Showing the modchip installed into a powered up Xbox, most of the board space taken up by a small Pi Pico board. A wire taps into the motherboard, and a blue LED on the modchip is lit up.

An Open XBOX Modchip Enters The Scene

If you’ve ever bought a modchip that adds features to your game console, you might have noticed sanded-off IC markings, epoxy blobs, or just obscure chips with unknown source code. It’s ironic – these modchips are a shining example of hacking, and yet they don’t represent hacking culture one bit. Usually, they are more of a black box than the console they’re tapping into. This problem has plagued the original XBOX hacking community, having them rely on inconsistent suppliers of obscure boards that would regularly fall off the radar as each crucial part went to end of life. Now, a group of hackers have come up with a solution, and [Macho Nacho Productions] on YouTube tells us its story – it’s an open-source modchip with an open firmware, ModXO.

Like many modern modchips and adapters, ModXO is based on an RP2040, and it’s got a lot of potential – it already works for feeding a BIOS to your console, it’s quite easy to install, and it’s only going to get better. [Macho Nacho Productions] shows us the modchip install process in the video, tells us about the hackers involved, and gives us a sneak peek at the upcoming features, including, possibly, support for the Prometheos project that equips your Xbox with an entire service menu. Plus, with open-source firmware and hardware, you can add tons more flashy and useful stuff, like small LCD/OLED screens for status display and LED strips of all sorts!

If you’re looking to add a modchip to your OG XBOX, it looks like the proprietary options aren’t much worth considering anymore. XBOX hacking has a strong community behind it for historical reasons and has spawned entire projects like XBMC that outgrew the community. There’s even an amazing book about how its security got hacked. If you would like to read it, it’s free and worth your time. As for open-source modchips, they rule, and it’s not the first one we see [Macho Nacho Productions] tell us about – here’s an open GameCube modchip that shook the scene, also with a RP2040!

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How The Xbox Was Hacked

The millennium: a term that few had any use for before 1999, yet seemingly overnight it was everywhere. The turning of the millenium permeated every facet of pop culture. Unconventional popstars like Moby supplied electronica to the mainstream airwaves while audiences contemplated whether computers were the true enemy after seeing The Matrix. We were torn between anxiety — the impending Y2K bug bringing the end of civilization that Prince prophesied — and anticipation: the forthcoming release of the PlayStation 2.

Sony was poised to take control of the videogame console market once again. They had already sold more units of the original PlayStation than all of their competition combined. Their heavy cloud of influence over gamers meant that the next generation of games wasn’t going to start in until the PS2 was on store shelves. On the tail of Sony announcing the technical specs on their machine, rumors of a new competitor entering the “console wars” began to spread. That new competitor was Microsoft, an American company playing in a Japanese company’s game.
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Xbox 360 Slim Gets Gutted And… Painted White?

XBox in a Briefcase

We love portable console builds, and this one by [Daniel Fürstauer] is no exception. It’s a beautifully hacked Xbox 360 slim into an aluminum briefcase — complete with a screen and a full audio system!

He started by gutting the Xbox 360 slim and throwing out pretty much all of the original enclosure, minus the disc drive cover. Now what he did next was completely for aesthetics, but freaking awesome. He actually took the motherboard out, taped off some of the important components, and spray painted the entire thing white! We’re not too sure what effect this will have on some of the components, but it seems to work, and gives it a really unique look underneath his Plexiglas enclosure.

He housed the rest of it (complete with custom cooling fans!) inside of one of those nice aluminum briefcases, complete with a widescreen LCD monitor, and computer speakers. He even fit the power supply inside — all you have to do is plug it in! There’s also room for at least one controller, whose holding spot doubles as space for the disc drive to eject. Continue reading “Xbox 360 Slim Gets Gutted And… Painted White?”