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Identifying Your Xbox Revision

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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Here are the key points covered in this chapter:

  • Revision notes
  • Methods of identification
  • Special/limited edition exceptions

This chapter will help you to perform the all-important step of identifying which version of the Xbox you own. This step is critical in determining what type of mod chip you will need for your Xbox and what you must to do install a mod chip (covered in the next two chapters).

Revision Notes

Before I explain how to identify your Xbox, let's discuss each of the seven revisions that have been produced at the time of this writing.


The first Xbox, 1.0, was produced in Hungary and Mexico in early to mid-2001. This version was unique in that it featured an active cooling unit (heatsink plus fan) on the GPU. The DVD-ROM was made by Thomson (see Figure 3.1), and the hard drive by Seagate (see Figure 3.2). This first version used the Conexant video chip, which was carried through revision 1.3.

Figure 3.1Figure 3.1 Thomson DVD-ROM unit.

Figure 3.2Figure 3.2  First Seagate hard drive used in the Xbox.


The first revision to the Xbox, 1.1, did away with the GPU fan, leaving only a heatsink. This revision was manufactured in Mexico and China. This version also used the Conexant video chip.


The second revision to the Xbox, 1.2, was an incremental update with some different hardware used in some factories. The Philips DVD-ROM drive (see Figure 3.3) replaced the Thomson in most of the 1.2 units. Some units featured a Western Digital hard drive (see Figure 3.4) more often than the Seagate. This version also used the Conexant video chip.

Figure 3.3Figure 3.3 The Philips DVD-ROM drive.

Figure 3.4Figure 3.4 The first Western Digital hard drive used in Xbox.


The third revision, 1.3, along with 1.4, seems to be the most common, so it may have been produced in the greatest quantities. This version saw the introduction of the Samsung DVD-ROM drive (see Figure 3.5), although Thomson and Philips models were still used throughout the production life of the Xbox in lesser quantities. This version also introduced a second Seagate drive (10GB) in some units (see Figure 3.6). This version also used the Conexant video chip.

Figure 3.5Figure 3.5 The Samsung DVD-ROM drive.

Figure 3.6Figure 3.6 The second Seagate hard drive.


The fourth revision, 1.4, was also produced in great quantities and was perhaps the most produced version of all. Manufactured exclusively in China, 1.4 saw the introduction of yet another Western Digital hard drive (see Figure 3.7), and featured the Samsung DVD-ROM in most cases (though not all). This version is identifiable by the use of a Focus video chip, the first change in the video chip since the Xbox was first introduced.

Figure 3.7Figure 3.7 The second Western Digital hard drive (10GB).


Revision 1.5 has an interesting story associated with it, though none of this information is official. Apparently, this version was produced only for a short period of time at the factory in China before it was pulled from production, and manufacturing reverted back to revision 1.4. One might assume that there was some sort of mistake in the initial production runs for 1.5 that was not detected right away. For whatever reason, both factories in China and Taiwan switched back to producing 1.4. Revision 1.5 might have seen only limited production afterward because the development of revision 1.6 came soon after. Therefore, the manufacturing date alone is not a reliable factor for determining the revision. Revision 1.5 also used the Focus video chip, and was otherwise similar to 1.4. Many mod chip makers doubt even the existence of the 1.5, believing it to be a refurbished version of 1.4 motherboards with changes made to the LPC to prevent modding. This revision is exceedingly rare, if it exists at all.


The sixth revision, 1.6, was a radical departure from prior versions with major changes in the Xbox motherboard. The TSOP chip containing the Xbox BIOS is no longer flashable (that is, updateable), meaning the usual soft hacks/exploits are not possible, and the BIOS cannot be flashed. Microsoft also removed power and data lines from the LPC expansion port utilized by mod chips, requiring extra effort to install a mod chip in this version. A new video chip, known as Xcalibur (with an Xbox logo), was also used in this revision. The apparent changes were meant to make the 1.6 motherboard more compact.


The Xbox BIOS is stored on an EEPROM (electrically erasable programmable read-only memory) chip so that the binary BIOS image can be updated. Xbox 1.6 BIOS chips are only EPROM, meaning they can be burned once, and after that, these chips are permanently fixed with a BIOS.a

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