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This review was done by Iretch of XBox
Xodus/Matrix Review - iretch @ 03:01 CST
An XboxHacker.NET in-depth review by iretch
-1 Locking washer
Received the package- a stiff cardboard envelope with thick
bubble padding in the inside. The envelope was somewhat smooshed
up and I feared the chip might be damaged, but upon opening
I found that it was perfectly okay. I suggest to Easybuy to
perhaps use better packaging for such a thick object in the
future, something might get damaged.
First thing I noticed was the overall build quality of the
mod and programmer is excellent, feels very solid. The mod
is noticeably more intricate than any so far. The main part
of the unit is the SST 49lf020, a 256k (2mbit) chip (A native
LPC chip) in PLCC packaging which supports both LPC and Parallel
programming modes. This means the chip is able to be programmed
through software on the Xbox, an excellent feature and one
that is unique to the Xodus. The spring loaded pins on the
bottom of the mod are gold plated, and seem to be of good
quality. The tips on the pins are rounded, like a ball point
pen, and give under pressure to ensure as close to a perfect
fit as possible. There is a secondary chip which controls
the LEDs for testing and diagnostics, it is not a controller
like on other mods.
Secure a fresh 9v battery (not supplied) onto the programmer,
and then attach the mod. It is now safe to plug the mod into
the parallel port on your computer (I have received word from
someone on the Xodus team that it can potentially cause problems
if you attach the mod after the programmer is plugged in)
This is where one of my few gripes with the mod comes in:
When both units are attached, it is very heavy and bulky (especially
with the battery) and can get in the way of nearby plugs or
components or cause damage to the mod or computer if something
were dropped on it. Just be extra careful around it; maybe
go so far as to hold it up.
The Xodus uses Milk, which is programming software written
by the famous Numbnut. As I have windows, I used wmilk.exe
and the included .dll. Following the directions provided in
the recently released Xodus_Matrix_Manual.pdf
I was able to program the chip fairly easily. Since the Xodus
is a 256k chip, you can only use Retail BIOSes,
(EvoX, Xecuter, etc) and none of the larger BIOSes such as
Debug or the old Linux bios.
I first removed the case and drives. I did a quick cleaning
of the LPC header with some rubbing alcohol for good measure.
First things first, be sure the chip is in Mode 1 (both switches
in ON position.) Remove the torx screw nearest the LPC header,
place the locking washer over the hole, place the chip in
alignment over the hole, then drop the screw down and give
it a couple turns to get it slightly fastened. Next to the
ground pin (the one protruding from the main part of the chip)
are 3 small holes. Push down evenly on the chip so it lowers
down completely, and look through the holes so they are lined
up with the 3 holes below. When you are fairly sure the chip
is lined up correctly, power on the system while keeping it
held down. If you have it perfect already, the LED will blink
green, if not, it will flash red and you need to make a slight
adjustment to get it lined up perfectly. Once it is, it will
turn green and you can finish screwing the chip down. Be sure
not to use too much pressure, as it could cause potentially
damage something. Then just put everything back together!
The whole process took me less than 3 minutes (and only about
15 seconds for the mod itself) which is unheard of previous
The meat and potatoes:
In the name of science, I shook my Xbox repeatedly while it
was on in an attempt to dislodge the chip, but it remained
working. Only with a *LOT* of force I was able to twist the
mod to get the LED to turn red, but as soon as I let go, it
went back to green. So for all of you who have been arguing
this mod is insecure; it is not true at all.
I tested a whole range of BIOSes, all of which worked perfectly.
Unfortunately, the software to program the BIOS from the Xbox
itself is not yet available, so I had to manually remove the
chip each time, but it should be out soon hopefully.
All homebrew software which I have tested works, including
Linux (0.4). All original discs have also worked perfectly,
and in my time testing I havent noticed any stability
problems in games (Some LPC mods have this problem.) I would
also like to dispel rumors that this chip does not work in
very old Xboxes, as mine is manufactured in October of 2001
and purchased on release day.
This is the perfect mod for 99% of all users. Right now, only
a developer or hardcore hacker would need to consider a mod
with 512k support. The Xodus no solder installation
might make some uneasy, but I feel this mod is as reliable
as any standard solder mod. This should open up Xbox modification
and its benefits to the mainstream. The high price of the
mod ($59) is warranted by its overall quality and new approach
to installation, but it is still more expensive than any other
mod out there. With all the features added up, this should
put it in direct competition with the current best mod on
the market- the PC-Bioxx (which has support for full sized
BIOSes but requires soldering and is priced at $49)
Very easy and quick to install.
Excellent LED Alignment feature
Multiple operating modes
No Xbox flashing software available yet
Build quality: 10
Ease of installation: 10
Preparation for installation for me was slightly difficult,
as I had to move my homebrew chip to clear room for the LPC
(You may see the wires in the pictures which I will release
soon, they are not part of the Xodus) In the future when installing
a homebrew chip, I suggest everyone leaves the LPC space clear
so as not to interfere with possible future upgrades.
a Matrix programmable mod here.
chip website (for Manual+Pictures)