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Xbox Modding (Part 1) - What You Need to Know

By: Julian Shapiro | Editorials in Gaming | Posted: Jan 13, 2004 5:00 am

How a Mod chip Works


All this talk about mod chips and modding, and we haven't even gotten to the core of the technology behind the darned things! Fortunately for us, their methods of operation are rather straightforward: Simply put, they work by replacing the Xbox's onboard BIOS. An Xbox is virtually a slightly-modified computer; it contains all the default components one would find in their generic desktop PC: A harddrive, RAM, CPU, motherboard, DVD-ROM and even USB ports! Therefore, seeing as how the technology is non-proprietary, it would produce rather hassle-free environment for an enthusiast to modify and tweak the Xbox's innards in order to get more scalability, improved performance, and enhanced features out of their gaming consoles.




As mentioned previously, once the mod chip is enabled it replaces the Xbox's on-board BIOS, provided so kindly by Microsoft. Using a modified BIOS allows the mod chip to fool the Xbox into thinking it is something it is not - enabling a consumer to swap his or her Xbox harddrive for a larger one, and most importantly: Playing backed up games. Additionally, with the aid of a mod chip, you are given the full ability to install third party, open source software - including popular operating systems. By bypassing Microsoft's strict BIOS, not only can one install various Linux distributions (i.e. Gentoox and Debian) but they are granted the ability to completely manipulate and manoeuvre their purchased Xbox games.


Publicly available for anyone to download, is a heavily modified version of the popular Linux distribution, Gentoox, which enables one to turn their Xbox into an all-out Linux machine. We're talking web browsing, full-form typing and even onboard server hosting - all while keeping the ability to play your "backed-up" games. Unfortunately, we will not be covering the Linux aspect of an Xbox software modification in this particular article, but keep posted for a second part of this article (estimated release of late January) covering that entire issue.


The number one reason a gamer (or general consumer alike) purchases a mod chip is for the desirable ability to play their backed-up games. We're talking about retail titles they've supposedly copied onto their computer (only achievable by FTPing into your Xbox with the aid of a mod chip) and backed-up onto a DVD using a DVD-Recorder. Not only are you given this ability with a mod chip, but you're also able to store your games onto your Xbox's hard drive - and this treat is only made more enjoyable with the addition of a hard drive upgrade, therefore allowing you to store even more titles on your Xbox.


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