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XBox Alpha Development Kit Build Log
N64 freak posted a topic in Hardware ModsAs there might be a couple people out there who want to own an Xbox Alpha Development kit but don’t want to spend the Cash they cost I thought I just write up a guide how to build one yourself with off the shelf parts! This is not the first guide about this topic out there but hopefully the most detailed and helpfull! I’m going to do this as a picture supported step-by-step guide so it should be easy to follow for anybody. Let’s start with the parts used in the Alpha2 Console: -Intel VC820 Desktop Board -128MB RD Ram (Kingston KVR800X 18-8/128) -733Mhz Slot 1 CPU (Part number SL3XN) -250Watt ATX PSU (ATNG Model: PS-250S) -20GB IDE HDD (Fujitsu MPF3204AT) -3,5” FDD (Sony MPF920-C) -DVD Drive (Hitachi GD-7000) -64MB Geforce3 (180-P0050-0000-A05) -Network Card (Intel Pro/100) -Soundcard (Wolfson Micronics WM9707_AMR_EV1_Rev2) -USB Card (Xircom Portgear PGPCI2 ) Now on to the parts you need to buy for a basic bootable setup: -Intel VC820 Desktop Board (CC820 should also work!) -128MB RD Ram -733Mhz Slot1 CPU -Any ATX PSU 250Watt or more -IDE HDD 20GB or bigger -Any DVD Drive that reads self-burned CD-r -64mb Geforce 3 NV20 Video Card ->more details a bit later! -Intel Pro/100 Network Card That’s the minimum that is needed to get the alpha to boot the recovery CD. If you want to be able to do anything except looking at the Recovery Screen you need some more parts: -2 Port USB Card that uses an Opti Firelink 82C861 Chipset -Xbox Controller to USB Adapter +Xbox Controller -Wolfson Micronics Soundcard (or the recreated Version) -Any Case to install it all to. (The original case for the alphas is the GlobalWin YCC-802) That’s how my stack off parts for the alpha looks like: Once you have all the parts together let’s start by putting it together! Guess I don’t have to cover how to install the CPU, Ram, Video Card, PSU, Network card, Audio Card and the Drives. The end result should look like this. It’s not important in which pci port the usb and lan card are installed. BUT it is important that the lan card is installed as the Alpha won’t boot otherwise!!! When it’s all put together turn it on and check that it properly posts and there are no errors or whatever before continuing! Now on to burning a recovery CD! (Thanks to Borman for releasing the May2001 Alpha2 recovery! All credit goes to him for the release!) You can find the files in the download section and can simply download them. Here's a direct link to the files on an external Server: Alpha Recoveries and VGA Bios Once downloaded just use ImgBurn (or any other iso burning software) to write the May2001 recovery to a cd-r disc. Pop that disc into the DVD drive off your alpha and you should see the Xbox animation and should be greated by this recovery Screen afterwards: Now (if you haven’t done it earlier) plug in the Controller using the matching adapter and Press any button to start the recovery. The progress bar should show how far the progress is. It shouldn’t take any longer than 5 Minutes to finish and you will see this screen. Then remove the recovery disc from the drive and reboot. You should then be greeted by the following screen where you can set a name for your alpha console. Congratulations your Alpha Development kit is now fully working and ready to be used! Soundcard: I recreated the Soundcard to build a completely working alpha kit for myself as the original Alpha soundcards are as rare as the original alphas. If you need one for your build just drop me a message and I can build a couple more! Graphics Card: The video card is an important part of this build so here’s a little extra information about that part. The Card needs to be an NV20 Core Card with 64mb. 32MB cards might also work but we want to be as close as possible so buy a 64mb card to not get into trouble! I successfully tested 2 card from 2 different vendors: -Medion MS-8838 Geforce3 200ti -MVGA-NVG3T2A 64MB Many other NV20 core cards should work and I gladly extend that list if you used another card on your build! J Flashing the engineering Bios is NOT needed it is only a cosmeticall detail you might enjoy. The motherboard does also not need to be on a special Bios version or anything. Troubleshooting: You Get a blinking black cursor and no Xbox boot animation? ->You might have forgotten to install the Lan card, got a wrong one or your Nvidia Card is not supported! Your DVD-drive doesn’t spin up and you end up with an intel Network card boot/bios Screen? ->Something might have gone wrong with the CD you burned or your drive can’t read the cd-r! Could also be a problem with the boot order! Check that in the Bios the dvd drive should be the first boot device! If you have any questions about the build or anything just drop me a PM!
Album: https://imgur.com/a/ptzp4Vl Saw this pop up for sale locally and made the trip to pick it up. He said his father-in-law was an IT contractor, and apparently he originally got the case empty. I got back home and opened it up to find the original case hardware kit sealed in its cardboard box, taped inside the drive bay next to a power cable in a bag. A silica gel pack was taped to the floor of the case. The IO connectors were zip tied together, tucked away in a corner. I am extra certain this case was never used, because the metal plate covering the DVD drive bay was not punched out. My assumption is that Microsoft ordered cases from a supplier (says Yeou Chih on the inside) and hand-assembled all 50 units themselves in Redmond. I'm guessing that this case was one that either arrived damaged, or just never got used. If there were rumored to be 50 units, then I suppose this is unit 51. The date code on the back is 4-18-01. I'm not entirely sure what to do with it. The inside is perfect, but the outside is a bit rough from kicking around in a basement. Ideally, I'd like to purchase the parts to remake the Alpha tower like N64 Freak did, but considering how difficult it is to find the Intel motherboard at a reasonable price I'm not sure how likely that is to happen. Maybe another 820 chipset board would work instead? I'm seeing a few similar candidates that are half the price of the Intel board. Another option I'm considering is building a similarly-specced PC inside and installing Windows 2000 for some Halo action. All I've done so far is clean it up. Thoughts?
Hey guys I got lucky recently and scored an Alpha II from an e-waste recycler. Unfortunately the HDD was taken out, I've got a new one in there but I'm not sure if there's any full-recovery available. I found N64 freak's build log so I'm feeling a bit dumb - but I don't think that the full recovery could be only 13MB right? Anyway, I guess what I'm asking is if anyone has any disk images they could share :). Here's some pics from the seller, it has a different front panel(with lots of masking tape residue), but it's definitely real.
Board Life Status
Board startup date: April 23, 2017 12:45:48