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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  • LoneWolf15 - Friday, November 18, 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.

    According to what I've read, that's support for a Windows Media Center PC attatched to it, not the ability to run Windows Media Center.. That's not really what I want. I want to be able to hook the thing up to a TV, insert a CD or DVD with DivX content on it, and just play back that way. Still not clear if I can do that.
  • Ecmaster76 - Wednesday, November 16, 2005 - link

    I demand further disassemblage of the DVD!

    Check and see if it is a single chip SATA logic or a bridged soulution please. If its the former, I predict a surge in availability of cheap, (oem?) SATA DVD-ROMs.

    Which is good news for people who like cable management or own a newer Intel mothernoard.
  • Xenoterranos - Thursday, November 17, 2005 - link

    I was dissapointed in the RAM being soldered to the board. I was looing forward to ramming a couple gig-sticks in there. Reply
  • Griswold - Thursday, November 17, 2005 - link

    Open case - ramm a couple sticks in - close case - shake it - done. Reply
  • Googer - Wednesday, November 16, 2005 - link

    I went to my local Worst Buy and played call of duity 2. The graphics were cr*p with no anti-aliasing. If this is any indication of what to expect from this console then PC games and their players should have little to worry about. Reply
  • dj 315 - Wednesday, November 16, 2005 - link

    Still it seems most have been set up incorrectly Reply
  • nyquistcapital - Wednesday, November 16, 2005 - link

    Thanks for the close up shot of the South Bridge device. Can you provide more close ups of the 208PQFP directly above the GPU, and the other component to the left of the GPU, past the 2x DDR.

    Really cool stuff guys!
  • lymz - Wednesday, November 16, 2005 - link

    The capacitors in the pictures look an awful lot like the ones that Dell and Apple are having problems with. Perhaps something worth investigating... Reply
  • kilkennycat - Wednesday, November 16, 2005 - link

    Seems as if a fan failure (or blockage of the inlet air passage) could potentially cause catastrophic failure of the critical silicon without effective thermal protection.

    Anand, Kris, Tuan:-

    Any idea of the nature and effectiveness of the thermal protection -- or wanna carry out a potentially destructive test by blocking up the inlet air on your presumably-rare Xbox360? An important issue for the TYPICAL technically-naive purchaser of the Xbox360, who is likely to be very careless about the Xbox360 ventilation and certainly will forget to regularly clear the inlet air-holes of sticky crud and junk. And what about the close-packed-finned heat-sink on the CPU? Such heat sinks on PC CPUs fill up completely with lint after about 6-9 months in a typical home environment. The Xbox360 is DELIBERATELY built to be non-user accessible for cleaning or any other purpose. A very big mistake. The internal air-duct should have been built on to a user-removable cover to expose the heat-sinks and fans for routine cleaning. I have had my share of cleaning out PCs that have become completely blocked up with crud, the first obvious symptom being erratic shut-down of the CPU by the motherboard thermal protection. The Xbox360 dissipates a lot of power in the core silicon --- much more than the old Xbox.

    At present, I highly recommend taking a 2-year extended replacement warranty on the Xbox360, so that WHEN ( not IF) the heat-sinks fill up with junk (or the fans fail) and the box begins to function erratically, the owner can get a brand-new one :-) :-) :-)
  • fuzzynavel - Wednesday, November 16, 2005 - link

    Thanks for the article....shame slash-dot has killed your bandwidth!!

    Seems like a good point about overheating...maybe worth waiting till 65nm chips start showing up...won't get one in the UK till way after christmas anyway!!(haven't pre-ordered)

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