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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  • 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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