xbox HTPC

FrothyByte

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Murali: Yes you can do it through XBMC. In fact that is how I do it. XBMC has a nice file manager that can copy any files you want.


Joni Nitro: I agree that to someone new to this scene it can seem overwhelming.


Here is what you need to do and in this order:


1. Determine what version of xbox you have. -- This is critical because it will determine what version of mod chip to order. xbox-scene has a good tutorial on this.

2. Pick a mod chip.

2.1. Decide what features you want. -- This really is not an issue anymore due to the fact most all newer mod chips support just about any feature you will want or could think of.
2.2. Decide if you want solderless or not.
2.3. Pick the mod-chip that supports both the decision made in points 2.1 & 2.2 and the version of your xbox. xbox-scene has, or has a link to, a table of most mod chips and thier features.​

3. Order the mod chip. xbox-scene has a list of good reputable vendors for this.

4. Once you get the mod chip, install it. There are tutorials out there for probably all of them. I picked the Xecutor3 chip and on thier official web-site they had an excellent step-by-step walkthrough of the installation. -- READ THE INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY AND FULLY--

5. Find a BIOS. I can't tell you where, but search on xbox-scene for information on where to get software and it will be there too.

6. Install(Flash) the BIOS to the chip. (Mod chips do not come pre-flashed due to legal reasons).

6.1. My X3 chip supported multiple ways to flash the bios including: http, ftp, hard drive, CD/DVD. - I used http. Again the Xecutor web-site had a step-by-step for each of the different ways.​

7. In step 6, my xbox automatically restarted after a successful flash. If your's does not, restart the xbox and the mod should be enabled. Again with my X3 chip, it booted into the bios first where I could set the default dashboard and some other settings. Definitely configure your network settings to conform to your particular netowrk.

8. Decide which dashboard you want to use. If you don't understand what a 'Dashboard' is, then here is the definition when used in context of the xbox: "An operating system for a Microsoft X-Box." Think the green program that starts when you don't have a game in the DVD-ROM drive with a standard xbox.

8.1 Download whichever dashboard you decided on. (Again can't help you here due to legal reasons)
NOTE: XBMC can be used as a dashboard - Here is the XBMC manual

9. After network configuration is complete in step 7, reboot agian to get them to take effect.

9.1 Login via ftp (any ftp client will do)
9.2 Upload the dashboard to the root of the "C" directory you see in your ftp client.
9.3 Configure your bios to point to the dashboard you just uploaded.
9.4 Reboot again.​

10. Enjoy newly modded xbox goodness.


NOTES:

I: Software often has configuration files associated with them. Normally they are either .ini files or .xml files. Before looking elsewhere, be sure to check these files are configured correctly to your needed settings as they will be custom to your needs.

II: Most of the time you will need to sync up configuration files if they cover the same items.
ie. My dashboard (EvolutionX) has an ini file (evox.ini) that covers the network settings. At the same time XBMC has a .xml file and it also covers the same things. IF THESE ARE OUT OF SYNC THE SETTINGS WON'T BE THE SAME WHEN IN THE DASHBOARD VERSUS XBMC. The same thing applies for locations of copied games and applications.


Hope that helps.

If anyone has any suggestions for this post, please let me know and I can update it.

Edit1: changed formatting and added some links.
 

mutazx

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FrothyByte said:
Hope that helps.

If anyone has any suggestions for this post, please let me know and I can update it.
No suggestions, just a 'Good Job!'
 
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Fantastic info Frothy. I've been checking out xboxscene but its so hard to find anything on that site. Can anyone post some useful links? Thanks.
 

Joni Nitro

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thanks for that info. I understand all of this stuff, but it like going from Windows to Mac Os for the first time. You just dont know how to start.
 

Murali

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Does the hdd that I swap into the xbox need the 6 partitions or however many they have?
 

Murali

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I haven't actually done the mod myself (Just purchased a v 1.1 xBox off of eBay), but I've read up a TON on it to think I understand it... I'll try and answer any questions I can.
 

vxspiritxv

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Quick question, does the xbox (any version) have any problems reading dvd-rs? Like playstation?
 

Murali

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Won't play burned copys of games... Not sure if it'll play burned copies of movies.

To play burned copies of games, which I might add is illegal if you don't own the game itself, you need a mod chip.
 

vxspiritxv

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It doesn't have to be movies or games... I'm just asking in general, can it read dvd-rs? Like if I were to put all my cds to mp3s and dump them onto one dvd, will it read the dvdr?
 

n64man120

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Some brands are more reliable than others in reading, theres 3 different drives in xbox's, certain brands work alot better than others. I forget which are which specificly but xbox-scene.com sure knows. I have a 1.0 xbox and I've used a ton of different DVD-R's including no-name and they've all worked.
 

fore1337

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I followed Falc0's guide. Very clean very easy.
http://www.gamingsanctum.com/falc0/tutorial.html

There is a much better version of this guide posted in the Team Xecuter Forums (login required):
http://www.teamxecuter.com/forums/showthread.php?t=23685

From what I have read, the guys with version 1.0 and 1.1 Xboxes can use a software TSOP Flash... and basically mod their box for free (no chip required).


the X3 is totally worth it though.

XBMC pics:

Divx Matroska files look great!


here's an example of video over menu:
 

FrothyByte

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Murali said:
Does the hdd that I swap into the xbox need the 6 partitions or however many they have?
In my case, it did not need to be pre-partitioned.

My X3 bios supported adding a new HD.

Just backup the C and E partitions because the C is where your dashboard lives and E is where your game saves live.

Then replace the old HD with the new one and for me it was as simple as booting the xbox and my X3 bios automatically showed up because it couldn't find any dashboard on the HD. Then through the bios menu, i selected I wanted to replace the HD. The BIOS partitioned the HD automatically and then I copied my backed up C and E partitions into the new one and booted as usual. Everything worked like a charm. After that the F partition is your big partition.
 

JonnyB

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Mar 19, 2005
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I softmodded my xbox just to see what the hype was about, and soon thereafter I ended up adding a 120 gig hard drive to back up my games and such. Softmodding is essentially using a hacked savegame (Mechassault) to install Linux and then a dashboard... I use UnleashX as my main dash, XBMC as my multimedia app, and a handful of emulators. You don't need a mod chip to do anything, but to use a hacked savegame you'll need Action Replay and the game (Mechassault in my case). To install a bigger hard drive without a mod chip, I used a handy tool called Xbox HDM. You copy the files needed (eeprom, c:\, e:\) and burn them to the xbhdm cd, then use a pc to create the hard drive, and then lock the hard drive so the xbox can recognize it. Pop it right in and there ya go! I love my xbox and the amazing support of XBMC :D
 

Dr. X

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Is the xecuter3 modchip the one to go with? I have a v1.6 xbox (I believe) and was planning on modding it with this chip soon.
 

fore1337

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Dr. X said:
Is the xecuter3 modchip the one to go with? I have a v1.6 xbox (I believe) and was planning on modding it with this chip soon.
All of the X3ce chips now come with what they call the 1.6 LPC rebuild PCB. Basicly the kit works with versions 1.0-1.6 now. :D

I have a v1.4
 

Dr. X

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fore1337 said:
All of the X3ce chips now come with what they call the 1.6 LPC rebuild PCB. Basicly the kit works with versions 1.0-1.6 now. :D

I have a v1.4
So I can just buy the x3ce modchip without worrying about opening up my xbox to check? I did the serial thing and it says its a 1.6. Shit, I'll just order it now.
 

fore1337

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Dr. X said:
So I can just buy the x3ce modchip without worrying about opening up my xbox to check? I did the serial thing and it says its a 1.6. Shit, I'll just order it now.
Yeah I did the serial thing, and that determined that I had a v1.5 but according to the BIOS I actually have a v1.4.

Pretty much you're good to go. The only difference will be the version of BIOS you flash the X3 chip with. There's the regular x3 bios, or the x3_v1.6 bios (software).

I'm not sure if the Xapter3 (solderless adapter) supports the v1.6 though. you should look into that.
 

Dr. X

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Should I get the solderless one or the one you have to solder? I hear the one you have to solder is better.
 

FrothyByte

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It's like this, the connection you have with a solderless connection is like you setting a heavy object on the top of your car then driving away hoping it won't fall off. While this is pretty easy, there is still a risk you may loose the object, especially after a long time of driving. Soldering the connections would be the equivalent of bolting the object to the roof. While it takes a little bit of skill and effort, you surely don't worry that the object is going anywhere and it will be there for a long while.

The electrical connections are better also.

With all of this being said, I am not discounting the solderless connectors because I am sure they are of a high quality BUT if you want to make sure every connection is a good one, go the soldering route.

IF YOU HAVE NEVER DONE ANY SOLDERING and don't want to learn go the solderless route. It is quicker and easier.

If you have done any soldering on smaller equipment, you should have no problems doing the soldering that is needed to complete the mod.


********** DISCLAIMER **********​

Ultimately it comes down to YOU to decide which method is right for YOU and if YOU decide soldering is for YOU and FUBAR YOUR xbox please don't whine to US that YOUR xbox doesn't work.

The bottom line is this:
If you can't afford to live without your xbox and don't have the money to replace it, YOU SHOULDN'T BE MODDING IT.
 

cowbell

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lol I bought my xbox a year and a half ago after the price drop. I wouldn't have bought it if I could have mod it. Right when I bought it I opened it and modded it before I even played a game on it :D . Soldered the pins right onto the board. you don't need a fancy chip or the newest bios. I have an xecuter 2.3 or something just make sure you have a bios that supports drives bigger then 137gigs Ifyou plan on installing a bigger hard drive, I installed a 160gig games and anime mostly. I watch the rest of my movies and anime and tv shows streamed over my network and im building a 1.4TB server now because my other 2 160gig drives are full :p. u can use the Evolution dash or something and use xbmc as a program and launch it from the apps menue or you can use XBMC itself as the dash. www.xbox-scene.com is a good source for all the info you'll need. If you decide to go the soldering route just be careful so you don't fry your mobo those LPC holes are small :D. It will be the best mod you ever did good luck.
 

Retne

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Yeah I modded my xbox right when I got it as well. Have had this thing modded for a while now (running i think the xecuter 2.3 or 2.4 can't remember). I run evolution as my dash but I never got around to dropping XBMC on there. Just DVDXCopy and a couple other basic programs. Before I knew it xbits (if I remember the irc group correctly) changed locations on me and I can't find em. Could anyone PM me where they are at now or what the new equivilent(sp?) is? I've been dieing to drop a new HDD in and fix it up to run smoothly so I don't have to keep swapping games over the network lol.
 

fore1337

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Retne said:
Yeah I modded my xbox right when I got it as well. Have had this thing modded for a while now (running i think the xecuter 2.3 or 2.4 can't remember). I run evolution as my dash but I never got around to dropping XBMC on there. Just DVDXCopy and a couple other basic programs. Before I knew it xbits (if I remember the irc group correctly) changed locations on me and I can't find em. Could anyone PM me where they are at now or what the new equivilent(sp?) is? I've been dieing to drop a new HDD in and fix it up to run smoothly so I don't have to keep swapping games over the network lol.
Just hit the IRC on the EFNET servers and visit #xbins
everything from there is cake.

What's the best dash to use? I'm running Evo-X... but I've heard good things about other dashes. Can anyone make a reccomendation?
 

Dr. X

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I have soldered before, small stuff, but nothing onto a pcb. Is the technique any different?
 

FrothyByte

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Dr. X said:
I have soldered before, small stuff, but nothing onto a pcb. Is the technique any different?
no, not really.

Hit up xbox-scene for the tuts on soldering.
 

vxspiritxv

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Ordered a X3CE yesterday, as soon as it comes, ill go out and buy my first xbox. Allready got all the needed stuff from the xbins channel. Tho still need to read up on getting a stage1 install of gentoo on the box. :D
 

NOL1M1TMAN

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I just soft modded my box i think its great i Have EvoX dash on there and XBMC can stream mp3s and videos right offa my fileserver. Best 30 bucks i ever spent. (For the memcard and usb reader for softmod)
 

omega-x

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softmod, avalaunch front end, then xbmc. 80gb HDD.

its a VERY nice setup

btw, whoever posted a screenshot of the gits:sac intro. nice ;)
 

fore1337

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I need to replace my Xbox Power Switch Assembly.
I accidentally smoked it last night while powering up a new X3 chip. (dumbass out of sequence move)

I can still use the Eject button to power up... and even though the X3 chip fizzled a bit, it's now flashed and fully operational.

I can't find any retailers online selling these things. Does anyone know where I can pick one up? If worse comes to worse, I'll have to rig a PC power switch.. but I like the ascetics of the Xbox Hardware.

Maybe I should check digikey for microswitches?

edit:
Found one here: http://secure.llamma.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=26&products_id=51
 

Yaka

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damn lucky thats all you messed up, i naffed the mobo up when i tried installing the x3 me self
 

|NOLAFF|-JD

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a modded Xbox as a HTPC is awesome. From a gaming and media center standpoint it's really hard to beat considering the price. Only thing it lacks is recording and HD. Other than that it really is great due to the XBMC which is open source, updated all the time, and just plain kick ass!
 
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