old Hard Mod... but considering new Soft Mod.

Discussion in 'Microsoft Xbox' started by portugeek, Jul 27, 2015.

  1. portugeek
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    portugeek GBAtemp Fan

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    I need advice. -- It's easily been over 10 years since I modded my Xbox, and I don't remember what I did to make it happen. I know that I installed a solderless Xecuter 2.6 and that my console is either a v1.0 or a v1.1. And, it also has a Thompson drive, if that matters.

    I just started it up and everything seems to be working fine. I don't know which Bios it has, it just has it listed as "unknown". I haven't messed with it since 2006 (at the latest) so I'm sure everything's outdated.

    I tried to find any info that I thought might be important but all I could really get was my system info:

    K:1.00.5022.01
    D:1.00.5960.01

    I remember that I had compatibility issues with some games, and some wouldn't even install. I recall old forum posters saying that certain drives wouldn't always rip a game fully/correctly. I don't know if any of that is true or not.

    What I'm here to ask is, should I just update my current configuration, or would it be worth it to softmod? I know that in some cases of other consoles, that softmods have surpassed hardmods in terms of features, compatibility, and usability. If softmodding is recommended, would it be safe to softmod with the hardmod already installed?
     
  2. portugeek
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    portugeek GBAtemp Fan

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    I have some new info.

    It's actually an Xecuter 3 and I have EvoX v3935. It also says Slayer's Menu v2.5

    I've been looking for updates to what I have but it's not easy to find anything recent. Also I'm not sure what's reliable.
     
  3. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    There is not much recent because it kind of all came to a head and got near flawless for most purposes. Some of the things got a few updates here and there but nothing that most would go back and change.

    In terms of homebrew and game support the two classes of hacks* achieved parity -- both will play all the games, run all the emulators and do XBMC just fine. The biggest difference is when you swap the hard drives out -- hardmods just take any drive and run with it, softmods will need a drive that locks (and to have the drive locked to the console with the relevant keys).

    Afraid I am not so familiar with what went for the chips as far as specifics. Xecuter were/are not one of the fly by night clone companies though so you should be able to get current, and in this case it is not worth going over to a softmod. You might have to get on xbins (find a program called easyxbins/autoxbins) and it get the files from there.

    *softmod and hardmod, softmods being the game launched savegame based ones and hard drive hotswap. Hardmods being chips and TSOP flash. All of them work by replacing the xbox BIOS at some level, however all most will ever see/really know about is the replaced dashboard (in this case you are using slayer's menu, there are various ones though I tend to opt for XBMC4XBOX http://www.xbmc4xbox.org.uk/ aka (or used to be known as) XBMC).

    If you can find it then I like having a copy of auto installer deluxe -- it is a DVD with all sorts of things on it. Not sure how easy it will be to find these days though.
     
  4. tbb043

    tbb043 Member

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    I have a v1.0 with a solderless mod and other than having to update the mod chip once to a higher firmware or BIOS or something (like you, a long time ago), it's never been unable to run anything I've tried.

    I also have a Thomson (no P, that's a different company), and it ripped games just fine. There are some things it's not as good for, but that's not one of them.

    If I were you, I'd just look for a way to find what exactly is on your solderless chip and if needed update it, assuming you can actually find that sort of thing anywhere. The Evox I'm using has a place on the screen where it tells what is on my chip, in addition to the Evox version, but I don't remember the numbers off hand.

    Good luck. Searching for original XB stuff is not the easiest, thanks to people calling the 360 "Xbox" for short far too often.
     
  5. portugeek
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    portugeek GBAtemp Fan

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    Thanks you guys. I've decided to just stick with the hardmod. It seems to be able to do a lot already.

    I definitely would like to upgrade my current software and bios but I don't know what the newest versions of anything is.

    I'm browsing the HDD via FTP but I don't know if my folders and partitions are right. I have 8 drive letters. C: D: E: F: G: X: Y: Z: I'd be willing to re-mod it but I don't even know what I'd need to do it. Or if I'd even be able to get the necessary software.
     
  6. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    From memory
    C: is probably only a few hundred megs and is what contains the original dash and system setup. Some mods put the new dash here but most will have a small jump loader type thing -- hardmods did various things so I am not sure what goes.
    D: I believe is the DVD drive.
    E: Is the original partition used by user stuff like saves, music and probably also houses your custom dash.
    F: The way the partitions work there are only limited sizes. To that end this is what you get when you have a larger hard drive.
    G: same deal as F, not commonly seen but if you have a really large hard drive or you are using an old hacked BIOS without I think it was LBA48 support hacked in then you might see this.

    For the most part in most dashboards E F and G will all be monitored (or you can tell it to monitor certain folders) kind of like libraries in modern versions of windows where it will all appear to be in the same place.

    X,Y,Z. Scratch space for games, programs and whatever else. You can write to it and read it from homebrew (some dashboards and programs will ignore them) but if you play a game do not be surprised to see the contents wiped.

    This is all somewhat academic though as most hard drive programs on the PC will just copy things as necessary if you are mucking around with it.
     
  7. portugeek
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    portugeek GBAtemp Fan

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    Thanks for verifying. I thought maybe the mod was done incorrectly. It's funny because the deeper I get into the whole Xbox modding scene, I notice that there was a lot of things I did correct. It was my one of my first experiences with modding, and I don't remember feeling like I knew what I was doing. lol

    I have a 200gig HDD. And I'm pretty sure the BIOS has support for LBA48 because I remember seeing that term specifically when it mentioned putting ALL in F: and leaving G: empty.

    I already updated a lot of the apps. I think the only thing left is the modchip's bios. But it's not letting me flash it. It says I have write protection on so I have to open it up and see.

    I'm still a little confused with the dashboards. Because some say they use EvoX but others say they use XBMC.. I seem to have both, but XBMC looks like an app rather than being an actual dashboard that I boot into. I even updated it like an app. And then I have Avalaunch, which looks like an app, but it can also be set to have boot priority. I have like 5 different .xbe that I can rearrange in my boot priority list, but I don't think they're all dashboards.

    Then I see that I have EvoX v3935 which based off of everything I'm seeing online, seems to be the most up to date version. But then I also have Slayers Evox Menu v2.5 and it says that v2.6 is out. Are Slayer's EvoX Menu.. and EvoX two different things?

    It would also be nice to know if there were any "must have" apps. I find all these files online, but have no clue which apps are better than others, or if there's anything that's I don't need anymore vs something that's must have.

    And, something else I've been curious about. All my Xbox games are in PxGame folders and appear to be extracted. Does the Xbox load ISO's, or do the games always need to be extracted? It wasn't even a thing I thought about back then. All my games were direct rips of my discs, I never thought about extracted vs ISO. I just knew I could play my games without having to always change discs.
     
    Last edited by portugeek, Jul 28, 2015
  8. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    "and I don't remember feeling like I knew what I was doing"
    We used to see something similar with 360 DVD flashing. First attempts occasionally took hours and involved a lot of high volume swearing, by about the third (or third update) it resembled the scene from groundhog day for most people


    Dashboards can be launched as apps in many cases. XBMC being one that very much had feet in both worlds.
    XBMC is slightly slower to boot (exox and similar are pretty much instant), these days I am not sure I would suggest it like I used to as XBMC (now called Kodi http://kodi.tv/ ) is available for everything and also plays H264 quite happily on things like the raspberry pi. It also has slightly iffy support for certain things that most would be using FTP for anyway. XBMC for xbox seperated from XBMC proper a while back but continued to be updated, the current version I already linked but might as well do it again http://www.xbmc4xbox.org.uk/

    If you want info on releases and other things then http://www.xbins.org/index.php?action=search&searchtxt=evox&Submit=Search might be a good jumping off point.


    "must have"
    XBMC was that for years for people. With the rise of H264 (which the xbox's 700MHz P3 a like struggles with) and higher resolution video it is less useful than it was, if your library is mainly old Xvid videos then carry on as it is still great for that.

    If you had a PAL xbox then enigmah video switcher was pretty essential in getting you component support.
    If you want to toy with xbox linux then by all means, personally I would get a raspberry pi or something and install one of their linux distros.

    Other than that pick whatever emulators do what you want. The N64 and PS1 emulators are not entirely without merit. The 16 bit and older I would still hold can compete with most things. Technically some might use some frameskip at points compared to the Wii but to this day I would probably not set up a wii as an emulation station for someone that had a modded xbox.
    If you can get that auto installer deluxe package (aka AID) then that has most of these sorts of things on. Likewise if you can find the xbox HQ PC pack then it has a bunch of PC programs to do things, including fiddle with isos and if you really wanted the replace various startup screens with custom ones.

    I am not aware of direct iso launching (the whole FATX thing tended to get in the way of that). Isos were only kept for the DVD burning crowd as you got a few notable games that twiddled their iso layout to get the fastest loading (I think the KOTOR games are the most notable for this one).

    You have put me on the spot with the Slayer's stuff.
    If memory serves then
    Slayer's evox installer installed the dashboard which originally was for the chip family named evox, however it later went generic and kept the name. Equally if you say Slayer's to a lot of xbox modding types then they will assume you are speaking about the recovery disc (which was technically a version of the evox dash on a disc) that people kept to allow them to boot something when had hosed everything else up.
     
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  9. portugeek
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    portugeek GBAtemp Fan

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    Thanks for the in-depth response. Yeah, I ended up going to xbins.org They have an app list and I believe I now have pretty much everything I'll want. I primarily want a gaming machine. Back in the day I wanted an all in one media/gaming box, but I currently have better hardware already doing all my media stuff.

    I have XBMC and XBMP. I just updated XBMC, but XBMP was still on there from way back. I hear people speak so highly of XBMC but if I don't care about it's media applications, is there a real need for it? I'm considering deleting both apps. Is it ok to assume that if it's in the apps folder, it's safe to delete?

    I'm debating about wether I should keep the emulators or not. Even though I just finished updating the ones I wanted, lol. Mainly because my Wii currently does emulation pretty well. But then you said this...
    ...and now you have me wondering if the Xbox emulates better than Wii? The emu's that I'd consider keeping on the XBOX (if for some strange reason they ran better on older tech) are the Saturn, N64, and PSX. Saturn is horrible everywhere, but espcially on Wii. N64 is never without it's hiccups, I'm not a fan of it on the Wii either. The PSX emu on the Wii actually runs pretty good for the games I have, but if they ran better on XBOX, I'd use it there instead.

    I'm pretty sure this is exactly what I used to mod the Xbox originally. That and a disc labeled BIOS. I was looking at the newest version of Slayer's disc and I don't know if I'd even need it. Everything on it seems outdated when compared to what I have now. Although I never thought of it as a boot disc. It might be worth it to make one.

    Other than deleting un-needed apps and flashing my bios, I think everything's good to go.

    Have any tips on protection? I assume, since I have the chip installed, that if anything happend to my harddrive that I'd still be able to boot to the bios of the chip and get everything back to normal. Althought I don't know. I keep seeing talks of eeprom, and don't know what it is, or if I need to back it up.
     
  10. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    EEPROM.. that I am not sure about what you would have for your setup as the older stuff, much less chips, did some odd things that I was not really around for. If this was softmods I could talk about virtual eeprom and shadow C, and some of the stuff done for dual boot back when xbox live was still a thing.
    The EEPROM is mainly there for people to unlock their original hard drives and lock new ones, and as you have a chip that becomes less useful. The AID disc should have an EEPROM dumper, if not then one should be somewhere on xbins. There is then a PC tool called liveinfo which you can feed an EEPROM to. If the serial it spits out matches the one on the xbox your have your EEPROM.

    XBMC is a decent enough music player as well, the dash itself is quite nice and it has a few little applications like weather (which most would seem to have a phone for) and various python scripts that other dashes/operating systems would struggle to make sense of. In terms of network friendliness, interface and in some cases even some media support it is still streets ahead of any smartTV I have seen, and has been that way for perhaps a decade at this point, but if we are talking usefulness if you have an alternative setup then delete it if you reckon the space will benefit you.

    I have not looked to see what the xbox saturn is like and http://www.xbins.org/nfo.php?file=xboxnfo2169.nfo does not inspire much hope. Xbox N64... better than the Wii homebrew N64 emulators (not that I played much with the later Wii builds) but not better than anything that was ported as wiiware or worked reasonably well as an injection, and even with the censorship I would still go with Conker: Live & Reloaded over other versions (or just watch that dev commentary version on youtube).
    Xbox PS1 vs wii PS1.... six of one, half a dozen of another really when comparing them. Both are pretty mediocre but at the same time you could probably still find something worth playing/able to be played.

    16 bit and older is great for all of it. We could get very nit picky and I am sure some of the more obscure stuff will trouble it (been a while since I toyed with the PCE/TG16 stuff). I never put the Amiga emus head to head and usually just use a PC instead as most Amiga games I want to play use a mouse. In the end if you just want to play some streets of rage, some mario, some sonic, some golden axe, some final fantasy, some phantasy star, some tetris..... that you might have played when you were a bit younger then there is not a lot in it. The xbox stuff also adopted a pretty consistent UI, and consistently good at that, for many emulators so savestates, control remapping/turbo buttons and general use will be consistent between most of the bigger emulators. For the Wii I did not do it often enough to note but on the PSP there were several instances of "no you are playing a SNES game and not megadrive so different menu combo/savestates are needed".

    The wii classic controller is not bad and neither is the gamecube one but neither are the controller S. If you absolutely must have a wireless controller then yeah the Wii would be the better option. Personally I like nice 720p component video more though with my modern TV and that is an xbox only trick, give or take you maybe using the Wii U backwards compat and HDMI.
     
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  11. portugeek
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    portugeek GBAtemp Fan

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    ^^This is very true. LoL -- I went out of my way so I could use the controller S on my Wii. :P I even made a post about it.

    I didn't even consider this. This makes me want to keep the emulators, at least to see how they look.