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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  • yacoub - Thursday, November 17, 2005 - link

    Considering they were corrected by someone else in a previous article about "dies/dice" and are still making the same mistake, it's important to make sure they fix it this time before it becomes a permanent fixture of this site.

    And yes, that's really all I thought was worthy of mentioning. The review is pretty cool.
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Thursday, November 17, 2005 - link

    According to Microsoft and Intel, the plural of 'die' when referring to a CPU die, is 'dice'.

    Microsoft's internal documentation talking about the Xbox 360 also refers to the ATI Xenos GPU as having two dice.

    I am waiting for responses on other chip makers to make sure that the correct form of the word is dice.

    Take care,
  • gamigin - Thursday, November 17, 2005 - link


    Do you have any evidence to back up the following quote in spite of game developers claiming otherwise?

    "game developers shouldn't run into capacity limitations on Xbox 360 discs anytime soon"

    BTW, the plural of a manufacturing die is dies. If Microsoft or Intel said dice, then they are just wrong.
  • Phantronius - Thursday, November 17, 2005 - link

    Who are you, my fucking English teacher?
  • yacoub - Thursday, November 17, 2005 - link

    Very interesting! Thanks for taking the time to respond, Anand.

    I wouldn't be surprised if it simply slipped through marketing department editing, considering dictionary.com is saying it should be "dies". "Dice" is normally only ever for the six-sided tools of chance/gambling.

    If they're creating a new use for the term, that in itself would be pretty noteworthy as well.
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Thursday, November 17, 2005 - link

    Well the term dice is what the CPU architects use, so I don't think it's a marketing/PR mishap.

    Take care,
  • gamigin - Thursday, November 17, 2005 - link

    Most CPU architects certainly do not use the term "dice" as the plural to a manufacturing die.

    It's probably the same Microsoft guys who standardized the non-word "canonicalize"
  • Kilim - Thursday, November 17, 2005 - link

    Ah dude, are you saying that "normal" dice are only for six sided dice? Ohhhh, someone is trying to get the D&D guys to start flaming him, lol. =p.
  • linuxOwnzIfUrLeet - Thursday, November 17, 2005 - link

    I lost the link to the mod chip can someone post?
  • LoneWolf15 - Thursday, November 17, 2005 - link

    1) If I buy the cheaper XBox360, how easy is it to add my own notebook hard disk later if I want it? Would have been very useful to know, and wasn't made clear.
    2) Media playback compatibility info --I'm sure the unit can play DVD's, and probably MP3's, but can it play DivX content? Xvid? MPEG-4 or HD WMV? These would be good things to know. A video game console has moderate usefulness to me; a video game console with broad media playback capabilities far more so.

    Finally, a comment to Microsoft: If the Xbox360 had Media Center compatibility (read: PVR), I'd have bought it in a heartbeat without having to think about it. It would be the perfect home theater convergence device. It's really too bad this wasn't an option.

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