Thursday, 20 December 2012

Cables and Components Assignment

Cables and Components Assignment
This assignment was the second part of our Gaming Platforms section, we had to write notes and memorise 3 or more components on an Xbox 360 motherboard to then point them out and explain what they do whilst being taped. The second part of this was to set up an Xbox 360 by plugging in:
  • AV Cables
  • x2 Controllers
  • Power Cable
  • Hard Drive.
So here are my notes:

Xbox 360 motherboard components:

·         CPU

·         GPU

·         ROM/ RAM

·         Ethernet Jack / Ctrl

·         Single USB Port

·         AV Cable Port

·         CPU/TMDS Transmitters

·         4-pin power connector( similar to ATX12U)

·         SATA data connector/ interface

·         Memory Cards

·         Operating System

·         NAND Flash device

·         TV encoder- located on the Xenos GPU itself

·         100 Mbit Phy

·         Southbridge/ Northbridge

·         ANA

·         Power

·         eDram

·         Heatsink

CPU Notes

o   The CPU is like the brains of the computer and also called the processor or central processor

o   CPU needs a heatsink and fan because without them the central processing bit, will over-heat resulting in it melting or burning out.

o   The computer code is basically mathematics. For example imagine you wanted to do simple arithmetic like 12/2, you’ll type this on your keyboard. The keyboard will then turn this information into a sequence of ones and zeros (programming computer code) The information is then registered an sent to the CPU for analysis, where it gives additional logic required and uses the inbuilt logic to send the actual answer.

o   CPU allows you to operate software and of course there’s no connection between the power of the computer and the work of the CPU.

o   The more powerful a CPU is the more software you can run on it a top-of-the-line CPU will perform tasks more quickly.

o   CPU’s performance is within the central processor. The chip’s design, architecture, clock speed and memory caches all influence how quickly the CPU can perform tasks.

o   External performance refers to the rest of the system

o   The amount of RAM the capacity of the data bus and the motherboard circuitry all influence the CPU

o   More RAM= better CPU performance and make sure your system is a good match for the processor.

XBOX 360 CPU Notes:

The XCPU named Xenon is a custom triple-core 64-bit PowerPC-based design that emphasises high performance through multiple FPU and SIMD vector processors in each core. It has a supposed  peak performance of 115.2 gigaFLOPS and is capable of 9.6 billion dot products per second. Each core of the CPU is able to complete simultaneous multithreading and works at 3.2 GHz.

A 21.6 GB/s front side bus, aggregated 10.8 GB/s upstream and downstream, connected Xenon with the graphics processor/northbridge. Xenon was equipped with a 1 MB Level 2 cache which is shared amongst the three CPU cores. The CPU also contains ROM storing Microsoft private encrypted keys that are used to decrypt game data. The heat sink executed to cool the Xenon CPU is composed of aluminium fins with a copper base, and a heat pipe. Newer revisions, which have a smaller core do not use the heart pipe and copper base, but instead uses two fans at the rear of the Xbox 360 S consoles.


GPU Notes

The GPU is a specialized electronic circuit designed to swiftly manipulate and alter memory to quicken the building of images in a frame buffer used for output to a display. GPUs are used in embedded systems, mobile phones, personal computers, workstations, and game consoles. Modern GPUs are very efficient at manipulating computer graphics, and their highly parallel structure makes them more effective than general-purpose CPUs for algorithms where processing of large blocks of data is done in parallel. They can be integrated onto the motherboard or found on a video card.

However nowadays GPUs have become more advanced where they use most of their transistors to do calculations related to 3D computer graphics. Initially there were used to accelerate the memory-intensive work of texture mapping and rendering polygons, only to then later add units that accelerate geometric calculations such as the rotation and translation of vertices into different coordinate systems. Recent developments in GPUs include support for programmable shaders which can change vertices and textures with many of the same operations supported by CPUs, oversampling and interpolation techniques to reduce aliasing, and very high-precision colour spaces.

Even now today's GPUs include basic 2D acceleration and frame buffer capabilities (used in conjunction with a VGA compatibility mode). Newer cards like AMD/ATI HD5000-HD7000 even lack 2D acceleration; it has to be emulated by 3D hardware.

XBOX 360 GPU Notes:


GPU works at a clock speed of 500 MHz and has a 10 MB eDRAM daughter-die where the Xenos can do 4× FSAA, z-buffering, and alpha blending with no substantial performance penalty on the GPU. It also contains additional capabilities typically separated into a motherboard chipset in PC systems, effectively replacing the northbridge chip. Due to the GPU frequently overheating in early motherboard models, Microsoft revised the GPU heat sink in order to better move heat away from the GPU die though not completely.

Memory (RAM and e DRAM) Notes:

RAM (Random Access Memory) is the most important component of a computer, mobile phones and consoles. There are products of RAM such as DRAM (Dynamic Random Access Memory) which work more efficiently- however the key thing is you must have enough of any type of RAM for your item. Without a sufficient amount it will over-work your console, computer or phone because it will takes ages before for every activity or program to reload.


RAM is the memory that allows the user to keep many programs open at once. The more the RAM there is the more programs can be kept open without the system freezing which can be quite annoying. The RAM is where the programs are kept so you can move between them therefore if there is insufficient memory, there will be a lag because the information needed at the time cannot be handled by the RAM meaning you must close some programs to counteract this problem. If more RAM is needed, it can be easily put in;just make sure the computer you purchase allows you to put in more RAM.

XBOX 360 RAM/ e DRAM Notes:

The XBOX 360 features 512 MB of GDDR3 RAM clocked at 700 MHz with an operative transmission rate of 1.4 GHz on a 128-bit bus. The memory is shared by the CPU and the GPU because of the unified memory architecture.

The eDRAM internal logic to its internal memory bandwidth is 256 Gbit/s. The high bandwidth is used for z-buffering, alpha blending, and antialiasing which saves time and space on the GPU die. Between the eDRAM die and the GPU, data is transferred at 32 GB/s; the memory interface bus has a bandwidth of 22.40 GB/s and the southbridge a bandwidth of 500 MB/s.







Northbridge and Southbridge Notes:

Northbridge and Southbridge are two support chips that make up the core logic chipset on a motherboard. The function of the north bridge is to handle transmissions between the CPU chip itself and with the memory bus and graphics bus. The function of the southbridge however, is to handle communication between the north bridge and the peripheral buses  APM/ACPI (power management), PCI/PCIe x1 Bus, AC97/HDA (audio), SATA/USB/LAN ports, other devices. Without them the CPU is useless because it is unable to communicate with the motherboard and the other components.

XBOX 360 Connectors and Cables Notes:

The power connectors on the back of these systems incorporate a "keying" system that will prevent plugging an awful lower-rated power supply into an older system which will sadly need more power. On the other hand keying system does allow older power supplies to be connected to newer systems therefore posing no problems. The first motherboard version was known as "Xenon" and used a 203 watt power supply whilst lacking an HDMI video port. The HDMI port became an addition to the Xbox 360 motherboard after Xenon was reviewed and called Zephyr which was a larger version of Xenon but with the HDMI and an improved heatsink.

Falcon combined a newer CPU, the GPU and required less power so it came packaged with a 175 watt power supply.

 Jasper used both a 65 nm CPU and GPU, as well as 256 MB of on-board flash memory-without the addition of this internal memory, a hard disk drive or memory card is required. It also needed less power to run meaning the power supply was also reduced to 150 watts.

Xbox 360 S introduced a new motherboard version called Trinity that held a 45 nm integrated CPU, GPU, and eDRAM, then later modernised in 2011 with a second model of the Xbox 360 S motherboard known to be Corona which integrates the HANA chip into the southbridge .

XBOX 360 Storage Notes:

Xbox 360 uses standard SATA hard disk drives, these units have a connector to enable connection to the Xbox 360 and the drives themselves feature custom firmware meaning it makes stand-alone drives incompatible. SATA hard disk drives are detachable, making it possible to move data from one console to another and then allows the consumer to upgrade the size of drive on a console. One of the companies that manufacture these hard drives (Western Digital) lets people modify the drives with a program called HDDHackr in conjunction with the Xbox 360.

7 -60 GB drive is reserved for system use meaning that 4 GB of that portion is reserved for game title caching and other hard drive specific elements in games that support the hard drive as well as an additional 2 GB which is reserved for use by the Xbox 360 backwards-compatibility software. This then leaves just under 54 GB of free space that’s rounded down to 53 GB in the dashboard for saving game files, Xbox Live Arcade downloadable content, and media files.

Original Pro configuration: 20GB HDD- updated to 60 GB HDD in September 2008

Elite Console: 120 GB HDD released in April 2007

Super Elite Console (bundled with Modern Warfare 2): 250 GB HDD released in November 2009

Xbox 360 S (Gears of War 3 Limited Collector's Edition) : 320 GB HDD released in June 2012

7 -60 GB drive is reserved for system use meaning that 4 GB of that portion is reserved for game title caching and other hard drive specific elements in games that support the hard drive as well as an additional 2 GB which is reserved for use by the Xbox 360 backwards-compatibility software. This then leaves just under 54 GB of free space that’s rounded down to 53 GB in the dashboard for saving game files, Xbox Live Arcade downloadable content, and media files.

DVD Storage

Early Xbox 360’s are equipped with a 12x DVD drive- capable of a maximum read rate of 15.85 MB/s which is astounding. Xbox games are stored on standard dual-layer DVD-ROMs with 6.8 GB on the older Xbox Game Disc 2. However the modern XGD3 discs contain 7.8 GB of usable space available for game content. Later drive models have the external debug triggering removed and black hard glue added to cover all the chip and controller pins, now the drive is able to read both DVD±R and DVD±RW in addition to being able to play DVD-Video out of the box. The console is also capable of playing standard CDs along with CD-R/RW, CD-DA, CD-ROM XA, CD-Extra, WMA-CD, MP3-CD, and JPEG Photo CD.

A new drive was later released and it plays HD DVD movies, although all Xbox 360 games will remain on the DVD format. The drive connects to the Xbox 360 via USB and contains two integrated USB ports on the rear. Games can’t sadly be played on the HD DVD drive.


XBOX 360 Sound and Display Notes:

Xbox 360 is required to support at least Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound. It works with over 256 audio channels and 320 independent decompression channels using 32-bit processing for audio, with support for 48 kHz 16-bit sound. Sound files for games are encoded using Microsoft's XMA audio format. An MPEG-2 decoder is included for DVD video playback. VC-1 or WMV is used for streaming video and other video is compressed using VC-1 at non-HD NTSC and PAL resolutions or WMV HD. The Xbox 360 also supports H.263 and H.264 MPEG-4 videos. Voice communication is handled by the console allowing for cross-game communication.

Initially there were no digital video outputs such as DVI or HDMI on the Xbox 360; instead, HD-quality output could only be produced over YPBPR component video later going to VGA via a software update. An HDMI port was introduced to the Xbox 360 Elite model.  Now sll Xbox 360 SKUs currently manufactured feature an HDMI port. A wide array of SDTV and HDTV resolutions are supported by the console hardware up to 1080p after a software upgrade in October 2006 .

Most games are rendered at 720p and the video can be scaled by the hardware to whatever resolution the user has set in the console's settings; from 480i NTSC , 576i PAL all the way to 1080p HDTV.

XBOX 360 Networking Notes:

All Xbox 360 consoles come with a built-in 10/100 Ethernet network adapter. Branded USB Wi-Fi 802.11n and 802.11g adapters can be purchased separately. The Xbox 360 S also contains a built in wireless N 2.4 GHz networking.

Task 2- Cables and Connectors

Connectors and Cables Present:

·         USB Ports

·         USB Hub

·         Crossfire Wireless Gaming Receiver Adapter

·         Rechargeable Battery Pack Connector (via USB cable)

·         USB HID-compliant keyboards (via USB cable)

·         Infrared

·         External AC Adapter

·         External IR Receiver

·         Composite AV Cable

·         S-Video AV Cable

·         Advanced Scart AV Cable

·         Component HD AV Cable

·         D- Terminal HD AV Cable

·         VGA HD AV Cable

·         HDMI Cable

·         HDMI Audio Adapter

·         Composite SCART Adapter Block

·         HD DVD Player

XBOX 360 Cables and Components Notes

The Xbox 360 has various official AV cables allowing it to connect to a wide variety of audio and video equipment.

All official cables, except for the HDMI cable, connect to the Xbox 360's AV connector and are compatible with all Xbox 360 models. The analogue stereo audio is output by these cables by RCA connectors (with the exception of the Advanced SCART AV Cable) where it is delivered via the SCART connector's audio pins. Apart from the VGA HD AV Cable and HDMI Audio Adapter, all cables are also capable of outputting SD video at 480i/60 Hz and 576i/50 Hz.

 A TOSLINK optical S/PDIF connector was integrated into the AV connector of many pre-2010 (grey) Xbox 360 AV cables, allowing output of stereo LPCM, Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Digital with WMA Pro audio. All official AV-based cables block the HDMI port when plugged in to equipped models; on pre-2010 (grey) cables this is due to the size of the connector, while 2010 (black) cables feature a plastic tab for this purpose.


More XBOX 360 Storage Notes:

Optional detachable SATA hard drives are used for the storage of games, music, downloaded trailers, levels, demos, player preferences, and community-created content from Xbox Live Marketplace. It may also be used to transfer such content between Xbox 360 units. It is required to play original Xbox games and a select number of Xbox 360 games. The total capacity of the Xbox 360 Hard Drive is either 20 GB, 60 GB, 120 GB, 250 GB, or 320 GB.[37]


Initially 250 GB hard drives were only available through third-party manufacturers or through the purchase of a special-edition Xbox 360 console bundle,[38] but from 2010 it was being sold as a separate accessory in Japan,[39] North America[40] and the UK.[41] Currently the 320 GB hard drive is only available as part of either limited/special edition Xbox 360 S bundles[37] or as a separate purchase for Xbox 360 S consoles;[42] it is not available for original Xbox 360 models. Of the total storage capacity, approximately 6 GB is reserved for system use; around 4 GB of that portion is reserved for game title caching and other hard drive-specific elements in games that support the hard drive and an additional 2 GB is reserved for use by the Xbox 360 backwards-compatibility software.[43] This leaves users with approximately 14, 54, 114, 244, or 314 GB (displayed as 14, 52, 107, 228, or 292 GiB) of free space on the drive. Depending on the market, the hard drive comes preloaded with content, such as videos and Xbox Live Arcade games or demos.


Hard drives designed for the original models of Xbox 360 are not directly compatible with Xbox 360 S models and vice versa. However, if removed from its case, the 2.5" SATA hard drive within older model HDD units may be inserted into the Xbox 360 S hard drive slot and will function normally. On August 20, 2010, Microsoft announced a 250 GB stand-alone hard drive for use with Xbox 360 S models priced at US$129.99 The actual drives inside their respective casings are standard 2.5" (laptop-size) SATA hard disk drives loaded with special firmware. However, the Microsoft versions are notably more expensive than standard drives. Certain Western Digital hard drives can be modified with a program called HDDHackr to be used with the Xbox 360.

When sold separately some drives come with a data exchange transfer cable to facilitate moving data from one drive to another. The drive that is packaged with the Elite comes in black and a transfer cable is available from Microsoft by calling the Xbox 360 support hotline and paying US$20 plus tax, shipping and handling.

Memory units


Small, portable, flash-based memory devices allow the transfer of saved games, unique gamer profiles, and content downloaded from Xbox Live Marketplace to other Xbox 360 consoles. Sizes available are:

 64 MB memory card (Discontinued)

 256 MB memory card (Supplied only with the Xbox 360 Arcade package.) - (Discontinued)

 512 MB memory card (Was pre-loaded with the Xbox Live Arcade game Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved for a limited time.


Some game saves and downloaded content cannot be copied from hard drives to memory cards. What content cannot be moved is up to the discretion of the individual video game developers

USB Storage Devices


The Xbox 360 can read USB storage devices such as thumb drives, Microsoft Zune, Apple iPod (except iPod Touch and iPhone), mp3 players, PSPs, and hard drives, however an Optional Media Update is required to play music and other files from certain music players, this is available from the Xbox Live Marketplace. The devices which have been previously mentioned can be used to play music, or to view pictures and videos. The file systems FAT, FAT32 and HFS+ are supported but NTFS is not.

 Play Station 3 Comparison
To reach higher levels we had to compare components and cables of an Xbox 360 to a Play Station 3


  • Hard drives
  •   Bluray Drive
  •   Power Supply
  •   Multicard Reader
  •   System Software

  Peripherals ( HDMI Cables, Keyboard, Wireless Headset ect)



System Contoller





  Starship 2

  PS2 Compatability (EE/GS, Rambus, Bridgechip)




  Wireless Adapter

  Connectors ( GbLAN, HDMI, MultiAV, USB)


(Accessed on 20/11/12 at 20:00)

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(Accessed on 20/11/12 at 20:22)

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