Update: If you're looking for instructions on how to disassemble the new slim Xbox 360 read our updated guide here!

Microsoft's first try at a gaming console amounted to essentially a very affordable PC.  It used standard PC components, including a mobile Intel processor (a hybrid Pentium 3/Celeron), a desktop NVIDIA chipset, a Western Digital hard drive and relatively standard PC DVD-ROM.  The original Xbox was such a PC in fact that there were quite a few users that wanted to mod it simply to have a cheap PC, not even for gaming - including ourselves.  

Before the Xbox was launched, Microsoft was very concerned with users thinking of the Xbox as nothing more than a PC branded as a gaming console, so it went to great lengths to reduce the association.  For example, the strict ban on keyboard and mouse support, despite the fact that the console implemented the standard USB interface.  

With the Xbox 360, Microsoft gained some benefits of the original Xbox success.  Xbox didn't win the sales battle against Sony's PlayStation 2, but the first Xbox was strong enough to cement Microsoft's name in the world of console gaming manufacturers.  For their second time around, there is less worry of the Xbox 360 being viewed as a just a PC, so Microsoft took a bolder approach.  

Honestly, with the Xbox 360, Microsoft could have put forth another PC in a black box and it probably would have done fine.  But with their second gaming console, the target was growth -- and Sony.  With an established name and fanbase, it was time to take the market seriously and start to exert some dominance and thus the Xbox went from being a clunky black box of a PC, to a stylish consumer electronics device.

The Xbox 360 is smaller than the original Xbox, and its wireless nature makes it a natural fit in the living room - marking a thankful change from standard gaming consoles of the past.  Despite looking like the offspring of an iPod and a DVD player, the Xbox 360 is still very much a PC on the inside.  As such, it's got all of the components we're used to.

With less than a week to go before the retail availability of Xbox 360 consoles, we got our hands on one to give it the usual AnandTech once-over.  And take it apart of course.  

What's in the Box?

Our Xbox 360 system was the $399 unit, which comes with the following:

- Xbox 360 console
- 20GB Removable Hard Drive
- Wireless Controller
- Headset
- DVD Remote
- Ethernet Cable
- Component AV Cables
- External Power Supply

 

The $299 core system gives you the same console (with a white DVD tray cover), a wired controller, and standard composite AV cables; there's no hard drive, headset or remote.

By now you have undoubtedly heard about the massive external power supply that comes with the Xbox 360 and you can see it in the lower left hand corner of the picture above. Remember that in the original Xbox, the power supply was internal.  But with the power requirements of the Xbox 360 being significantly higher than its predecessor, while featuring a noticeably smaller case, the only solution was to take the power supply out of the Xbox 360. 

What's in the Box, in the Box? (Taking it Apart)
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  • Googer - Wednesday, November 16, 2005 - link

    I am getting a 404 error when I click on the photographs.

    quote:

    HTTP/1.1 404 Object Not Found
    Reply
  • Googer - Wednesday, November 16, 2005 - link

    Thanks Anand, Kris, and Tuan for taking it apart so we can see what is inside of it. Awesome article, keep up the good work. Reply
  • MAME - Wednesday, November 16, 2005 - link

    article is way f'ed up guys Reply
  • Kilim - Thursday, November 17, 2005 - link

    Don't worry, be happy, bucko. Sorry for being so damn right cheery right now, I had my therapist appointment last night, lol, and I feel good. haha

    Anyway, I pre-ordered a 360 for my godson at the local Gamestop, well the one I work at, on June 18th, and he will now be waiting for the second shipment! We are only getting 26! Only 26 "good ones" and two "core" units. Anyone know what exact part of the building process is holding up construction of the 360's.

    Is it the video card, cpu, what? Is it the HDD and that is why they created the core unit? Anyone know? Anand?
    Reply
  • Imazalil - Thursday, November 17, 2005 - link

    As far as I know, Microsoft is keeping the supply really limited to make sure that they have a 'sellout' launch. No real technical issues, just marketing. Reply
  • Shlong - Wednesday, November 16, 2005 - link

    Wow that power supply is a beast Reply
  • possnfiffer - Thursday, December 30, 2010 - link

    Hey precioustone very general comment with a link i sense spam how bout a mod removes that one. anywayz nice pix got mine open Reply
  • steveyoung123456789 - Friday, December 09, 2011 - link

    wow guys im learning so much and this is so fin thanks alot!! :).... jk your all fags go die Reply
  • darckhart - Sunday, April 07, 2013 - link

    Update: Just in case anyone else browses here to use as a guide.
    I cracked open a Zephyr model yesterday using brand new torx key sets. The only required ones are T8 and T10. I posted a photo guide here: http://i.imgur.com/IQzr0k8.jpg
    Reply

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