Modern PC Crammed Into An Original Xbox

When the original Microsoft Xbox was released in 2001, one of the most notable features of its design was that it used a number of off-the-shelf computer components. Inside contemporary offerings from Nintendo and Sony you’ll see almost nothing but proprietary components, whereas cracking open the Xbox reveals an IDE hard drive, a customized PC DVD-ROM drive, and an Intel Pentium III CPU. Depending on which team you were on, the Xbox’s close relation to PC hardware of the day was either a point of honor or ridicule in the early 2000’s console wars; but regardless of politics, it ended up being instrumental in all of the hacks and mods the console got over its lifetime.

In that light, [P8ntBal1551] managing to jam a modern computer into the shell of an Xbox is like having the last laugh in this nearly two-decade-old debate. Wanting to build an HTPC that wouldn’t look out of place in his entertainment center, he figured the Xbox would make a suitable home for his Intel 4460 powered build. Not to say it was easy: getting all of the hardware and associated wiring inside the case took a bit of cheating, but the end result looks good enough that we’ll give him a pass.

The key to this project is the 3D printed structure inside the Xbox’s case that holds everything together. Painstakingly designed to align all of his components and cooling fans, it took over 58 hours to print just the base plate alone on his CR-10.

Even with all of his primary components installed, [P8ntBal1551] still had to wrestle with an absolute rat’s nest of wiring. He couldn’t find smaller versions of a number of the cables he needed, so he had to resort to some creative wire management to get everything packed in there. In the end, there was simply too much gear for the Xbox’s case to legitimately fit, so he ended up printing a spacer to fit between the bottom and top halves. Though in the end even this worked out in his favor, as it gave him a place to mount the integrated FLIRC IR receiver without having to cut a hole in the original front panel. The end product looks close enough to stock to be almost unnoticeable to the casual observer.

Its been a while since we’ve seen a hack for Microsoft’s original black and green monster, most of the Xbox projects we see are in relation to its significantly more popular successor. It’s always nice to see people keeping the classics alive in their own way.

[via /r/pcmasterrace]

19 thoughts on “Modern PC Crammed Into An Original Xbox

  1. “Depending on which team you were on, the Xbox’s close relation to PC hardware of the day was either a point of honor or ridicule in the early 2000’s console wars”

    It did liven up the “is it live, or is it Memorex” debate.

  2. 58 hours? What settings could possibly make it take so long? Was he running 100% infill, 100 micron, and a slow speed? I just don’t get why I see people with these molasses slow prints…..

  3. Nice “rebuild”, but that’s some large hardware for the solution. Not sure what the expectation is for this HTPC, but I have a friend that built his last HTPC in an old hardcover copy of Moby Dick, including the 2TB SSD (he has about 15 classic novels between bookends below his flat screen so his “case” is invisible). Nearly 3 of those would fit in an XBOX shell.

    1. that ratsnest is something else. i would have gone out of my way to reduce the cabling nightmare. i know with my mini-itx rig i had to make several custom cables and a custom 3d printed drive cage just to simplify cable management (future builds will run m.2). any wire that was too long either got shortened or replaced with something shorter (like the 6″ sata cables i ordered), or just got eliminated. i made sure all my input devices were bluetooth so i could avoid multiple wireless dongles for every gadget i own.

  4. I know this is a couple years old, but I’m actually the creator of this and I just ran into this article. The reason it took so long was because I wanted it to be as re-buildable/update-able as possible while not messing with the case as much as possible. I was also inexperienced with 3d printing, so I didn’t optimize it too much.

    I printed the backplane about 2 or 3 cm off the bottom of the case with a couple legs going down, which meant that the printer had to print support for the entire backplane. I also printed it at 0.01mm layer height because I wanted this to be perfect, as it was the instigating reason to buy the printer.

  5. I’m actually the creator of this, and just stumbled across this article. There are a few reasons it’s so bulky.

    1 – I was buying the pieces slowly and second hand. I was going through Uni when I bought most of them, so I couldn’t afford a lot of newer/smaller stuff.

    2 – I wanted a full video card, not onboard.

    3 – I didn’t want to hard mod anything (aside from the case). This actually helped me, because the first video card was a dud, which I had to get RMAd

    4 – I wanted an on-board PSU. I wanted to be able to bring it to a friends house without having to remember the power cable.

  6. I am the original creator of this project and just stumbled across this article. I’m answering questions in the comments.

    Originally I wanted to. As stated in another comment, I wanted to hard mod the computer as little as possible. If I didn’t mind that, I would have cut cables and chopped up the gpu. Also, I would have put in a custom water cooling set up, but I was on a tight budget. The video card is a single slot 1050ti, and at the time I built it, there wasn’t anything that good that was a half height card.

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