Disassembling the Xbox 360 HDD unit

The Xbox 360's HDD unit only currently comes if you purchase the $399 Xbox 360 system. For those who purchase the core system, no hard drive is included. However, if you are interested in finding out just exactly what Microsoft has offered in terms of storage, the following are instructions on how to disassemble the Xbox 360's HDD module.

Start off by first removing the HDD unit from the Xbox 360 main console and lay it flat with the connector side facing upwards. You will see 3 screws. The 4th screw is located underneath the silver "Microsoft" sticker -- removing this sticker instantly voids your HDD unit's warranty.

Once you have removed all 4 screws, lift up the plastic cover while being careful that it is latched onto the button-release end of the unit. You'll want to be careful as not to pop the spring loaded button and lose the tiny spring.

Once open, you will see the 2.5" Serial ATA notebook hard drive encased in a metal shell. Lift off the cover of the protective shell by first removing the four black screws holding it down. To proceed further you will need to have a thin knife. The metal casing is attached to the plastic shell by a very strong adhesive, and to remove the actual hard drive from the housing, you must first pry off the plastic shell from the metallic HD casing. Simply insert a thin knife and slowly "saw" away at the adhesive. Shortly after you will be left with the following:

Once this is done, you can simply remove the attached Serial ATA data cable from the HD and slide out the drive.

Microsoft previously used a regular 3.5 inch desktop drive in the old Xbox but this time has chosen a smaller unit that is separate from the main console. We're quite certain that this move allows them to offer upgrades for those who want to add more storage capacity to their systems as upgrades become available. Currently, the HDD that ships with the Xbox 360 Premium package is a 20GB drive running at 5400RPM. The drive is manufactured by Samsung although it isn't listed on their website as it is an OEM drive for the Xbox 360. The drive itself uses a standard Serial ATA connector (both data cable and power cable) so attaching other drives or the Xbox 360 drive to a computer for data transfer is very possible.

Disassembling the Internals of the Xbox 360 Removing the Heatsinks from the Motherboard


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  • 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? Reply
  • 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. Reply
  • 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.
  • Penth - Thursday, November 17, 2005 - link

    In response to your second point, the XBox360 does include support for Windows Media center. That is my main point of interest as well. The latest update rollup for windows media center 2005 (was released just over a month ago) adds support for the xbox360. Notice in the picture of the remote it also has the green button. Reply

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