What are the best PS2, Xbox and Gamecube Modchips?

Discussion in 'General Gaming Discussion' started by Rubedo, Feb 6, 2011.

  1. Rubedo
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    Member Rubedo Aikawa is OLEV

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    The sticky doesn't really go into details, it basically just says "modchips exist", and it's kind of outdated, so I was wondering what the best ones were and what the best places to buy them are. I want to run backups, as well as play other-region games. I have a friend who will install the chips for me, and has chipped several of his consoles without a hitch, so I trust that he'll be able to do it without breaking my systems.

    I know there's softmod options, but I don't have any of the tools to do them (such as games with save exploits and cheat devices) and some of them cost far more than most modchip prices I've seen.
     


  2. Schlupi

    Member Schlupi Gbatemp's Official Earthbound Maniacâ„¢

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    Matrix Infinity (or Modbo 4.0), I dunno about Xbox, and XenoGC.

    4 dollars, I dunno, and about 15 dollars respectively.
     
  3. Schizoanalysis

    Member Schizoanalysis From somewhere inside the rabbit hole...

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    Matrix Infinity (genuine) is like $40-$50...

    Modbo 4 is around $4
     
  4. Rubedo
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    Is there any difference?
     
  5. Schizoanalysis

    Member Schizoanalysis From somewhere inside the rabbit hole...

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    For a ten times price difference, I hope so!


    Modbo 4 is compatible with more models of PS2...

    But Matrix Infinity (genuine not clone), was supposed to be the cream of PS2 mod chips, AFAIK....
     
  6. JonthanD

    Member JonthanD GBAtemp Regular

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    My opinion for PS2 is to go with a PS2 fat with the network adapter, a 500GB or so hard drive swap magic and load your games from the hard drive using HD Loader.

    No mod chip needed, once you have it set up right there isn't even any disk swapping involved, you enjoy fast loading times from the hard drive and its very slick and very convenient.
     
  7. Rubedo
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    Member Rubedo Aikawa is OLEV

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    While that'd be a decent idea, I don't have the network adapter or a spare hard drive, and I'd rather not have to do all that swapping crap when a modchip would just let me play the games as soon as I put them in.
     
  8. Schizoanalysis

    Member Schizoanalysis From somewhere inside the rabbit hole...

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    And R4 and Supercard DSTWO are both cards that let you run roms... but one is 10x more expensive than the other...



    I suppose the cost/quality of components is different... Or the quality of the firmware...
     
  9. Rubedo
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    Member Rubedo Aikawa is OLEV

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    Well... That's what I'm asking...
    What's the difference between them? Does the cheaper one not work with all games or something?
     
  10. kaputnik

    Member kaputnik GBAtemp Regular

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    As for PS2 I share opinion with JonthanD, the best way of loading backups on a PS2 is to use HD Loader together with the PS2 network adapter and a HDD. DX has started selling clones of those not long ago if you can't get hold of a genuine one. There are versions for both PATA and SATA disks.
    Personally I like to load HDL from a cd, but should be possible to install it to a memory card too. I haven't tried that myself though, so I can't say for sure if it works. Since you want to use one of the patched versions of the original HDL that are circulating on the interwebs you need a method of booting burned cd:s. Sure, swapping works, but its much more convenient to do it with a modchip. Anything goes, if you order one of those network adapters from DX you can get a modchip from there too while you're at it. They've got a really good Modbo 4 clone at $4 or something like that. If you're still not convinced about the advantages of HD loading, just order the chip :>

    As for GC it's all about what features you want. I've got a XenoGC v2 in my GC. It's cheap, easy to install (just dont do the wireless install as the manual suggests, it's much easier to do it with wires, and that also makes it easier to remove the chip later should you want) , and so far it hasn't let me down when it comes to playing backups. I haven't seen anyone mention any problem games in various discussions about it either, so I assume compatibility with backups is 100%. It doesn't have all those features of the more expensive chips though.


    I'll begin with explaining what a xbox chip does in simple terms. Basically it's just a storage area for a hacked bios. It also got the capability to ground a leg on the TSOP (which is what the storage area for the original bios is called) to disable it and render it invisible to the xbox during boot time. The chip then feeds the xbox the hacked bios. An alternative to using a modchip to boot the hacked bios is to simply flash it to the TSOP. To make the TSOP writable you have to short four points on the motherboard. Assuming that you want to keep your TSOP writable after you've flashed it, the rest of the process is done with software.

    Modchips for xbox won't let you do anything that you can't do with a TSOP flashed box. Actually there are a few things that a TSOP flashed box can do that a chipped one can't, like running some VGA bioses, etc. The only real advantage a chip has over a TSOP flash is that it's much harder to screw up when you're doing the mod. If you manage to misflash the TSOP it can be hell to recover it, unless of course you have an xbox 1.0 or 1.1, have installed a switch to split the TSOP, and got a working bios image flashed to the other half.

    In my opinion the foolproofness of a few of the later generations of modchips is their only real advantage over flashing TSOP, so I'll suggest one of those chips one I got some firsthand experience of, Smartxx LT OPX. Basically it's impossible to screw anything up once you got the modchip soldered in, before the bios is loaded, the SmartXX loads its own loader. If you manage to bork a bios flash, or maybe configure the bios to load a dashboard from a path that doesn't exist by mistake or something like that, you just reflash it from the loader. In comparison, if you bork a TSOP flash, it's not as easy to get into the flashing utility to reflash it.

    Also, the SmartXX LT OPX got 2 MB of flash memory, which you can configure into banks of different sizes. Most bioses are 256 kB, some are 512 kB, so you can have several bioses installed in parallel, which can have some uses.

    Then there's the softmod alternative. Current softmods are just as good as a hardmod, but there's one significant disadvantage: if you manage to screw something up on the hard disk, you might have to redo the whole softmod.

    Which one of those methods you choose is just a question of preference. The functional differences are small, and all of them work equally well for the important stuff; running homebrew and loading backups both from the hard disk and burned discs.

    A summary of risks, costs, difficulty levels, etc:

    TSOP flashing and softmods doesn't require any additional hardware, so they're free, save for a cdr/dvdr or two. Chipping of course requires a chip :>
    I recommend you to get a bigger hdd than the original 8GB one though, no matter which mod you do. Half the point with modding an xbox is to load the games from the hdd, and a 8GB disk wont hold a lot of those. Also, if softmodding, the last thing you want to do is to screw up your original disk, since it is the key to recovery if something goes wrong and you didn't get the hdd keys right or someting like that.

    Chipping is probably the least risky method if you got some skill with the soldering iron. The soldering is really the only step that can go wrong with chipping.
    TSOP flashing is somewhere in between, even though it's less soldering to do than if you go for a modchip, there's also the flash procedure to take into account.
    When softmodding there's a lot that can go wrong, first the hotswapping of hdd:s, and then the installation procedure. If you opt to upgrade the hdd, you can always just start from the beginning if something goes wrong with the installation.

    From easiest to hardest, I'd order the methods like this: chipping - TSOP flash - softmod. But then I'm far from a newbie with the soldering iron. You might have a different opinion.

    Once you got the mod sorted, the modchip one is the most robust. It's as mentioned virtually impossible to screw anything up. Same goes for the TSOP flash, if you're fine with the bios you flashed when doing the mod and don't want to update it later. A softmod is very possible to bork when fiddling around with the stuff on the hard disk, if you manage to delete the wrong file by mistake, you might have to redo it. If you got your box chipped or TSOP flashed, the worst thing that can happen is that you have to install it using Slayers EvoX auto installer DVD or equivalent.
     
  11. Rubedo
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    Member Rubedo Aikawa is OLEV

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    That's... a lot of info.. and I don't quite understand it all...
    All I want to do is be able to run backups and different region discs...
    With the PS2 modding, what's an HD loader and how much do those other parts cost me?
    And the Xbox modding... I really don't get any of that... I thought the whole thing was just "stick a modchip in and then put a backed-up disc in the system", and I... guess that's not all there is to it?
     
  12. kaputnik

    Member kaputnik GBAtemp Regular

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    HD loader is a program that lets you run backups from a hard disk connected to the PS2 network adapter (the network adapter got an IDE connector in addition to the Ethernet port). It looks and works much like the menu on a DS flashcart, or a USB loader on the Wii.

    Even clones of the official Sony network adapter are quite expensive though, DX sells them at about $40, but in my opinion it's well worth that money to not have to fiddle around with dvd:s:

    http://www.dealextreme.com/p/2-5-3-5-sata-...000-50000-54329
    http://www.dealextreme.com/p/replacement-n...00-series-27138

    In addition to one of those you need a hdd, anything bigger than lets say 100 GB is enough.


    Regarding xbox, I just elaborated some on the alternatives. But well, if you want to keep it simple, there's not much more to it than sticking a chip in the xbox and start playing backups [​IMG]
     
  13. cookiez

    Newcomer cookiez Newbie

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    NO SUCH; THING SOFTMOD RULES MODCHPS DROOL
     
  14. Rubedo
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    Member Rubedo Aikawa is OLEV

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    Well, I don't have any problem with using DVDs, but the additional space WOULD be nice, so I don't have to buy a bunch of memory cards...
    Can I install any hard drive to the PS2? I have a broken Xbox (not the one I plan on modding) and it's got a perfectly good hard drive in it (it's the disc tray that's broken, and it won't read any games), so if I could take it out of that and put it in my PS2, that'd be great. How do I install the hard drive to the PS2?

    Also, I'm not entirely sure how big my Xbox hard drives are. I got them both used as gifts (well, one was an actual gift, the other was from someone who wanted me to try and fix it, but I couldn't and they just told me to keep it), and when I open the hard drive manager it says I have like 50000+ blocks or something. Whatever the maximum number is, since it doesn't decrease as I save data to it (though I only have a handful of games).

    But I still don't know... Why such a big price difference between the PS2 modchips?
    Also, random unrelated question. Sometimes my PS2 will make a constant clicking sound when I try and play games, and they'll take forever to load. Other times, it'll run fine. Any idea why this is?
     
  15. kaputnik

    Member kaputnik GBAtemp Regular

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    Here's an extensive PS2 HDD compatibility list: http://ps2drives.x-pec.com/?p=list

    Installation of the drive is simple. Just format it in your computer and add some games using a program called WinHIIP. Then plug the drive into the network adapter, and plug the network adapter with the drive into the PS2. Launch your boot cd with HDL, and you should be presented with a menu with your games.
    Here are some guides on the subject:

    Connecting the drive to your pc: http://www.sksapps.com/index.php?page=hdd_to_pc.html
    WinHIIP tut: http://www.sksapps.com/index.php?page=winhiip_tutorial.html
    Install the HDD: http://www.sksapps.com/index.php?page=installhd.html

    I didn't find any guide on HDL usage, but shouldn't be needed anyways, it's pretty much self explaining.

    Here's a link to to download a HDL iso: http://www.sksapps.com/index.php?page=hd.html
    Pick "HDLoader 8C - BIN/CUE - CD", unpack it and burn it to a cd



    I have no idea how those blocks translates into bytes, but if the xbox with the broken dvd tray got a hdd that's bigger than 8 GB it's already modded. Then it might be easier to just take the working dvd reader from the other xbox and use in it instead of modding the other xbox. If it's unmodded, the disk is just 8 GB, and that will just hold one or two big PS2 games, or perhaps a handful of smaller ones. In that case it's better to get another larger drive. Also, each xbox is "married" to a specific drive, if you take the drive from that xbox and format it for PS2 usage without dumping the eeprom first, you'll never be able to use that xbox again, since the unlocking codes stored on the drive for that specific xbox are lost forever. If I were you, I'd not touch the xbox original drives, and just use some other drives instead. The original drive is too small to be useful for other than save data anyways [​IMG]

    Here's some good basic reading on xbox modding btw: http://www.xbox-scene.com/articles/beginnersguide.php

    The price difference.. well, here in Sweden it's all about the modchip dealer's markup at least. They just buy the chips from Dealextreme and equivalent sites, and resell them at 4-5 times the price they paid. And also, clones are of course cheaper than the real deal, even though the clones aren't necessarily worse than the originals, probably they're even made in the same factory in most cases.

    Lets see if I can explain this in English: my guess is that it's the mechanism moving the laser head that makes the clicking sound. Probably the sliding track is dirty, which in its turn makes a gear slip and jump in its corresponding gear rack due to the additional resistance. That's probably what you hear. To fix it, just open up the drive, clean the mechanical parts. With some luck the gears haven't been worn down from this yet.
     
  16. Rubedo
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    Member Rubedo Aikawa is OLEV

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    Well, actually BOTH of my Xboxes have that huge hard drive, but as far as I can tell, neither one is modded as they both have the normal BIOS. Unless there's a way to mod them and have them display the normal BIOS? Is there any way to check if it's modded or not?
     
  17. FAST6191

    Reporter FAST6191 Techromancer

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    Some things I might add, as with all things hybrid methods of doing things (mixing a matching from different "schools" of modding) can yield great results.

    PS2 stuff- I say pretty much if it can play games and you can find one in a good shop go with it.
    Other options are network adapter and freeMCboot. These are less compatible in some cases but most games work and have advantages too.


    Xbox- All versions have chips, 1 to 1.5 can be TSOP flashed. You also have softmod which if you do not want games (which by the way go for about $1 USD on amazon and the cables can be home made with less skill than it takes to solder a mod chip http://www.aideluxe.com/index.php?title=SI...h_Action_Replay ) can be done for nothing with the so called hotswap method http://www.xbox-linux.org/wiki/Hard_Disk_Hotswap_HOWTO.

    I agree you can screw up softmods (although it became ultra simple towards the end) and have to pull it back with odd discs/methods (slayers disc has saved my arse when fiddling with things on many occasions) but if you have the EEPROM data and you have an IDE port on a machine available to you then you can write anything you like to the hard drive thus fixing it (the standard setup is a couple of gigs at most so stick it on a DVD if you are not inclined to stick it on your PC drive somewhere).
    The main disadvantage then for softmods on the xbox is that not all IDE hard drives will work (only those that support locking), there is a nice list of tests on various models http://xboxdrives.x-pec.com/?p=list though. You can get away without replacing the hard drive but it is far nicer when you do.


    GC has three main methods
    1) Modchips- your main issue with any GC modchip will be lack of support for streaming audio games ( http://wiki-scene.com/Audio_Fix ). Check to make sure yours supports it (most of the GC specific stuff does, it was mainly the early wii chips that tacked GC support on that troubled things), there are workarounds but they are not ideal.
    Many of the homebrew wii chips also saw something of a backport to the GC as well.
    Likewise you are limited to miniDVD discs- there were casemods that allowed for full size DVDs (granted you could still only use GC disc data sizes)

    2) Memory card/AR hacks SD-boot being the main one- you might have seen them for the wii as they got pretty popular since the downfall of wii chips and drive hacks.
    Nowhere near as compatible as chips.

    3) Modem hacks- this is old and deprecated so ignore this.

    There are alternative methods like DVD emulation- people made DVD to hard drive adapters but no simple instructions exist.

    As for shops http://www.eurasia.nu/shop/default.php has things for all three consoles you mentioned. They are getting harder and harder to find- with them not being made so much any more you are looking at long term sites and those are getting fewer and fewer by the month.
     
  18. Rubedo
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    Member Rubedo Aikawa is OLEV

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    Okay, so with Gamecube all I have to do is look for one that has the audio fix, right?
    It seems complicated to do Xbox modding though...
    I mean I'm not exactly looking for any complicated features for any of my console mods, all I want to do is play games and nothing more. I can run everything off DVDs.
     
  19. FAST6191

    Reporter FAST6191 Techromancer

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    GC- yeah audio fix is about the only thing necessary. I do not think there were any locked down "region free only" chips.

    Xbox modding, all existing hacks revolve around replacing the BIOS at some level. Softmods just do it a bit later in the boot sequence (on the modern ones still nearly instantly though) which is where the hard drive troubles creep in.

    A chip acts as a new/alternative BIOS chip

    TSOP replaces the existing BIOS with another (for the earlier models it was on a writeable chip)

    Game based softmods use a save game exploit to launch some homebrew and allow it to write the relevant stuff to the hard drive to act as a mod. The only trick is getting the save onto the 360 to do it- action replay, an existing softmodded machine (full access to the memory card and all), hard drive hotswap (no reason you can not write a save to it) or action replay software and one of those cables I linked methods on making with a compatible USB drive.

    Hotswap takes an unlocked drive (it unlocks for a short while during boot allowing you to intercept it and read it) and being unlocked you can write anything you like to it (normally a full hack set).

    All four are simple enough if you can solder (although the latter two can be pulled off without it).

    I know you said games only but the xbox makes a fantastic emulation machine- pretty much everything 16 bits and below and a fair stab at PS1 and N64 not to mention video player thanks to XBMC.
    Likewise if you are doing any xbox mods you will end up using essentially the same software.
    You can launch from hard drive and make multi game discs for the xbox (GC too for that matter), on the subject of xbox though http://www.xbox-linux.org/wiki/Xbox_Linux_...D_Burning_HOWTO is worth a read if you are looking at DVDs rather than a hard drive.
     
  20. kaputnik

    Member kaputnik GBAtemp Regular

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    The xbox modding won't be less complicated just because you're fine with using dvd:s, the only thing you might save yourself is getting a bigger hard drive. But really, once you start loading your games from the HDD you won't want to go back, it's so worth it getting that bigger drive. And FAST6191 has a very good point when he says that xbox is the ultimate emulator platform, you'll want to install a bunch of emulators and a crapload of roms. Actually I prefer to play retro games on my xbox over playing them on my real hardware, my retro consoles are just collecting dust nowadays :>
     

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