - link


    332 million transistor GPU is split into two separate dice,

    "Dice" are only in gambling. You want "dies".
  • yacoub - Thursday, November 17, 2005 - link

    pl. dies A device used for cutting out, forming, or stamping material, especially:
    An engraved metal piece used for impressing a design onto a softer metal, as in coining money.
    One of several component pieces that are fitted into a diestock to cut threads on screws or bolts.
    A part on a machine that punches shaped holes in, cuts, or forms sheet metal, cardboard, or other stock.
    A metal block containing small conical holes through which plastic, metal, or other ductile material is extruded or drawn.

    pl. dies Architecture. The dado of a pedestal, especially when cube-shaped.

    pl. dice
    A small cube marked on each side with from one to six dots, usually used in pairs in gambling and in various other games.
    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.
  • yacoub - Thursday, November 17, 2005 - link


    On a smaller manufacturing process, the dice could be unified,

    DIES. DIES DIES DIES. Yarrr...
  • yacoub - Thursday, November 17, 2005 - link

    The worst part is people reading the article who've never heard it used like that before (because it's wrong) are going to think you've got it right and will start saying it.
  • xbdestroya - Thursday, November 17, 2005 - link

    Seriously, is grammar commentary the extent of your thoughts on the article?

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