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games, games, games...

Bill_Loguidice

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If you're asking can you approximate the basic setup of the Xbox without being in any way compatible, then the answer is "yes, of course" (you'd have to run something like Windows or Linux on it, of course). If you're asking "can I build my own Xbox?", then the answer is "no, of course not". Besides the proprietary OS and condensed design configuration, there are subtle differences like the proprietary form of USB used for the controller ports and many, many other things that make such an endeavor impossible. Again, if your concern is your Xbox breaking, which is as likely as any other modern console, then the simple answer is is that with the right skills you can replace things like the optical and hard drives yourself, which is likely all that would ever break. Certain games may refuse to run if you modify it and you'll be banned from Xbox Live most likely depending on what gets changed, but those are different issues.

Again, when you can buy new, boxed systems for not too far over $100 and refurbs and used for less than $100, what's the point?
 

Chris2005

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oi are the parts on the mobo the same as on any pc boards out there. You can plug a standard usb mouse and keyboard (at least) into it, presumably any usb device, and run them under linux, so I'm not concerned with the subtle differences. Yes there's a minor hack to it.
I'm not looking to approximate anything, just want a line on parts. If I can't fix it (i.e. if the stuph it's made of is too proprietary) I lose interest.
The point is I like to fix things, and have the ability to. As long as I can get the parts ;).
 

atari2600a

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Hey, I got a friend who runs an HTTP, FTP, CS:S, & Ventrilo (VoiP) on his modded, Linux-running xBox, SIMUTANIOUSLY. Never underestimate the power of underground hacking communities! :p

(I've also seen a DS w/ GPS :p)
 

Bill_Loguidice

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No one is denying that the Xbox can't be hacked - every console can and has. The point is, you can't build your own. End of story. Not a big deal really. If you want to "roll your own", you don't want a console, unless it's one of those "build your own" like the XGameStation.
 

Chris2005

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I'm of the slight persuasion that we have a communication problem. No one suggested building an Xbox. I don't recall seeing that proposition anywhere. And I can't imagine why someone would want to try. Though I did ask:

a) can all of most of the chips be substituted with ic's found on clone motherboard's common to it's era

b) can Xbox games be run on a PC. Someone kind of sort of indicated this a while back in probably yahoo chat or something.

It's really nice when you can find spare parts for things. Are we not in a vintage forum? What will someone do if their Amiga 1000 or IBM PEECEE blows up? Are they going to simply look to replace it? It would make more sense to try to fix it, or find someone who could. The Xbox ain't yet vintage, but just the same, instead of chucking it, why not try and fix it. If you've never desoldered an ic, or simply unplugged one and changed it, frankly you're missing out. But it's not as hard as you think.
 

carlsson

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a) No, because an Xbox contains custom chips and is not a IBM PC compatible.
b) Maybe via emulation, and perhaps a bit of the emulation can be done by letting through code to the host CPU instead of emulating the CPU.

Sure, to some degree you can repair a broken Apple II, Amiga 1000 or Xbox. Some simpler gates (74LSxx), resistors, capacitors etc are given. Some integrated chips still exist, or pin-compatible replacements. Some can be emulated with a GAL chip, while others, in particular more analogue operating custom chips, may be impossible to obtain other than from another broken machine of the same type.
 

Chris2005

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I still say most of the chips are somewhat common. I remember it being compared to a ROTM mobo of it's day. I'm not saying everything can be found out there...just most of it. Nevermind anyway. Icaramba.
 

Bill_Loguidice

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I still say most of the chips are somewhat common. I remember it being compared to a ROTM mobo of it's day. I'm not saying everything can be found out there...just most of it. Nevermind anyway. Icaramba.

If you can find evidence of that, I'm sure we'd love to hear it. Even if as much as an extremely optimistic 60% of it were user replaceable parts, I don't see what good it would do you anyway. You can replace the optical and hard drives if need be, and the power supply is external, so I really don't see what else you'd want to swap out in case of failure. Frankly, if anything else failed, it would be easier just to get a new system than try to track down custom chips. In that regard, it's just like every other console ever, with fairly select replaceable parts. It also seems moot on a sub-$100 (refurb or used) or just over $100 product (new). You can buy a spare machine, even non-working (even cheaper), just for parts to put into the good machine. Also, it's not like this is a niche product. You're talking about something that has sold in the tens of millions and counting, ensuring they will be in the supply chain (eBay, flea markets, whatever) for at least the next 30 years or so.
 

Chris2005

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I guess you're of the persuasion it's bad to fix something. It started out as a question, and I was obviously looking for some response. But why someone again and again has to tell me it's such a bad idea I'm at a loss to explain. I don't actually own a copy of Hacking the Xbox, and my guess is that's where I obtained most of the info about it.
It's often a good idea to dig down deep into something, and many times this happens when you have to fix it. If you're not so disposed that's your affair. But personally I'm not timid about cracking open anything. Often that leads to alot more questions then you had to begin with, but those are often the ones that need to be answered.
 

Bill_Loguidice

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No one is arguing, no one is dissuading, all I was trying to say, as were others, is that you really can't fix consoles to the same degree you can PC's, and since even the Xbox is full of custom components, the best bet is to get a spare if you so badly want to fix something that you seem to fervently believe will break. I don't see what you're having an issue with. We talked about the parts that could break and are easy to replace, we talked about some of the custom components, we talked about some of the ways around trying to find parts you can't find (because they're only in Xbox's), etc. Am I missing something that you're upset about? We all seem to have covered everything possible regarding this. Yes, it's wonderful to fix stuff, but as has been made abundantly clear throughout this discussion, there are limits in the console world unless you are working off of a spare identical unit!
 

Chris2005

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who said I was even upset? And alot of my thinking (when it comes to vintage computers anyway) is how to work around parts that aren't commonly available. And the Xbox is a shining example of how people found workarounds. Granted not generally concerning the hardware, but even that was done by the dude at MIT.
You simply had to state at least twice you didn't see why someone would bother. Well...I might feel like bothering. You also made assumptions about what I was trying to do, and you were way off. All this makes for a convoluted thread. A little perturbing, but I wouldn't call it upsetting.
As a general rule I do get a little peeved when someone presumes to give their opinions rather then answer the questions. If you don't have any valuable information, it's best not to answer. I have my own opinions, I don't need anyone else's. Unless of course I simply asked for one...
 

Bill_Loguidice

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If you're not interested in a typical forum discussion, then why do you bother even posting? That's what this is for. You don't have to like the answers or bother to respond back. If someone misinterpreted what you were asking, perhaps you didn't ask it as clearly as you could have. Could that possibly be it too?
 

Chris2005

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"If you're not interested in a typical forum discussion, then why do you bother even posting?"

Gracious Me I haven't got a ****ing clue.

"That's what this is for. You don't have to like the answers or bother to respond back."

No, I shouldn't bother to respond when someone repeats their own opinion twice. Why do you bother posting Bill? Just so you can get my blood pressure up? I really have wonder about your motives too. And that's not what this is for, though so often it is the case with online chats. It's for exchanging information (generally), not hammering someone with your opinions.

"If someone misinterpreted what you were asking, perhaps you didn't ask it as clearly as you could have. Could that possibly be it too?"

Well I'm going to venture a guess that you were the only one who surmised that I wanted to build an Xbox from scratch. Oi someone lock this friggin thread already!
 

mbbrutman

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Hi guys. Timeout

I'm not locking the thread to prevent you from flaming each other. Not flaming other people is your job. But if it ever came to a cage match, I'm betting on Bill.


Back on topic ..

My consoles are entirely user servicable, and they include schematics. Parts are getting harder to find though. And they are kind of big .. 2 to 300lbs per, and standing 6 feet tall. And they only play one game a piece ..
 

mbbrutman

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For the kind of money I've got invested I should be able to show off once in a while. :)

It's a joy working on the old iron. They were designed to be serviced, so they come with schematics and full documentation. The components are generally off-the-shelf TTL parts.

For example, the Williams Defender is based on the 6502 CPU, which was used in the KIM-1, Apple ][, C64, etc. The memory chips are old crusty 4116s. Code is stored on PROMs, and a simple CMOS memory stores the configuration and high score list. Defender is actually a two CPU machine - one CPU does nothing but sound, and the other does everything else. Designing a multi-processor for a game is quite extraordinary.

Joust is even more complex .. Four 6502s.

The Atari games are wonderful too, but for different reasons. Asteroids and BattleZones are conventional computers, but their vector display is representative of a technology that is long since gone. The displays shared a lot in common with FAA RADAR scopes, and even those have been upgraded to newer technology over the years. You can't emulate or replace a vector display with something else ..

If you look at them as computers, they are fascinating.
 
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