Subject: Re: i386 port for the X-Box?
To: None <>
From: Stephen Jacks <>
List: tech-ports
Date: 11/29/2001 02:22:42
First, the XBox sounds powerful enough to be worth some effort(I run sun3 et 
al oldies but dreamcasts are getting harder to find, they were behind the 
hardware curve when they shipped). I had started to again build PCs for my 
friends as the clone PC prices dipped from $699 to $499 to $399 (ie Presario 
2200 all-in-one MediaGX chipset)but with the P4 and manufacturer contraction 
(VIA absorbing S3, Trident, et al) the prices have risen. Apparently this 
Intel (of Wintel) driven initiative (to kill all-in-ones like Timna 
chipset)to drive up hardware prices let M$ boost X-Pee's price.

A large portion of the lower income population that sees the dropoff in PC 
penetration (and web access) can afford $99 Sony Playstations and Nintendo 
64. Game machines also seem to last longer in the marketplace than PCs and 
so software ports would be more long lived. The problem with older games is 
that I'd need a soldering iron to get into them. At Fluke I built a 
cartridge for Sega's handheld and used the debugger for Fluke's Scopemeter. 
I'm not planning to burn my own ROMs (like I did in the 80's) and the flash 
OS update capability for all except the OS loader in the newer PDAs and 
WebTV (and XBox? and Gameboy Advance?) seem to offer the best UNIX 
alternative to the "$99 Corel Netwinder".

<Supposedly> M$ plans on this being a loss leader (to enter the game console 
market) for the next 3 years. Microsoft's loss is my gain since I can afford 
it ($299 US), I plan on buying one for the holidays and take it apart. I've 
taken apart webtv's (unfortunately also MS/MSN)(I got one webtv for less 
than the parts I stripped off it). Being a bit too lazy to provide tech 
support and free PCs to my "needy" neighbors I've recomended a few of those.

As to the hardware: seems like an "typical"(intel 815, VIA Apollo P4X266A) 
CPU to host/memory/graphics/ide?/"high speed intermediate bus" chip to "high 
speed intermediate bus"/pci/usb/ac97 controller chip. Wintel again, 
Microsoft has the license from Intel, but Intel keeps keep NVidia out out of 
the cheap motherboard market? NVidia apparently has DDK for chipset for AMD 
cpu motherboards. Has unknown ethernet, optional modem(?), usb keyboard, 
seems to hook to directx direct voice thingie over usb, ide drive, funky 
cache architecture on host interface to get P4 performance from P3.

Free XBOX (a gleam in his eye?), doubt it. They seem a bit stretched making 
current commitments. Probably best bet would be eval boards from NVidia.

Some Refs(?):,57787,.shtml (directx sound programming for nvidia media 
controller chip)

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