A friend of mine asked back in May, Can you build an Xbox 360 laptop? And I responded, Sure, can you pay for it? He agreed, and thus I set forth on what was surely to be my most complex and insanely ridiculous videogame project yet.
Above you can see the board with the flattened caps. (That’s the cool, hip, geek slang term for capacitor you know) There are also several wound torrid coils on the board (yellowish things to the lower right of the tall heat sink) that would be a real pain to move so I left those standing as “the highest things on the motherboard” Still it’s not too bad, with the exception of the power port on the back nothing is more than 1/2″ above the motherboard now. You might also noticed I’ve also removed the front USB and memory card slots at this point. The front side USB connections will go to the keyboard / extra USB ports while the rear port will be used with the Wi-Fi module.
In my tentative system layout the hard drive is moved a good ways from the original connector. Since the stubby cord inside the Hard Drive Enclosure is, well, stubby, I had to see if extending the SATA cable was possible. The least destructive way of doing this was to de-solder the connector from the motherboard and extended between them, as seen above. The idea of extending the SATA cable with old parallel IDE cable was a bit humorous, to me at least. Naturally I didn’t copy every connection, since +5 and Ground are on there 3 times each. Why have excessive cabling?
I did a test boot and watched one of the videos off the drive (you know a system is quality when it comes pre-loaded with James Cameron) I then played games for about an hour. Nothing exploded or melted a hole through my floor so I think we’re good. I now feel OK to extend the DVD drive’s SATA if required – the existing cable is about 3″ long, but most replacement cables are 2′ minimum. I was worried when I read SATA doesn’t use TTL, but apparently it doesn’t exactly use magic either, so it’s still hackable. In the final version I’ll attach the gray ribbon cables directly to the colored wires coming off the hard drive’s connector, skipping the Microsoft plugs altogether.
This ends Phase 1 of the project. Next step – water cooling! The parts are on the way, I’m a bit worried about the pump though. It’s the smallest we could find, but it’s still big (for a project like this) Depending on its size I might have to build a new DVD drive loading system, just to make everything fit. Also in the experimental realm is the custom radiator I plan to build. The plan is it’ll fit in the space at the rear of the motherboard where the fans were, then external fans pull air through it. The idea is to put tubing in all available empty space to increase the volume. Some of the tubing might even be exposed around the case for decoration and cool backlighting. But will it run cold (I mean NOT HOT) enough?
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