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HandOfReason # Posted on 2011-12-19 at 12:17AM UTC
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My knowledge is limited on which Xbox Slims have drives that can be modded, so somebody else will have to address that. I’m chiming in however to answer your question about the softmod/hardmod stuff.

The two type of “mods” that exist for the Xbox 360 are the DVD drive firmware flashing, and then the JTAG route. The former is much more typical than the latter, mostly because of the difficulty of JTAGing and the formerly limited availability of exploitable Xboxes that could even be JTAGed. Before going into that, it should be clear that the DVD firmware flash ONLY allows the Xbox 360 to play backup games. It’s a rather simple process that involves disassembling the Xbox, pulling out the drive, connecting it to a computer, and then using a program to flash the correct firmware on the drive, then reassembling. You’ll find tutorials on places like Xbox360iso (requires registration to view forums) that will tell you which compatible hardware you will need to perform this task. Certain drives require extra hardware, like probes, to successfully flash a DVD drive, but again, all that is covered in the tutorials.

JTAGs essentially open up the Xbox to run unsigned code (homebrew), which in turn allows for things like emulators and programs that can run a game without the disc. There has been a lot of effort in this arena for making a smooth, seemless integration for emulators and other programs into the native Xbox experience, namely Fresstyle Dash. Nonetheless, to get access to any of this, your console needs to be JTAGed, and again, Xbox360iso’s JTAG tutorial section will be helpful. It requires soldering and a comfort with hardware and software environments, but if you aren’t afraid to get your hands dirty, a well-built tutorial can lead you through it. Since you are getting a Slim, you will be looking for tutorials on how to do a Reset Glitch hack, which require a bit more experience then the former method for JTAGing.

In my opinion, JTAGing might be something you should consider paying for if it feels overwhelming. A system should only need to be hacked once, and then all software can be updated easily on your own over time. Learning how to flash your own Xbox’s DVD drive is handy, on the other hand, because of the cat and mouse nature of Microsoft and the iXtreme firmware developers. You could end up paying someone to update your Xbox’s mod several times a year if Microsoft is feeling frisky.

But check out those tutorials (or tutorials elsewhere) as many knowledgeable people have gone through the effort of creating them specifically for this reason. Good luck.