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What Modchip To Buy?


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#1 lordvader129

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Posted 19 May 2005 - 03:08 AM

OK, I've tried to make this clear some people still aren't quite getting it, so here it is again....

ALL MODCHIPS DO THE SAME THING. WHICHEVER MODCHIP YOU CHOOSE WILL DO EVERYTHING YOU WANT TO DO WITH IT. JUST PICK WHICHEVER PRETTY COLOR YOU LIKE BEST AND BUY IT



FINE PRINT: I realize thats not 100% accurate but the people who usually ask which chip they should buy are only interested in basic features of modchips, running backups, imports, HD upgrades, emulators, stuff that is bios controlled, not chip controlled


First thing first, the biggest feature (and for most people the only feature they use) feature of a modchip is the ability to load a replacement bios, it is the bios (not the chip itself) that allows you to run backups (both DVD and HD) and unsinged code (custom dashboards, emulators, media players) and allows you to upgrade the hard drive.



Here is a breakdown of the most popular modchips, and the advantages an disadvantages of each


Gen4 Chips:
These chips generally feature an onboard OS with lots of neat features, such as built-in FTP servers, disc-less flashing, Eeprom funtions, HD setup, and so forth, however most if not all of these functions can be replicated with a decent boot disc such as Slayers, even if you have an old Thomson DVD and cant load slayers i still dont think it warrants the high cost of these chips, if you do have the Thomson youll find you will have lots of problems down the modding line and want to replace it anyway. The chips also generally feature switch-less installs, all enabling/disabling and bios selection are handled through the OS


Xenium/Xenium ICE/Xenium S.P.ICE:
A few things about the differences between the versions, the old Xenium has a blue PCB and a smaller flashrom (i think) while the ICE has a white PCB and a slightly larger flashrom, the oly difference between the ICE and the S.P.ICE is the S.P. (Solderless Pro) adaptor which makes the chip solderless on 1.0-1.6b

Well this is definately the trendiest chip out there, I have used them a few times and frankly I hate them, Ive found their OS to be a pain to use, and flashing isnt as easy as a gen4 should be, they are also more expensive than similar chips that actually offer more features

**EDIT** There are quite a few people who give this chip good reviews, see them below, personally I still don't like them, feel free to make your own judgements.
If nothing else let this emphasize the futility of asking "Whats the best chip?" 5 different people will give you 5 different answers, and none of them are wrong.

Advantages:
Solderless on all versions
S.P. Adaptor can be purchased separately and used with any chip

Disadvantages
Pricy, especially with S.P. adaptor
Difficult to use OS


SmartXX/SmartXX V2:
Now if you *MUST* have all the bells and whistles of a gen4 chip (although most people will never use these features, and most can be replicated by a deacent evox or UnleashX boot cd) this is what i would recommend, the flash-over-HTTP is the easiest flashing method i have seen and it has the largest bios bank of any chip on the market today.

**EDIT** Just to clarify, before anyone says anything, this review is of the chip itself, and NOT the team that created it.

Advanatges:
Inexpensive (compared to other Gen4 chips)
Largest flashrom
Easy to use OS

Disadvantages:
No 1st party solderless solution
Expensive compared to non-gen4 chips

Xecuter3/Xecuter3 CE:
Ok, I have never used one of these chips, so I really cant say much about it, although from what i have heard its not all its cracked up to be. Any reviews are welcome

Advantages:
Trusted name
Can use special x3 bios

Disadvantages:
Pricy
Expensive control panel add-on


Gen3b Chips:
The main advantage of these chips is the price, they are generally half the price (or less) of Gen4 chips, they do not feature onboard OS's but many have switch-less install options (using the power button for enable or disable)

Xecuter2.x:
This is a good solid chip if you want multiple bios banks but dont want to spend much.

Advantages:
Trusted name
Multiple bios banks

Disadvantages:
Pricy (compared to other Gen3b chips)

SpiderChip:
I've never used this chip either, but just looking at it it looks very flimsy. I haven't heard much good about it either.

Advantages:
Solderless on all versions

Disadvanatges:
Flimsy design, easy to come loose on 1.6/1.6b
256k flashrom cannot hold new x2 bios

DuoX2:
Very inexepsnive and solid chip.

Advanatges:
512k flashrom allows use of any current bios

Disadvanatges:
No solderless option (must solder pinheader socket to use S.P. adaptor)

Aladdin/Aladdin Advance/Aladdin XT:
These are the chips I have used the most, they are very cheap and very effective

Advanatges:
Least expensive chip out there (as far as I know)
Socketed flashrom makes for easy repairing of bad flashes

Disadvanatges:
Many (MANY) clones/fakes
256k flashrom cannot hold new x2 bios


TSOP Flash:
This is my personal favorite mod, it replicates all but one feature of a single-bank modchip, the one thing you cant do is turn it off, but if you don't use Live theres no need to turn it off. Additionally, if you have a 1.0 or 1.1 you can split the TSOP into up to 4 banks (meaning you CAN turn it off for Live). However, if you have a 1.6/1.6b there is no TSOP, and the bios chip cannot be flashed

Advantages:
Free

Disadvantages:
Harder to recover a bad flash
256k TSOP on 1.2-1.5 cannot hold new x2 bios


Softmod:
This is a process of exploiting the software on the xbox, it can be done without even opening the case (however it DOES techncially void the warranty) However, since it requires you to boot the MS bios HD upgrading must be done with caution, the drive MUST be lockable, and you must keep all MS software on the drive. Also, since it loads under the MS kernel coldbooting a game can trigger a dashboard update and wipe your mod.

Advantages:
Free
Can be performed on all versions
Coldbooting games is safe for Live

Disadvanatges:
Unstable
Requires MS bios to boot
Coldbooting for Live can result in a dashboard update and overwrite the mod
HD upgrades are much more difficult than with other mods








Feel free to post reviews of modchips in this thread, but please don't spam it with questions of "good post" comments, I will split these out and put them in another thread

Edited by lordvader129, 13 October 2005 - 08:31 PM.


#2 cmiz

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Posted 19 May 2005 - 03:51 AM

a very clear, concise and information rich guide...if only newbies read this stuff, there'd probably be half as many questions...thanks for putting forth the effort to educate.

i suppose i'd note that for softmods:
1) you don't actually have to have all MS software...all you actually need is the UXE bootstrap (a former update.xbe renamed to xboxdash.xbe) and then the hacked fonts load up your kernel patcher which loads your dash.
2) when coldbooting a game, a dashupdate will load the hacked fonts and error out so it won't hurt your setup.

i also believe that the duox2 has 2x 512k bioses (one for backup)

hope this didn't seem too nitpicky...

Edited by cmiz, 19 May 2005 - 03:52 AM.


#3 ItchyB

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Posted 19 May 2005 - 06:17 AM

Great information, only thing is that the Xenium can be quickbooted to a slected BIOS you dont always have to use the launch menu.

All we need now is for people to read this info before posting

beerchug.gif

#4 darkness400

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Posted 19 May 2005 - 10:51 PM

I'm just getting into the mod scene and haven't yet purchased a chip, but I was going to go with the Xenium SP Ice, until you gave it a rather bad review. Now I'm considering the SmartXX V2, but is it solderless like the Xenium is, or can you purchase a 3rd party solderless kit for it?

Since this will be my first mod, this information has definitely helped out a lot, and now I know the disadvantages of each type of mod. I was thinking about softmodding, but I want to use Xbox live still, so that took it out of the question.

Now there is one thing I'm gonna ask... Do some dashboards (Evo, UltimateX) work better on different modchips, or will they all work the same?



#5 sheliak

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Posted 20 May 2005 - 01:23 AM

Just to clear up a few errors, I have the old Xenium (blue) and a Xenium ICE, both have 1MB of flashable bios banks. The only actual difference I can find between the two is the version of Xenium OS that they come pre-loaded with and that can be updated manually. I didn't find their OS that difficult to use nor did I find flashing them that difficult. I must admit I like the old OS (v1.1) better though. The iceguide they have at their site is very thourough. My advice, get a v1.0 or v1.1 and do the split TSOP. If you don't care about Live then a v1.2-v1.5 is also fine. If you must buy a chip, I'd get a Xenium. If you have a v1.6 try to trade it for an older version. Personally, if I had a v1.6 and couldn't solder, I would softmod it before I bought a solderless chip. I have done an LPC rebuild and I can't see how any solderless solution could be reliable on a v1.6.

#6 nj12nets

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Posted 20 May 2005 - 02:52 AM

most of my experience is with xenium ice but if you use os 2.3.0 it is very easy to flash and you don't need to name it bios.bin just pace anywhere on your hard drive and u can select it manually. also you can quick boot (turn on n press a or b for corresponding bios) or direct boot (choose a bios to load on power button) and eject to load os. the xenium ice in my opinion is a good chip without unneeded addons like an lcd. also the hdd upgrade feature is easy and i don't actually know if theres an easier way to upgrade your hdd.

edit: having seen a SPICE adapter on an xbox it is incredibly sturdy, even those 4 gold wires attatched to it are pretty good.

Edited by nj12nets, 20 May 2005 - 02:53 AM.


#7 X-Maniac2B

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Posted 21 May 2005 - 02:26 AM

uhh.gif ohmy.gif i regret to say that i am such a newb and am so utterly confused that i was wondering if some one could explain more clearly the language of mods and tell me in plain english wat the chips can do.

p.s.-plzzzz help me i am soooo lost.....

#8 mlapaglia

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Posted 22 May 2005 - 05:39 PM

i've used xecuter 3's quite a lot in my modding from people in indiana. The chip is very easy to install, and one step flashing over the network is a breeze, just load the bios and hit flash on your computer and your set, no more configurations. if you want to configure the boot methods it can all be done from the x3 config live by holding down the white button during the boot process, where you are presented with numerous little tweaks to the blob animation and such forth. the chip is very stable, i haven't had one customer have a chip go bad, and the bios is stable as well.

it is a little pricy though, but the money is well spent. Great customer support and forum's on their site for anything that should go wrong.

#9 blue bandicoot

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Posted 22 May 2005 - 09:17 PM

i heard x3's are great. i hear the x3 bios and x3 bios config are great. also, getting banned with an x3 i hear is very rare. i am going to get one installed soon, hopefully this week.

#10 KyrinRPG

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Posted 23 May 2005 - 09:52 AM

I just bought a Xecutor 3 CE. For only $49.99 ublike $58 at System Mods. And theres alot of stuff to make ur Xbox better LCD and makes it better. Unlike other modchips that don't do this. 15 options for Bios. More than any other that I seen so far. And I'd never go to softmodding again. You can't get online. That is why I bought the chip biggrin.gif . This will be my first mod chip so I hope it goes good. I have had read any trouble with the chip except for people doing the soldering wrong and breaking traces. And if you don't want to deal with soldering then get the solderless adapter. My advice Modchip over a softmod. Cause I screwed up my other Xbox with softmodding and never will do it again. Plus I love Xbox Live. Still got what 4 months still left on my Account. And I don't want to be stuck playing laggy Xlink or XBC.

#11 arval

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Posted 25 May 2005 - 12:19 AM

it all sounds good but now i dont know which chip to get smartxx or executer3 ce?

#12 Xtrem

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Posted 25 May 2005 - 01:07 PM

QUOTE(arval @ May 24 2005, 08:30 PM)
it all sounds good but now i dont know which chip to get smartxx or executer3 ce?

Its A Personal Choice.

#13 darkness400

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Posted 25 May 2005 - 08:09 PM

Get the Xenium SPice as it comes with a solderless adapter if you don't know how to solder.

#14 Element_N

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Posted 30 May 2005 - 11:15 PM

Why do newbies not read the pinned section. Some one should make everyone who signs up from now on read the rules fully and completely, and ask them to read the pinned section. Or at least if they ask a question that could easily be found, close it down. ph34r.gif

#15 austin987

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Posted 31 May 2005 - 08:54 AM

Opinions seem a little xecuter biased. Most chips are rated on whether they can or can't hold x2 bios. Furthermore, xecuter is *not* a trusted name in modding. Look at the x2.* bug (only loads xecuter bioses on bank 1, not evox or ind-bios). Even after 6 revisions, hasn't been fixed. Their customer support on IRC is horrendous, noobs are banned before allowed to ask questions. Though I would personally get a xenium ice or smartxx, don't be fooled. I'm simply trying to say that xecuter is not a trusted name in modding, and should be avoided. Yes, it works. Yes, the lcd looks cool. But when it comes right down to it, the other chips have better support, options, features, and prices.




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