So I just got into modding about a month ago after reading about it online. I bought a used Xbox from a friend of a friend with two controllers and 5 games for $75. I have since softmodded my box, got most of the emulators to work (VirtualBoy & Mame acting funny), put in a 320GB Seagate, ATA133 cable I had laying around, and as soon as I get the thermal paste in the mail I am going to add a heatsink to the Nvidia chip.
I also got a new grille in the mail for my truck, but the chrome was screwed up in a couple places so I ended up with it for free. To test out the spraypaint chrome I have heard various good and bad things about online, I decided to paint my Xbox. I neglected to mask properly so there are some razor marks in the plastic that have caused the paint to appear raised in some places. It actually looks better than it appears in the pics as far as that is concerned, though up close you can notice some of the gouges and dust in my paint.
Things I learned:
1. Xbox Rocks (former PS2 guy)
2. Softmod with HD upgrade is easy as pie
3. Emulators are excellent but can be a headache
4. Prying an old heatsink off an ancient board can result in a screw driver taking a big chunk out of your palm... and the screaming/cursing that follows scares the cat
5. IDE cable upgrade DOES improve load times off the hard drive (stopwatch w/ Halo 2 load from same point - crap IDE cable = 48.57sec... ATA133 cable = 21.98sec... Average from two back to back tests)
6. Dropping screws down under your mainboard bites
7. Chrome spraypaint... good for Xbox... Not so good for Ford Ranger grille
8. Goof Off is money
9. Hair dryer jewel removal method works really well with patience
10. Yelling at your old lady for running the dryer after you have painted your Xbox in the basement because it lead to dust particles sticking in your paint will make you the proud winner of no action for a week