Xbox (console)

The Xbox is a gaming console developed by Microsoft, which is based largely on slightly modified PC components. Her successor, the Xbox 360


The success of Sony, Nintendo and Sega encouraged Microsoft in the late 1990s, to bring even a game console on the market. The Xbox belongs to the same generation of consoles such as the Sony PlayStation 2, the Nintendo GameCube or the Sega Dreamcast. In the Sega Dreamcast could already gain experience with the Microsoft Windows CE supplied by Microsoft, Microsoft had further experience can bring to the Windows games interface DirectX. So it was only a small step, a PC-based components console with its own operating system based on the Windows NT architecture to develop.

The name " Xbox " was composed of the internal working title "box" and the interface " DirectX ". Actually intended only as an internal name, he was then the official name of the first game console from Microsoft.

The Xbox was then released in Europe first on 15 November 2001 in the USA on 22 February 2002 in Japan and on March 14, 2002. The launch titles were, inter alia, Halo: Combat Evolved, Amped: Freestyle Snowboarding, Dead or Alive 3, Project Gotham Racing, and Oddworld: Munch 's Oddysee.

In Germany, the Xbox was offered at sales launch for € 479, not even the price six weeks later was reduced to 299 €, a little later to 249 €. In August 2004, the Xbox eventually cost € 149, which corresponded to the price of the PlayStation 2 competitor Sony. To production and delivery end in November 2006, the Xbox in Germany was sold in many shops for 99 €. At the same time asked many game manufacturer, the production of games for the Xbox and only developed for the follow-up console Xbox 360

By the end of 2005, some 21.9 million Xbox units have been sold worldwide, but only about 1.8 million of them in the entire Asia - Pacific region. How much is the sales of the Xbox after the release of the successor of Xbox 360 were never announced by Microsoft for marketing reasons.

On 2 March 2009, Microsoft discontinued support for the Xbox.

Technical details

The architecture of the Xbox is not very different from that of an ordinary PC.

The hardware data in detail:

  • Overall system performance: 13.0 gigaflops
  • CPU: Intel Mobile Celeron ( Coppermine core) with 733 MHz and 133 MHz Front Side Bus. Performance data from Microsoft: 1,466 gigaflops.
  • Memory: 64 MB DDR RAM 200 MHz.
  • Cache bandwidth of 6.4 GB per second. Uses the TwinBank -memory architecture from Nvidia.
  • With 200 MHz clocked Southbridge.
  • DVD: Modified drives the brands Samsung, Hitachi / LG, Phillips and Thomson
  • Graphic: For the chipset integrated GeForce 3- core " NV2A " from Nvidia with 233 MHz and a maximum resolution of 1920 × 1080 pixels, two rendering and four texture units and a pixel and two vertex shader
  • Audio: In the chipset integrated audio chip with Dolby Digital 5.1 encoder, 256 votes, more than 64 3D voices
  • Interface: AV output, Ethernet-10/100-Mbit/s-Port, four controller ports
  • 3.5 -inch hard drive from Western Digital ( 8 GB) or Seagate ( 10GB )

The Xbox is relatively large and heavy (3,4 kg), since the power supply is built into the console. The sales start came with the device controller was also comparatively bulky and therefore not particularly suitable for smaller hands. Because of this, Microsoft released a smaller controller, the " Xbox Controller S", in the offer, which was eventually incorporated as the official controller in the delivery of the Xbox.

The game Enter the Matrix, or Atari Anthology for Xbox were so developed with HDTV support with a resolution of 1080i and 5.1 sound. Overall, there are only 12 games support either 720p or 1080i. In Germany, the HDTV output - not supported - as in all countries with the TV standard PAL. The HDTV output is thus limited to NTSC consoles. The audio is encoded in real-time from the audio chip in Dolby Digital.

Xbox - Linux

With custom-built Linux distributions ( eg Gentoox or Xebian ) a full-fledged computer with keyboard and mouse is (a special USB adapter required ) from the game console such as any PC can be operated and is Internet-enabled by the network card. Since the four controller sockets use the USB communication protocol, can be operated via an adapter cable normal USB devices to these ports.


Since the release of the Xbox, there is a very large community that deal with the modification of the Xbox, both in functionality and in appearance, busy. This allows the functionality of the device can be greatly expanded. This is done either through the use of a modchip or by using a softmod (see below). By these modifications unsigned program code can be loaded. Thus, the user can access a wide range of applications, such as emulators, media players, porting of known PC games, file manager, web browser and alternative dashboards. Even Linux can be used on the Xbox. Almost all applications are programmed with the Xbox Development Kit ( XDK ).


There are numerous Xbox mod chips that allow you to run unsigned code on an Xbox. They differ in the scope of delivery, with the features and the price. Starting with the cheapest modchips, the Aladdin chips, up to the high-end chips, such as Xecuter3 or SmartXX V3. A retooling of the hard disk is very easy for an Xbox with the chip.

Some modchips are recorded with an alternate bios. They are available for legal reasons not free on the Internet.

Chips, however, as SmartXX or Xchanger have its own operating system and are using BIOS arbitrary choice playable.

Most chips have to be soldered, there are modchips that need only be plugged. There are, however, in some cases, contact problems, which lead to malfunction and in extreme cases can damage the motherboard of the Xbox. At the last Xbox version 1.6 also have five bridges are made on the motherboard (rebuild LPC). Thus, the light soldering a pin strip is no longer possible. Adapter boards around this problem by establishing the necessary connections through a board so that no individual wire connections must be soldered. Furthermore, there are also chips that are " stuck " with a double- sided adhesive pad easy on the LPC port. The only thing that needs to be soldered here, is a bridge to enable the chip.


A cost-effective alternative to chip installation is the software modification ( softmod ), in which one uses a modified game, then install an alternative software and can operate. This needs to the hardware of the Xbox to be changed or nothing soldered. The possibilities that arise, are identical with those of a modchip, but for example, the installation of a larger hard drive a little more difficult to realize.

Xbox softmod was made possible by the published on 4 July 2003 " Free-X exploit". A group that calls itself as copy - researchers found that some Xbox games have security holes and took this out in order to execute arbitrary code on the console can actually protected. The load files of the Xbox system are checked by the internally stored SHA1 hash value before they can actually be loaded. For audio and font files that is not the case that came through the Free-X Exploit to light.

The most common reaction, this exploit is the so-called " Ernie & Bert hack ". In this two font files have been replaced by special files ( ernie.xtf and bert.xtf ). These files contain code that causes an integer underflow and thus makes it possible to run unauthorized code into the security system of the Xbox over.

There are currently three Xbox titles with which such Score hacks are applicable: Splinter Cell, 007 Agent Under Fire and MechAssault.

Alternatively, it is also possible to execute unauthorized code by the hard drive of the Xbox during operation - ( Hot swapping ) connects to a PC - contrary to the IDE specifications and with the risk of a defect in the hardware. This is necessary because the Xbox hard drive provides switching off with a lock that can only be unlocked by entering the stored in the flash memory, individual password.


The so-called " TSOP flash " of the original memory block is overwritten with an alternative BIOS. These soldering is required to disable the write protection. A particular advantage over a pure softmod is that you can " flash TSOP " can replace the original BIOS of the XBOX with a modified BIOS at and so, for example, can fit a larger hard drive without any trouble. " TSOP " stands for " Thin Small Outline Package " and refers to only the housing construction of the memory device.

New opportunities


Since the architecture of the Xbox is not very different from that of a PC, it is possible, some already available for the PC emulators modify them so that they can also be run on the Xbox. Thus, in 2600 with more recent consoles like the Sony PlayStation or the handheld console Game Boy Advance are emulated in addition to traditional systems such as the Apple II or Atari.

In addition, various variants of the ScummVM emulator, which allows classic LucasArts adventures such as exist Monkey Iceland or Maniac Mansion to play with the Xbox controller. Even the free x86 emulator DOSBox, with many old DOS games can be played, was ported to the Xbox. Likewise, there are different variants of the MAME project with which you can emulate many arcade titles.


A modified via modchip or softmod Xbox can be converted with programs such as Xbox Media Center to a multimedia device. The software enables the Xbox to play all file formats that dominated the MPlayer. These include, among other things, Divx, Xvid, WMV, MOV, H.264 and MPG.

Furthermore, can be played in this manner DVDs and music files, and display images on TV. These possibilities can be used from the Internet using either the local disk, via the local network or via stream.

In conjunction with the " Xbox DVDKit " (IR - remote control plus USB receiver ), the Xbox is often used as a multimedia center in living room.

Case Modding

The when pc users get popular Casemodding ( changing the housing by light sources, paint, etc.). Was also among Xbox owners very fast followers. In the network are circulating instructions on how one can beautify his Xbox in many different ways, from a so-called " port lighting," where small LEDs are used in the controller ports and soldered to complex housing works.

Some modchips also have connections for an external display. This allows the external appearance of the Xbox from commercially available CD / DVD players converge.

Game situation

End of the on-line support

On April 15, 2010 Microsoft discontinued the support of the Xbox. With the end of the Xbox Live service are neither games nor hardware of the first generation of devices continue to be supported. This is true even if the games run on the Xbox 360.

Purchaser of the game Halo 2 as compensation a three-month gold membership, the opportunity to participate in the beta test of Halo: Reach, as well as 400 MS points.