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Modchip Vs Softmod


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Hello all.

I'm a new member of the forum and I have been playing around with the OG XBOx for a couple of years now. I never owned an XBOX before so my knowledge of the history is relatively limited. I do enjoy the versatility of the original XBOX, and I am amazed by the huge community and custom stuff that exists out there.

Some of the machines I acquire (~40%) come with the modchip installed, but still have the original HDD. In the past, I removed the modchip because I could not find any info about it, and proceeded with a softmod, disk upgrade and so on.

However, after I discovered this forum, I am having second thoughts and I am thinking maybe it is better to keep the modchip and follwo a differen approach.

So, the question is, if there's an advanctage of the old modchips (probable Alladin II, I think) versus the more recent softmods. 

thank you very much in advance! 

Michalis

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If you ask me it's hard mod(TSOP flash, Modchip) or nothing, Have a look at my signature.

Any TSOP flashable Xbox's (1.0 - 1.4) I get will be TSOP flashed  and if they have a mod chip that gets removed in favor of a TSOP flash, Then the chip will be fitted in a version 1.6.

With a hard mod you can easily upgrade the hard drive by fitting the new HDD and load an install disk (Slayers,Aid,Hexen) and follow the prompts

As the hard drive is unlocked if something happens to the Xbox the drive can easily swapped to a new Xbox.

With the hard modded Xbox you can easily clone the HDD and fit it to a newly hard modded Xbox and if you need/what to add more the 4 or 5 games at once the HDD can be connected to a PC then use FATXplorer to copy the files. Using FATXplorer you can easily fill a 2tb in 24 hours try that with FTP.

With the new digital HDMI internal kits it is recommended to run a mod chip or you can use a TSOP flash as long as you know how to recover from a bad flash.

 

 

Cheers

SS Dave


Soft modding is like masturbating, It gets the job done but it's nothing like the real thing.

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2 minutes ago, whyat said:

In my opinion a soft mod is only useful for getting your tsop flashed. After the tsop is flash you can remove it. It is too much of a pain in the neck to service when compared to a hard mod.

Thanks. As I said I'm relatively new to this hobby...I visited the flea market to search for old electronics needing repair, and I bought an old box for something like 5 Euros! I had no idea what to do with it, and that's how I ended up learning about the mods. To me, the softmod seemed the better option, and to be honest I had not investigated the TSOP that much. I don't want to deal with modchips due to the many options and the time I want to allocate to this activity. 

Anyway, I'm now glad I found this forum; it's a great place to find resources.... 

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TSOP isn't hard and since you already have a softmod the TSOP is just 2 solder points (bridges) away.

The first pic is for a 1.2 up to 1.4 xboxes. The second pic shows the 1.0 and 1.1 point of the underside of the board. The P2 point in the first pic is also the same on the 1.0/1.1 board.

As soon as you have both bridged you can write the TSOP with Slayers/Hexen or when it`s not a winbond or sharp TSOP with Evo-X or X-Flash. You just need 10 minutes of time, thats it.

12-15.jpg

1.0unter.jpg

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2 hours ago, whyat said:

In my opinion a soft mod is only useful for getting your tsop flashed. After the tsop is flash you can remove it. It is too much of a pain in the neck to service when compared to a hard mod.

I don't even softmod to TSOP flash.

Add the links as required

Copy 007AUF save hack to the Xbox

Load 007AUF and run the game save.

Flash TSOP.

DONE!!

 

Cheers

SS Dave


Soft modding is like masturbating, It gets the job done but it's nothing like the real thing.

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I'm a softmod fan so I'd recommend it to any noob but only as long as it practical (DVD drives dying are the biggest threat) and you're the only one ever going to use the Xbox concerned.

The greatest danger to a softmod comes from the uneducated fiddling with the C and E drives not anything inherent with softmodding. Indeed all the most recent softmods address this issue trying to make the installation as bullet proof as possible.

The fact is if you let other people, particularly small people 😀, use your softmodded Xbox they will stuff it up eventually. The solution is simple use the softmodded retail HDD as backup and store it safely along with its eeprom backed up to PC too. Consider that replacing the HDD with a bigger one is an essential part of the softmod process not as some later afterthought.

Once done your softmodded Xbox is as safe as it can be and you have that backup always available for those 'emergency' purposes.

TSOPs bother me. I've done one, I intend to do another but it is the least safe process of the lot. If you or circumstances beyond your control mess up the TSOP flash that's it. Its nigh on impossible fix and the only way you'll get to use the Xbox again is by fitting a chip. Since, ideally, you need a soldering iron and all the other associated paraphernalia to TSOP IMHO you'd be better off chipping he machine instead.

Remove chip and the Xbox is practically back to retail state. With a TSOP you're again going to have to do another potentially risky flash using retail BIOS. 

But as indicated chipping is not a simple or cheap process. Apart rom the soldering iron etc a magnifying aid is almost mandatory for all but those lucky ones with 20/20 vision. The tools you need plus the chip will cost you as much as another Xbox or more. Then there's the actual soldering to consider - it is not an easy job if you haven't done this kind of fine soldering work before. 

In short: softmodding still has a great deal to recommend it to the noob: cost and simplicity being it primary attraction.

Edited by HDShadow
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I like softmod. Simple and easy, very little or no risk to mess up. Since i have usb sata + ide combo adapter i have no problems locking and unlocking drive. i only see benefit of tsop or modchip if you want hardware mods like ram upgrade, and hdd not to be locked.

Function is identical compared to hardmod, with softmod you can use virtaul eeprom and still enjoy PAL intro instead of fugly washed-out NTSC intro.

For my needs softmod is perfect. I have tried hardmod, but pain in the ass to configure properly the way i want. TSOP is easy to mess up, if not familiar. And you have to make custom bios if you want to have quick in game reset, because for compatibility reasons most bios use full reset (some games freezes xbox when IGR is used).

For the price you can buy HDD USB adapter and build new HDD using key with 0 problems.

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1 hour ago, HDShadow said:

I'm a softmod fan so I'd recommend it to any noob but only as long as it practical (DVD drives dying are the biggest threat) and you're the only one ever going to use the Xbox concerned.

The greatest danger to a softmod comes from the uneducated fiddling with the C and E drives not anything inherent with softmodding. Indeed all the most recent softmods address this issue trying to make the installation as bullet proof as possible.

The fact is if you let other people, particularly small people 😀, use your softmodded Xbox they will stuff it up eventually. The solution is simple use the softmodded retail HDD as backup and store it safely along with its eeprom backed up to PC too. Consider that replacing the HDD with a bigger one is an essential part of the softmod process not as some later afterthought.

Once done your softmodded Xbox is as safe as it can be and you have that backup always available for those 'emergency' purposes.

TSOPs bother me. I've done one, I intend to do another but it is the least safe process of the lot. If you or circumstances beyond your control mess up the TSOP flash that's it. Its nigh on impossible fix and the only way you'll get to use the Xbox again is by fitting a chip. Since, ideally, you need a soldering iron and all the other associated paraphernalia to TSOP IMHO you'd be better off chipping he machine instead.

Remove chip and the Xbox is practically back to retail state. With a TSOP you're again going to have to do another potentially risky flash using retail BIOS. 

But as indicated chipping is not a simple or cheap process. Apart rom the soldering iron etc a magnifying aid is almost mandatory for all but those lucky ones with 20/20 vision. The tools you need plus the chip will cost you as much as another Xbox or more. Then there's the actual soldering to consider - it is not an easy job if you haven't done this kind of fine soldering work before. 

In short: softmodding still has a great deal to recommend it to the noob: cost and simplicity being it primary attraction.

When you say DVD drives dying are the biggest threat, are you saying that doing a softmod requires a DVD drive? My first mod I plan on just wanting to use a larger HDD so that I can hold the entire xbox library(or at least most of it) to reduce the need of having hard copies.

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It does require a fully working DVD drive to be able to run the exploitable game (Splinter Cell, 007 AUF etc).

You can prepare a softmod HDD using Xbox HDD Maker or on another chipped Xbox (my preferred method) but you still need the eeprom from the Xbox concerned to lock its HDD. You can't get that, at least not easily, unless you've softmodded the Xbox first............which requires a working DVD drive.

An eeprom reader can bypass that problem but that is a lot of hassle.

There is also the problem that if your DVD drive dies completely on a softmodded machine it won't boot anymore. There is a DVD drive check and unless the Xbox detects it you'll get an error screen. One of the increasingly important reasons for choosing the hardmod option is to be able to use a BIOS which does not include the DVD drive check.

The XBox's Achilles heel is the DVD drive and along with others I was predicting this problem on other Xbox forums a decade ago. Having lost three DVD drives over the last year, admittedly all from secondhand Xboxes, that prediction appears to be coming true. Minimizing DVD drive use now should be a priority however you mod the console.  

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5 minutes ago, HDShadow said:

Minimizing DVD drive use now should be a priority however you mod the console.

This is why I am looking it to making slim Xbox's as that removes the temptation to use the DVD drive for games and if you need to add a game there is FTP or FATXplorer.

The other way to hardmod is to temporary fit a modchip and then lock a HDD that has a softmod installed then remove the chip and boot to the soft mod and TSOP flash, You have to remember to unlock that drive for the next time you need it.

 

Cheers

SS Dave


Soft modding is like masturbating, It gets the job done but it's nothing like the real thing.

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4 hours ago, HDShadow said:

To long to quote. ;)

For a TSOP bridge you don't even need a iron. Just a little bit wire and some scotch tape or conductive paint or a pancil. and if you don't have any of it, you can to with just 10 cm kynar wire. When you look at the traces " R7D10" you have a hole before and after the bridge point (stick some wire in it) and "R7D1" has a hole after the bridge piont where you can fit one end of the wire in. The only "tricky" part is to hold the other end of the wire to the little resisor (you could also use a tiny peace of alufoil for this point, you just need a steady hand.  SO TSOP is possible without spending one cent (except for the needed game dvd). ;) For a 1.0 or 1.1 it's the same but, since one point is under the board you need at least some tape. :)

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I did say "ideally" in reference to bridging the required TSOP points. I was considering the use of conductive paint as the alternative.

I've tried it using just some Kynar wire and tape and I even considered super gluing a minute bridging wire in place but thought better of it. Other cheaper methods are indeed possible but that's not my main concern about TSOPs. It is the significant potential to render the Xbox unusable unless you fit a chip.

Yes, there are chips that will allow you to fix the TSOP problem but they cost more than a replacement Xbox which I think is a genuine a consideration in terms of the costs involved. 

In any case you still need to open up the Xbox (Torx screw drivers needed likely = new cost) to TSOP and except perhaps for the conductive paint method some form of hands free magnification too unless you have very good eyesight. Working flash drive and original game disc aside, which you may already have, softmodding is safest, easiest and likely cheapest method.

It also allows you to keep the Xbox in physical retail state which is something I know some other users are concerned about. I have a softmodded LE Green PAL Xbox I've specifically kept otherwise virgin. I do not want to sell it but if I did the value would be less if it had been opened, chipped or TSOPed.  

Just like the no-softmod TSOP method getting to the installer dashboard means you can FTP and get the eeprom off it and use that with XBHDM or lock a softmod prepared HDD created on chipped Xbox. I've done the latter myself a couple of times using AID's One Click Softmod install and locked it using Chimp 261812.        

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Thanks for all the replies!!!

I'm glad some soft-mod supporters replied as I thought I was the only one left!!

I have applied quite a few soft-mods on systems, and none have failed so far. I thought that this was the easiest method to mod an xobx, and relatively straight forward. I will admit that I thought it was the only mod method that is reversible, but from what I read now, TSOP is also reversible.

For sure I will give it a try so I can compare the methods myself. I havethe right tools and my soldering skills are ok for what is required in this case.

 

 

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Retail BIOS for the Xbox are available to download so a TSOP can be reverted back if necessary. I've not done it myself but when you backup your softmod eeprom using the EvoX tool it also includes the original BIOS.bin too. I assume that could be or even should be used but I'm not a BIOS expert at all so you'd need one of the guys here who are to confirm that.

Chipping too is reversible; if all you've done is fit a pin header rather than solder it in permanently a chip can just be removed and the D0 desoldered and that's it. You'd need to have a locked retail MS dash installed HDD for it to boot but short of opening up the Xbox and looking it would be back in original state.

Some chips have on/off switches on the outside so you can switch back to the retail dash, again as long as the HDD is correctly locked. With a chipped main dashboard the C:\ drive is just the retail MS one with the addition of an alternative dash launcher XBE which is what the chip looks for and uses. Chip off and it'll boot from the unmodified C:\xboxdash.xbe as normal.

With a softmod that is different and the xboxdash.xbe name is retasked. That's why you should never assume whatever any XBE does just by its name.

With SID/AID part of the softmod process is a mandatory backup of the pre-mod MS dash because when you use their Remove Softmod option that is what it uses to repopulate the C:\ drive.

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46 minutes ago, HDShadow said:

...super gluing...

Love it. :D

A allen key is enough to open it or you could also use a simple screwdriver. And you need a flash drive and the game dvd for the softmod as well so i can't let that count. ;)

Point is, before we write the next episode of "The Neverending Story" ;), when your dvd drive passes out and your hdd fails there is nothing more you can do.  Ofc it's a litle risky but not more as flashing a normal mod chip. You have more to lose if you don't have a drive and the HDD fails. I have flashed 8 TSOP's in the last days and guess what, i only manged to blow a old Aladdin Adv. (Which i have then turned in a CaveMod later on for a 1.6) but no TSOP (not even the Winbond).

Costs a side, the TSOP is, with a little bit of care, the best you could do. But we all have our own favorits which is totaly fine and good. Everything has his pro's and cons. If someone ask me here where i live, i would would suggest the TSOP over a modchip or softmod and in case he can't do because of missing tools or because he didn't have any money at all, i would offer him to do it so he would not need to buy anything at all.

Finaly a little self challange, i try to do the next TSOP without iron (i will use simple wire (non kynar), Torx (allen key/screwdriver is fine too) and the rest is all the stuff you also would need for a softmod. :)

Peace.

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What's wrong with Super Glue? 😀

If the tiny bridging wire is sitting on top of the two points (v1.2 - 1.4) a small drop of superglue would lock it into place. It is possible to get the bridging wire resting on top, its what I tried initially with the soldering. I thought if I just melted the solder each end it would connect but each time I tried that the bridging wire preferred to attach to the soldering iron or I knocked it off before the solder was set.

As said the Super Glue idea was only a passing thought.   

Edited by HDShadow
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7 minutes ago, HDShadow said:

What's wrong with Super Glue? 😀

If the tiny bridging wire is sitting on top of the two points (v1.2 - 1.4) a small drop of superglue would lock it into place. It is possible to get the bridging wire resting on top, its what I tried initially with the soldering. I thought if I just melted the solder each end it would connect but each time I tried that the bridging wire preferred to attach to the soldering iron or I knocked it off before the solder was set.

As said the Super Glue idea was only a passing thought.   

Nothing is wrong. But if you have bad luck and you don't have enough contact the SG could work as isolator which would not be so nice.

I have used a ~ 3cm long piece of kynar wire without the isolator. So you can lay down your hand and hold it still in place (best to use tweezers) and when the solder has set just gently wiggel the rest of it off.

It's also possible to do it just with solder but i just manged that once. Not sure what i'm doing wrong there but at least i can make it pretty good with wire.

And like i wrote, there ar holes, make use of them if you feel better. So you have just 1 solderpad and 3 holes. Peace of cake. ;)

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The conductive paint method does work.

But I would recommend after you have flashed the TSOP you remove the paint, I had one here that the paint had flaked off one of the points, lucky it was a 1.1 and the blob of conductive paint was not shorting anything on the main board.

Going by the HDD date and the dates of the files it would have around been 10 years old.

 

Cheers

SS Dave


Soft modding is like masturbating, It gets the job done but it's nothing like the real thing.

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So, ok. I do have my hard-modded console, which I was planning to undo, but I'll give it a go based on the feedback I received here! :D

What's next? If I'm not mistaken this is an Alladin chip (maybe a knock-off??) but I have no more info. I'm attaching a picture for reference.

If I press the power button I get the EVO-X logo and get msdash. If I press the Eject button when the unit is powered off, it powers up directly to the original ms-dash (ie no EVO-X logo).

Where do I go from here? Do I just load a HeXen Disk and do a disk swap, etc? Can you please point me to a reference? I have seen tutorials on hardmods, but I have found none mentioning what you do after the chip is intalled 🙄

 

Not sure if I need to start a new thread about this...maybe more are interested in this...

20201024_093407.jpg

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Yes, you need an setup dvd. I would suggest to use the slayers disc. You could also try hexen or truhexen but that dvd's turns out to be more "bitchy" when it comes to if the disc boot at all on your system. So give slayers a go and try hexen/truhexen later just for fun. Download:   (And use good blank dvd's like Verbertim DVD-R)

 

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