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X-S's EB2K X-chip Previews, Reviews,


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#1 HSDEMONZ

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Posted 28 February 2004 - 09:12 PM

Not much is known at this time. (Feb 28, 2004)

Main features:
* 4Mb of Flash Memory
* 2Mb extra SRAM
* USB Programmable
* CPLD Programmable
* Solderless Adaptor (optional) is compatible with all versions of XBOX


#2 HSDEMONZ

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Posted 15 June 2004 - 12:21 PM

XS received review samples during the last 2 days, unfortunately no one has had time to do a proper install and review yet. Expect Xantium to do a full and proper installation walkthrough and review later.

This is simply a collection of shots taken in a rush before my camera died.

(click pics for larger high rez shots)

The complete package as it shipped to us...
user posted image
It came wrapped in bubble wrap, with a rubber band securing that package. Wish it was better packaged.. but it made the trip from Quebec to Toronto without damage.

Included.. was the X-Chip modchip, Solderless Adapter, and the USB Adapter/Button attachment. (wish they had included a PINHEADER though.. as that I believe is the best possible method of installation for a chip today.)

Update: When a customer orders just a X-Chip this is what is shipped.

1-X-Chip
1-USB programmer
1-Wire linker
1-Pin Header

When a customer orders a X-Chip combo this is what is shipped.

1-X-Chip
1-USB programmer
1-Wire linker
1-Solder-less adapter (new design)
1-Bag of rivets that include 10 rivets and 1 replacement screw.
1-Pin header

user posted image

* No Washers ship with either product.. as none are needed now.

Closeup of the X-Chip...
user posted image
As you can see.. it's the largest chip released to the public yet. You'll notice that D0, A15, 5v and GND are clearly silkscreens on the Top and bottom of the PCB. Real AMD chips were used as well.

Bottom of the X-Chip...
user posted image
Not much to see here other than their logo.

Shot showing the relative thickness of the PCB the X-Chip resides on...
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I should have taken a pic with another brand of chip for comparsion. Sorry.

USB Adapter and Button?!?
user posted image
At the time of this writing.. it is presumed we'll have FLASH and DEBUG control via USB. However.. the chip shipped without any documentation.. and as of this moment no guides are available from EB.

Update: Expect documentation and guides online shortly.

USB Adapter Bottom..
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(yawn..) figured you might want to see it.

Solderless Adapter..
user posted image
This is the interesting part. Many whine and complain about solderless solutions.. based on issues in the past. The stories about MATRIX being misaligned are well documented. Issues getting Xecuter Lites screwed down right also caused some people some nightmares. However.. there has been a decent solderless solution for awhile now.. and that was the Chameleon Gen 2 Solderless Adapter.

At the time it shipped.. it had improved springs, more "toothy" grip and rivets to satisify the needs of some. When installed properly.. an xbox with a Chip installed via the Cham Gen 2 Adapter would no misalign even when dropped from waist high. (granted.. you'd damage other components like HD and DVD drive doing that stunt.)

Chameleon Gen2 with PE and LE Models and this style adapter worked well. Xenium.. took that solderless adapter and improved on it. Better Springs.. more rigid plastic etc.

So.. why did I go down this trip down memory lane?

It looks like this Style of Adapter has been improved again. I can't properly descibe the material this one is made from. (I'd guess something dense and heavy.. as it is also the heaviest adapter out there.)

As you can see.. it's dark grey/black.. and appear to be the most rigid adapter yet. Pins and Wire loom seem unaltered from previous designs implements by EB2k and OZxodus respectively.

Update: Just noticed.. an extra pin (#6) is present for 5v use on 1.5 boards. Nice feature.. requiring no extra soldering for 1.5 board owners.

The Screw Hole.. appears to be improved as well with a steel or brass washer. I suspect it's overkill.. but if it help to maintina the rigidity of the adapter. .it can only help.

Expect an Installation Review Shortly.

In the meantime..

Archive of BAD scans...
http://hsdemonz.left...ipSample-June14
Archive of Hi Rez shots..
http://hsdemonz.left...ne14HiRezPhotos

To order now: X-Chip Available Now!

#3 XanTium

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Posted 15 June 2004 - 01:04 PM

Note that I will do a review of the modchip once I get a sample. It did not arrive here yet.
Shipping to Europe takes a bit longer wink.gif

#4 HSDEMONZ

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Posted 17 June 2004 - 02:17 PM

X-Chip X Control Software and Solderless Adapter Installation Guide Released
>> Sorry for the late post... yesterday EasyBuy2000 released the flash software and the Solderless Adapter Installation Guide. Until they release a pinheader installation guide just use an existing Chameleon or Xenium Pinheader Installation guide. (or just about any pinheader guide for that matter)

X-Chip XControl USB Flash Software: XControl USB Flash Software (zip)
X-Chip Solderless Adapter Installation Guide: Solderless Adapter Guide (pdf)


#5 HSDEMONZ

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Posted 18 June 2004 - 05:15 PM

Review: EasyBuy2000.comís X-Chip w/ Solderless Adapter
>> (formerly named Chameleon 2)

user posted image

Buy Now: EasyBuy2000 $49.00 without solderless adapter
Buy Now: EasyBuy2000 $59.00 combo with Adapter

Official Site: www.easybuy2000.com

What the retail package contains:

When a customer orders just a X-Chip this is what is shipped.

1-X-Chip
1-USB programmer
1-Wire linker
1-Pin Header

When a customer orders a X-Chip combo this is what is shipped.

1-X-Chip
1-USB programmer
1-Wire linker
1-Solder-less adapter (new design)
1-Bag of rivets that include 10 rivets and 1 replacement screw.
1-Pin header

Note: No Washers ship with either product.. as none are needed now.

Well.. here is my Ďfirstí of two reviews. (youíll understand by the end of this review why)

Some of the staff received samples 5 days ago but this is the first official review of the chip. A review would have been done sooner.. but there was a few circumstances preventing it.

First.. the sample package as shipped.. was missing the bag of rivets, pin-header, and replacement screw. Second delay was the Official Installation Guides and XControl Software was not publicly available either.

EB2K quickly couriered the missing parts so that I could get this review done in a timely fashion. (helps that Iím local!) During the delay.. they also managed to get the Xcontrol USB Flashing Software and the Solderless Guide up and available to the public on their site. (Pin-header Solder Method Guide still not available.. however.. following the Chamelone Pin-header guide serves as well.)

So.. now after nearly a week of delays, missing parts, and dealing with a broken camera.. Iíve manged to finally sit down to attempt an installation. Since this was a full Solderless Package I figured I would install it and test it using that method.

Using 2 XBOX units.. a 1.1 and a 1.3 units I had handy I proceeded to prep them for the installation. Prep included cleaning the LPC holes, and Topside D0 with alcohol. Using the supplied rivets, screw, and solderless adapter I attached the adapter to the motherboard. Installed the chip onto the pins of the adapter as directed by their guide, and attempted to boot the unit. FRAG. (Flashing Red and Green)

Same install on the other XBOX.. using the same method.. proved just as fruitless.

Having other chips handy.. I was able to determine that the X-Chip Solderless Adapter was making good and proper contact with each XBOX it was used on.. as it booted Chameleons and Xeniums perfectly fine and without trouble.

Cpoc/EasyBuy2000 was extremely helpful and worked with me to troubleshoot this situation. It was determined via pictures and videos I provided.. that the Chip was likely somewhat defective.. as it appeared the itís female connectors were simply not making the proper contact with the X-Chip Solderless Adapter. This is a situation he was able to duplicate on his end.. but with less fatal results.

I found that the Chip, when properly installed onto the pins of the adapter could be rocked back and forth to a degree that leads me to beleive that the fit of the chip and solderless adapter wasn't tested as much as the fit of the pin-header and chip.. which is quite snug and secure. Example video: Rock and Roll Connection (avi)

So.. with the X-Chip Sample currently in my possession apparently defective.. I cannot finish a proper hardware review of this chip. EB is couriering out replacements samples so sometime next week I should be able to write a follow-up review.

Iíd like to take a moment and discuss the adapter. It appears to be superior in design to previous solderless adapters. Itís far more rigid, a proper metal washer for the screw hole (likely overkill.. but canít hurt). The Ďteethí appear to be strong.. solid.. and the springs seems to always spring back and didnít pop any teeth out. With or without rivets.. the units stays secure to the motherboard providing a good and reliable connection. (that fact.. test with other chip like Chameleon and Xenium on the X-Chip Adapter.. since we didnít get the X-Chip to function properly) For more info on my view on the X-Chip Solderless Adapter check my Pre-Installation Review.

Something else worth noting.. the relative thickness and rigidity of the PCB used. Feels thick and strong.

Since I was never able to get their Cromwell(info) to boot.. so I was unable to see their bootup screens. However.. I was able to use their flash control software and have nothing but good things to say about it.

To flash the X-Chip via the included USB adapter/dongle, simply connect an appropriate A/B USB cable to the unit.. and plug into a pc. Then.. follow the on-screen prompts / XControl Software Install guide to install the software and USB drivers.

user posted image

Once it is all installed.. and you run the software.. you are presented with a clean interface.. that doesnít require much explaining or thought to use. Itís pretty dummy proof.

user posted image

With the software.. you have a lot of banks to play with.. more than youíll likely ever need. Here.. you can also set key buttons that will boot your BIOS of choice.

user posted image

The software detects the chip quickly.. and performs a full 4MB write in about 2 minutes or less. It also was able to upsize BIOS files.. so if you wanted a 256k one in a 1 meg slot.. it handled the chore for you.

POSITIVE:
+ Xcontrol Software was easy to install and use
+ Flawless USB control and flashing/backup
+ Solderless Adapter appears to be the best currently available.(rigid and strong)
+ pin-header and solderless solutions provided.. best of both world.
+ Thickness of the PCB
+ EB2K tech support

NEGATIVE:
- Package shipped minus essential parts. (quickly remedied though)
- Software and guides were not available at time of product release (partially remedied)
- Sample Chip that shipped was partially defective.

Iíll follow-up this review when the replacement review samples arrive.

(June 18 21:14 GMT+1)

#6 HSDEMONZ

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Posted 22 June 2004 - 05:08 AM

Review: EasyBuy2000.comís X-Chip w/ Solderless Adapter
>> (formerly named Chameleon 2)

user posted image

Buy Now: EasyBuy2000.com $49.00 without solderless adapter
Buy Now: EasyBuy2000.com $59.00 combo with Adapter


First.. I'd like to take the time and thank Easybuy2000.com for working with me to get this review finished in a timely manner. Their Tech Support was quick to help and diagnose the problems with the previous sample.. and shipping made sure I had replacements fast. I received the replacement samples hours ago and was able to spend some time with them to finish this review.

Pre-Installation Review (covers preliminary thoughts about the size, shape, and quality of the PCB and material used in the contruction of the chip.)

X-Chips Review Part 1(covers first attempt at getting the hardware working.. as well as an in-depth review of the USB Flash Software, and the USB Driver Installation for Windows Flashing Program XControl.)

With X-Chip in hand, I reopened the 1.1 and 1.3 boards I was testing this on the other day. Place the new chip on the included Solderless adapter, booted the units and was now formally introduced to the EB2K X-Bios Cromwell Screen.

user posted image

From the main menu, you are presented options to select the various banks, Flash the System Bios (os) or to continue booting Cromwell (for the purposes of install Linux.

I opted to flash some banks from the hard-drive, navigating the X-Chip XBios is easy and simple, moving from menu to menu, selecting the drive, directory, and file to flash with. Flashing a single bank is quick and painless. You then return to the previous menu and optionally select to Switch to the Bios you just flashed. The CD Bios Disk Method differs little when flashing from a Bios CD that can be prepared ahead of time, burned.. and placed in the Xbox.

As you can see from the pictures and photos, the installation is trouble free and easy.

Pics:
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Video:
http://pictures.xbox...ll_DSCF0198.AVI
http://pictures.xbox...ve_DSCF0222.AVI
http://pictures.xbox...ot_DSCF0223.AVI
http://pictures.xbox...ot_DSCF0203.AVI

I did however make a simple mistake that rendered one of the replacements useless for 5 minutes. I had accidently flashed the system os with one of my color mod bios, and the Chips OS appears to have no safety check in place. When the flash was completed.. and I rebooted.. I was unable to gain access to the cromwell based os. It was a simple matter to fix however.. as all you need to do is hook up the Chip to the USB on a PC and reflash with the included FULL.BIN raw image file that is included with the XControl Software.

No odd cromwell issues with funky hardware hooked up.

Hardware tested included:
- 7 Different Controllers (MS, Logitech, HipGear, MadMax)
- 2 remotes (Stock and third party)
- 3 USB Keyboards (one Wireless Logitech, one Ms Office KB, one third party mini keyboard)
- 4 USB Mice (one wireless Logitech, 2 MS, 1 third party)
- 3 light guns (MadMax, and 2 asian models)
- 2 different retail xbox to USB cable adapters (www.lik-sang.com and www.spotted-horse.com plus one homebrew one.)
- 3 memory cards including MS Stock, and two 3rd party no-name ones)
- 1 Xbox Communicator (stock)

(**I would have tested more hardware if I had more time.)

So.. here is my final rundown on this chip.

Postives:
+ XBios Cromwell interfacce is basic, clean and easy to understand and navigate.
+ Boots in 2-3 seconds to menu
+ Selectable Bios options, 4MB of Slots for any combo of hacked Bios and stock Bios you could ever want. (note: system OS claims 512k)
+ If Cromwell Fails, USB flashing fixes easily.
+ 6 direct boot options (A, B, X, Y, Power, Eject Buttons)
+ 2 MB SRAM ( we don't know what plans EB has for this yet.. but the potential for stuff like Dash on Chip or oDebuggin utilities etc down the road will determine how much of a positive this feature is.)
+ Thick PCB design, sturdy Solderless Adapter option
+ included rivits are nice, but really un-needed.

Negatives:
- Initial Delays in getting all the hardware, software, and guides, and issues with first sample. All were rectified in a timely manner.
- ease of which System OS can be destroyed by accidental flashing. Note: it's also just as easy to fix.)

Not much negative to say. It's a simple chip.. with simple features.. and it works.

Buy Now: EasyBuy2000.com $49.00 without solderless adapter
Buy Now: EasyBuy2000.com $59.00 combo with Adapter

Edited by HSDEMONZ, 22 June 2004 - 05:40 AM.





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