TideLog Archive for the “Xbox 360” Category

I thoroughly enjoyed Telltale’s comic style “The Walking Dead” choice based game. When the “Wolf Among Us” was announced I was eager to try it. The first episode was pretty good, so a few days ago I decided to buy the season pass.

Big mistake. Upon trying to download Ep2, the system was trying to make me pay £3.99 for the episode, when season pass holders shouldn’t have to pay. Looking on Telltale’s forums was a 3,000 page thread on the issue. Telltale were blaming Microsoft, yet Microsoft were adamant it is a bug in the API in the game, in other words, Telltale’s crap programming. Having done Xbox programming, I understand where the bug is.

When you select an episode for download, from the in game content page, the API is supposed to be told by the game whether or not the season pass is installed, it then hands the user over to the marketplace, if the check for a season pass registers as true, the download should show as free. For some reason the API wasn’t being told about the pass, so the episode was showing at full price.

Telltale then said users who had the pass were supposed to recieve a redeemable code to get the episode at no cost. I never recieved mine, yet lots of people on Telltale’s forums did. Telltale also said that they were putting out a game update in 48 hours. Four days later, the Xbox Live status is still red on the issue, the patch is still not out, and I still haven’t recieved my code. In the end I just re-contacted Microsoft an have obtained a refund for the pass.

Telltale, you should be ashamed. I bet you’ve had thousands of pounds from season passes, yet you can’t even fix a simple API bug like this. You’ve just lost my £10, and I won’t be continuing The Walking Dead Season 2. No more money from me, that’ll teach you to pass the blame. You can’t even make simple games like TWD and TWAU run smoothly, they lag like hell during some scenes, shows how much you really care about user experience.

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I’ve been following the free Xbox Live games with interest, and they’ve given me and friends something extra. The promotion runs until December, but you must stay a Gold subscriber to get them. They are free FOREVER (Unlike Playstation PSN+, they stop access to games if you cancel!). They’re not the newest games but there’s something for everyone.

Game 1 – Fable III

This was the kind of game that made me think, “Ah, no, not another medieval type game!”. Actually it turned out to be pretty good. My friend Jenny was the first one to try it as she likes role playing games. Playing as the Princess, Jenny had to try and bring Albion back to its former glory by gaining the support of each town’s followers, to overthrow the evil rulers of each, to become Queen of Albion, making everyone’s lives so much happier. As with modern Governments, you have to make decisions as the Queen, in the form of sacrifices, which make you popular with some people and not others, for example, if a big battle is coming up, do you increase taxes to make money to build your army, or do you ease tax and risk your army?

Overall a good game, one that Jenny keeps going back to!

Game 2 – Defense Grid

This game was fun at first, but quickly got annoying/difficult or boring. It’s a Command and Conquer-esque game where you build turrets to defeat aliens of differing sizes, shapes and strengths. You must defend military bases from waves of attacking aliens by positioning a range of tower-based weaponry, ranging from guns, flamethrowers, lasers, and powerful Tesla weapons, which are like the Tesla coils from Command & Conquer, they give out powerful electric shocks. The military bases are like mazes, some of them have an exit and an entrance, you must stop the aliens from stealing power cores, later levels are hard and have multiple entrances or exits. Weapons can be upgraded by getting XP points for killing aliens. I got bored after getting past story level 4, it was too hard, and annoying! Once you get over the complexity of later levels it gets old.

Game 3 – Assassin’s Creed II

This game was OK at first, it reminds me of Ninja Gaiden, but NG is a lot more fast-paced, and has more of a proper Japanese ninja feel to it, as it should, as that’s where ninjas originate. Assassin’s Creed is more of the same roof jumping, sword wielding stuff, but it’s just too slooooww, and mainly based in Italy in historical times. You have to do such tasks as hunting for feathers and paintings for Leonardo Da Vinci to decipher. It just got too monotonous for me, I gave up after the second chapter, it’s too much of an assassin-plus-Lara-Croft mix. Ninja Gaiden does the Japanese Ninja genre justice, Kana plays it a lot, she’s really quick! Assassin’s Creed is a slow snail-like wannabee.

Game 4 – Crackdown

As I kept reading in the reviews of this when I originally bought it three years ago, Crackdown is like Marmite, you either love it or hate it. You play as an Agent, working with the Agency to crack down (hence the game name) on criminal gangs in Pacific City following the collapse of governments. There’s no storyline, you just have to take out gang bosses to get to the kingpin, while a game-show like voiceover man constantly gets on your nerves by saying things like, “There’s a race marker nearby, Agent! Put your foot down!”. Your abilities increase as you do races, collect orbs, and whack/smack and smash your way through the bosses and gangs. It gets old quick, as the gangs are CONSTANTLY (and I mean every second, almost) shooting a you, a lot of the bosses are protected by tons of guys constantly cowardly firing grenades and rockets at you. You die, a lot, in this, add to that if you even think of killing pedestrians, the Peacekeepers (the guys on your side) will start shooting you. The narrator then angrily says, “How many times do I have to tell you, Agent? DO NOT KILL innocent CIVILIANS!!”

A good laugh for a while, but nothing compared to Saints Row or GTA, where you can mindlessly blow stuff up and run it over!

Game 5 – Dead Rising 2 & Dead Rising Case Zero

This is the latest game in the free giveaway, but sadly it’s just another ZOOOOMMMBBIIIEEE game with absolutely NOOO BBBRRAAIINNSSS. For me the zombies in games crap got old and boring years ago. I still go back to Resident Evil 5 & Resident Evil: ORC, but Dead Rising is just another clone. You play as Chuck Greene, and his little daughter Katey, having to escape a zombie outbreak, using and combining different weapons to make them stronger.

Meh. If like me you’ve done all Resident Evil games, and Call of Duty, plus numerous other games with zombies, these games get old pretty quick. If however, you have a massive urge to eat human brains, and like dead stuff coming back to life, this is the game for you.

I’ll update when the next game comes along. These aren’t meant to be in depth reviews, just quick personal opinion.

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I saw this topic being discussed on Sony’s own forums the other day, and I had such a massive laugh! If the people who claimed to be PS3 repairers ACTUALLY knew anything about electronics, the world would be in serious danger! One guy posted about his cooling fan ramping up to full speed when he turned the console on, you should have seen the responses. They ranged from, “Ooh, your PSU is dying”, “You’re about to get the YLOD!” and most laughably, “Your CPU/GPU needs reballing!”

These people obviously don’t know as much as they claim, all those supposed causes are NOWHERE near the real cause. I’ll go into some real electronics knowledge to help people here. The fan ramping up on a PS3 or an Xbox is caused by the temperature diode being faulty.

In computers, the chip temperature is measured by a temperature sensor. Usually it’s a diode, mounted under the chip. On some standard PC motherboards, if you look in the middle of the CPU socket, you’ll see a blue lump on legs, this is the sensor diode.

    Types of diode

There are two types of temperature diode. A Negative Temperature Coefficient (NTC) diode is a diode whose resistance DECREASES as the temperature rises. So, when the chip is at full temperature, the resistance of the diode is at 0. The other type of diode is a Positive Temperature Coefficient (PTC), where the resistance STARTS at 0 when the chip is COLD, and goes full when HOT.
The control chip uses this resistance value by converting it from a resistance value to a temperature value, to set the fan speed, and to shut down the system if it’s too hot by sending a signal to the chipset. The converted value is also used by temperature monitoring apps and software.

It is all the same in automotive scenarios, with the engine temperature and radiator cooling fan, the same ramp up symptom occurs due to temperature sensor failure.

    Failure

When the diodes fail, each type of diode fails in a certain way. An NTC diode normally fails stuck at 0 (zero) resistance, meaning the system thinks the chip is really hot (because the cold reading should be full resistance), when in fact it is still cold, so the fan will ramp up as soon as the system is started cold. It may also result in shutdowns, even though the chip isn’t hot because the fan is running full tilt.

A PTC diode starts cold at 0 anyway, so the system won’t panic at first. However, the controller will soon realise something is up when the CPU starts reporting high loads, but the temperature is still reading 0 instead of a higher value. The fan will not increase speed in this case, so the temperature will rise sharply, resulting in an eventual shutdown. This will cause solder damage if the problem isn’t fixed, but it doesn’t happen BECAUSE of solder damage!

See, nothing to do with YLOD, try going to electronics school, kiddies 😉 When you switch a PS3 on and the fan kicks up to full speed then down again, that’s the system running a sensor and fan control test 🙂 If the fan stays on full on cold start instead of slowing down, you have a sensor issue 😉

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Microsoft has confirmed a pair of small updates to its Xbox 360 gaming platform, one to launch today and the next tomorrow, designed to restore missing functionality and offer a cleaner look to player’s Gamercards.

Today’s update restores the ability to have a console load a game the instant it’s turned on – the so-called ‘boot to disc’ mode. In an earlier update, Microsoft had made the decision to remove this functionality in order to encourage use of its redesigned dashboard interface – which, incidentally, contains numerous adverts for downloadable content and streamable films. The option is there in System settings, and selectable, but still boots the dash if a disc is in the tray on power-up. This update fixes that.

The update, which is mandatory for all Xbox Live users, has gone live today and will download and install the next time an Xbox 360 is connected to Xbox Live.

The second update, due to go live on the company’s servers tomorrow, changes the appearance of the console’s Gamercards – personalised identification cards that contain player information such as reputation received from other players as a result of multiplayer gaming, the most recent games to be played, and a player’s Gamerscore.

While the layout of the Gamercards in general will be overhauled, the biggest change is the removal of the Gamerzone – a self-selected category that is supposed to represent the player’s gaming style, choices included ‘Underground,’ ‘Recreation,’ and ‘Family.’

A preview of the new Gamercards, along with additional details on both updates, is available on Microsoft’s Larry Hryb’s Major Nelson blog

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I just wanted to upgrade to the newest one, as it’s cooler, sexier, sleeker and more power efficient than even my ultra latest ’09 Elite, and has a bigger hard drive. My other excuse is that as I’m a repairer, obviously I need to study it and learn how it’s built, and now is the perfect time to do so. And, I need an excuse to get Kinect so Kassie and Mika will don their Lycra shorts and tops, and work out together on Kinect Fitness, because it’s really sweet watching two lady lovebirds keeping fit and having girly fun at the same time! I want an excuse to join in! We have a gym in our basement, but doing it in a virtual world, like the jogging on Wii, is much more pleasing!

The new S, or Slim as people are wrongly calling it (it isn’t slimmer, only shorter, so Xbox 360 Short is a better name) is not a whole new console. It is just a “reboot” or a refresh. The CPU, GPU, and eDRAM are on a single die, there’s a single large (less than whisper-quiet) fan keeping it cool, the power system has been overhauled, and there’s Wireless A/B/G/N wireless built in. The hard drive now lives in a compartment INSIDE the machine itself, with a panel that pops open at the touch of a button to remove or replace it. Note that you still can’t shove any size hard drive in like the PS3, but with 250GB to play with, even all my 35 games will fit and still have space. You can’t install games to the PS3’s HDD, unless you purchase them again and download them on PSN, which is pointless, takes ages, and is a waste if you already have the disc versions. Kinect also has a dedicated power port on the new S, older console owners will need a separate power adapter which comes with Kinect. Add to that Microsoft have dropped Memory Units, instead allowing you to use a standard USB Flash drive of any size instead, which is a nice, standard move. They’ve also added 2 more USB ports in place of the Memory Unit slots, taking the total number of USB ports to 5, compared to the PS3’s now pathetic 2, when it used to have 4, back when it was sort-of decent! Power and Eject are now touch sensitive, which is nice, as there’s no microswitches to wear out. The console also gives a nice gentle beep when ejecting, thanks to the inclusion of a piezo buzzer on the motherboard.

Other than that, your games will all still work, the dash is the same, and the console’s performance is no quicker or slower. If they had upgraded the speeds or hardware, developers would have had to rewrite everything, and this is not a new console, remember? Microsoft are looking to keep the 360 going for another 5 years, and Sony the PS3 for 10-15 years (how many more features it will lose I don’t know) before designing another.

The 360 S is great. It’s sexy, quiet (when games are run from the HDD, the optical drive is still noisy, but this is technically unavoidable due to the nature of optical drives), and is Microsoft’s way of saying, “Hey, we’ve learnt our lesson from the RRoD, and have improved.” And they have, massively. Using Pete’s S when he got it on launch I knew this was the upgrade for me. Sony can keep their pathetic featureless Blu-Ray player that takes ages loading games, I’m an Xbox man. And since I’ve never had trouble with MS consoles bar one 360 E74, and that my original Xbox 1 is modded, a nice 160GB HDD, is still going strong after 8 years, and has never had any faults, and otherwise still has stock parts, I’m proud of it!

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They’re always busy, but this year was even more so! Having so many family and friends has never been so fun! I love our new christmas present, Kassie sent Mika and me a brand new Samsung UN60C8000 60″ OLED 3D LCD TV, and it is the best TV I have ever seen! It isn’t available in the UK yet, only Japan and Australia, so it had quite a journey getting here, poor thing! What an amazing bit of kit, and it’s less than 4 inches thick!

Here’s our older 37″ BenQ HD TV in our “socialising” room, as Kassie calls it, in Birmingham, running one of Mika’s HD Japanese channels, streamed from upstairs . It looks smaller than it really is:

Our 37″ BenQ is being put in one of the guest bedrooms, the one Jill sleeps in when she visits, when the Sammy 60″ is in a permanent home replacing the BenQ. Our 50″ Sammy plasma has had pride of place in our main living room for as long as we’ve had it, and that is going in our main bedroom replacing another BenQ SK3731 37″ we have in there currently. My camera is knackered as you know, with the lens error, so I had to use a library image of the 60″ for now:

Monster, isn’t she? According to the web, it’s worth around $4,100, which makes that ¥333,558.73 in Yen. Kassie’s so nice to us all as a little family. Here’s an old shot of our bedroom, with Kassie’s guitar in the corner and our 37″ BenQ, and Blu-Ray player. The 50″ is going to feel huge in here:

We had Rikku and Jill (complete with her full Wii kit) over for Xmas dinner, and we all had a great time trying to beat Jill at Wii bowling, after 2 years none of us can beat a 10 year old girl, even her footie player mum!! I must be getting old, what’s wrong with me?? It’s just nice to spend time with those close to you, having drinks and getting merry, rolling around laughing throwing your arms about like a wild thing playing tennis or bowling, there’s not much that can replace that close bond. It’s what makes Christmas!

A friend of mine even bought me a PS3 Slim, which was a really nice gesture, but sadly, after 3 days it has gone back in its box, and the 360 sits in its place. I cannot stand a console that will only manage 720p on 99.99% of games, on a full-HD 60″ 3D TV, the aliasing is awful, even with the upscaler on low and off. It is quiet, but puts out more heat than my ’09 360 Elite, and is god-awful slow at loading most games. The only games I have that even try 1080p are Gran Turismo and FFXIII.

I’m sorry, but after Sony’s console started out having some kind of unique selling points, and has gone so pathetically featureless (you can’t even fully install games to the 320GB HDD as with the 360), and still has crap lasers, firmware and picture quality, I can see why the fanboys are so blissfully and arrogantly ignorant. They still continue to ridicule Microsoft, and the 360 “green tinge”? What? I’ve been repairing Xboxes since the first was released, and never seen this!  I had a PS fanboy accuse me of not knowing the facts when I told someone most games only do 720p, just look on the boxes of 99.9% of PS3 games. It winds me up! Look at your “beloved” PS3 and actually see how it has gone downhill….!

Let me help you out, girls:

1. Where is your backwards compatibility?

2. Where’s your Other OS? We still have it, in the form of JTAG-ging. It’s a hack, but we can still use Linux! Neh, neh, ne ne neh!

3. Where’s your ability to install games to the HDD FULLY, rather than just texture and mesh cache?

4. Where has your card-reader and hoardes of USB ports gone?

5 Where are your MASSIVE 25-50GB games on Blu-Ray? Most PS3 games are re-engineered ports of 360, that take up no more than 7.5GB!!

6. And your 1080p res on ALL games, rather than just a paltry two, and the XMB, after nearly 5 years? Even the games that say 1080p on the box (Like my GTA4 test a few posts ago on Greg’s Sony Bravia 32″ LCD) only go to 720p!!

7. The PS3 is supposed to be all HD and 3D, supporting HDMI, yet guess what cable STILL comes with it that has since the Playstation 1? A standard SD composite AV cable!!!!!

8. Why are your lasers still failing in droves, just like the PS1 and PS2, huh? And the Slim still suffering “no video”, “not reading discs” and “no power” issues? There’s loads creeping up on eBay, isn’t there?

Yeah, PS3 fanboys, you missed those points, didn’t you? I’m a console repairer, a re-ball vacuum rework technician to boot, 13 years time served, and I know my consoles intimately. Your console is the same as what comes out of the rear of a bovine. Utter hot, curly, sloppy, steaming shite!! And you defend it to the death, you sad children. PS3 stands for Pile of Shit 3, and follows the Pile Of Shit 2, and the Pile Of Shit 1. PS1, PS2 and PS3. Piles of featureless, fault ridden, somehow-well-selling piles of steaming crap. I had all 3 personally, and got sick of repairing them when Sony told me there was no design faults and that the fault wasn’t covered. I’ll give my new PS3 Slim six months before asking my friend if she kept the reciept because there’s a fault! In fact, I better ask her now…..

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I’ve been using my PS3 for the last few days, on two different full HD TV’s, one, Greg’s TV, a 32″ LCD Full HD Sony Bravia, and Kassie’s Samsung 50″ Full HD TV, and I’m far from impressed. GTA4 on PS3 is supposed to (according to the box) be able to do either 720p, or 1080i/p. It never did 1080, except at the XMB, on both TV’s, whereas the 360 does full 1080p straight away!

The aliasing on the PS3 was terrible, on all the games I tried (FIFA 09/10, Stuntman, GTA4) and they all only hit 720. I’ve now decided to sell the PS3, and stick with my 360. I repaired a Slim yesterday, and the fan in that is the nastiest thing I’ve seen since a laptop:

The fan is all plastic, tacky, and typical of Sony downgrading. The PS3 has gone downhill ever since its release, and here’s my full list of faults:

1. Features have been removed (cardreader, PS1/PS2 compatibility, Other OS) that made it better than the Xbox in terms of utilities.

2. The games don’t run at full 1080 when they are supposedly supposed to, and they look aliased and god awful.

3. The PS3 FAT had just as many faults, if not more than the original 360 (discs not reading, video not working, YLOD, RLOD , total failure of the PSU because it got too hot). The 360 has only ever suffered mainly RRoD faults, and the occasional DVD read error. Playstations have had laser failures since the brick Playstation 1, they still haven’t learnt how to manufacture a laser correctly. I’ve never once had to fix a 360 with failed PSU or no video without reason (E74)

4. The Slim PS3 is junk, the components are shrunk, the fan is noisy and cheap, and the games STILL DO NOT run at full 1080. The only thing that makes the PS3 somewhat if at all better than the 360 is that it has a BluRay drive, which is a con anyway, as the same games on 360 fit on DVD, nd they’re better quality!!

5. Firmware “updates” break features. Take for example a FW upgrade that caused people’s BD drives to not read discs? And the recent 3.5 update where 3D discs are choppy and out of sync? Yeah, nice, Sony. Not. They’re acting like they created 3D, which they did not.

I’m normally unbiased in my repair work, but here is my conclusion: Sony is JUNK, JUNK, JUUUUUUNNNNNKKKKK!!!! I’m so glad I gave up on them after my 3rd PS3 laser replacement. They’re still as damn bad, if not worse. An insult to the Japanese, and I love the Japs, as my lil lady is a Jap, and proud of it, Sony just mar their electronics industry. At least Microsoft offered a 5 year warranty, and the new 360 Slim is superior to the older consoles, and all the shite Sony have ever put out. My 8 year old Xbox 1 is still strong, modded, but with all original parts except HDD, so go figure….

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Because this court case involving Ventura seems to be just about Linux. <startSpoiltBratChildishVoice>“I can’t run Linux on my expensive crap liquorice slab PS3 anymore! BooHooHoo!”</endSpoiltBratChildishVoice>

To prove my point, why didn’t anyone complain or sue when Sony removed the PS2 compatibility? Because they knew it was crap anyway? Surely some die hard Sony fanatic must have cried because his new PS3 wouldn’t run the games of his PS2 that he’d thrown in the bin because the laser voltage had carked it for the 67 millionth time? And then felt the need to sue for $4 million to compensate for all the money he spent on tissues while crying?

Linux + Sony/Apple fanatics = Very sad deluded immature people easily conned into paying hundreds of pounds for cheap Chinese built TAT, and then can’t live without it!

Do you see us 360 users complaining we can’t run Linux? No, because Linux is for spotty nerds, it’s crap anyway, and with our console we can actually HACK IT TO PLAY BACKUPS, because we didn’t jump into Sony’s fantasy Blu-Ray world! That’s enough of a selling point for us!

Hah! And if you wanna run Linux, GET A PC!! PowerPC CPU’s are crap for Linux anyhow!

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The drive looks like a BenQ, sounds like a BenQ, but ISN’T a BenQ! It’s in fact one of the new Liteon drives, that isn’t Plug ‘n’ Flash, like the BenQ. It has the same mechanics, PCB and casing, but different software, Microsoft’s latest crackdown on firmware modders.

You need to do the “half open tray” trick like the BenQ, but can’t power the drive down and up to keep it open, otherwise get Bad Serial Data errors. You need to either cut traces on the PCB to solder a switch and resistor, a bit like the old Hitachi 79DJ drives, or you can use an XeCuter Connectivity Kit Pro v3.

All I need to do is dump the key, and inject it into the BenQ VAD6038 from my Core (which has now given up completely, by the way, the console, not the drive), as I can use Bad Flash recovery on it, it’s much easier to work with. A lot more difficult than first thought! I just hope it’ll work with the Elite, and they’ve not locked the console to the Liteon in some way.

A new learning experience to add to my 360 repair skill arsenal…

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She arrived yesterday, and what a quiet console! Compared to my old Core, that sounded like a jet engine, the new Elite is whisper quiet, and puts out 80% less heat!

I can play games without my headphones on, and not annoy the girls! I used to have to turn the TV up, and it annoyed them! It’s a shame, the new boards should have been the ones at launch in 2005, it’s taken them 3 revisions, including the Opus, which was used in RRoD replacement  consoles, that still RRoD’ed!

Still doesn’t stop me being a 360 fan, my SONY crap needed more repairs, and never lasted as long as my Microsoft consoles. I’ve also still got the Microsoft warranty of 5 years if I need it (and don’t mod it!)

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My 360 gave up again yesterday, and then came back again…. then died again. And then came back again!

So, I’ve preserved her precious last breaths, god bless her, and bought myself an Elite, hopefully with the new Jasper board. It’s the new 65nm die revision, with the extra 256MB Hynix RAM for the NXE updates. The GPU’s been revised too, for less heat, so (less chance of, NOT NO CHANCE like some are saying) of a RRoD.

If I do decide to mod, I’ll probably use my BenQ drive from my old Xbox (that’s if the Elite doesn’t have one), so it’s an easy firmware dump, key extract, inject into hacked, reflash job. Piece o’ cake!

I just can’t understand why they’re STILL USING electrolytic cans in the new boards. Solid state Jap cans are all the rage now, and are much less prone to drying out, or bursting. PC mothrboards have been using them for a while, and I personally replace electro with solid in any repairs I do.

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I used a heatgun to heat the heatsinks up really hot. This is NOT something everyone should try, as the air from a heatgun is very dry, and can cause dry joints, so should not be done directly at the chips themselves, or for long periods, as the temperature is a lot hotter than a hairdryer. I use it as a very controlled last ditch attempt before properly vacuum reworking and replacing chips. I then ran the console without the fans connected, until it shut down, and then let her cool.

She’s been fine ever since, and has been run for about 7 hours following the repair, with cool off powerdown sessions in between. Fingers crossed! And no towel tricks or RRoD “FIX” kits in sight! LoL, who needs “bedroom experts” with the wrong tools and skills, such as *cough* Mark Pickavance *cough*?

Hehe 🙂 I don’t *think* I’m good, I KNOW it! LoL 🙂 As my Saints Row chick says!

Update 29th Jan: 24 hours runtime, still going! She’s been warmed up, powered up and down several times today, and she’s a darn fighter, a lot more than Greg’s ever was…

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I don’t know how much longer she’s gonna keep fighting back, because the tearing has just come back:

She’s been one heck of a good console, and this is the first time anything like this has happened to me. I’ve seen it at work many times, and never thought it’d happen to me, not after so long, but it has. I suppose I’ll get myself a nice new Elite, mod it, and not go on Live, so that if I ever need to go on Live, once a method that works to stop you getting banned comes, I’ll use it, because the Stealth firmware let me down the first time I used it, and I no longer trust it as far as its so called “Live Stealth” is concerned.

It’s looking snowy for my chick in Saints Row 2, she looks a bit snowed up!

As long as I don’t turn it off, it’ll stay running, it’s just, well, snowy!

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After 3 solid loyal years, I think my Core 360 is about to die. I’ve just been playing Forza 3, whizzing my 680hp Viper SRT-10 round Suzuka Circuit, and the telltale black and white tearlines have appeared on the picture. Exactly the same sysmptoms as my friend Greg, 2 days later, the E74 error occurred, and never again did his console play another game.

So I’ve unplugged it, and will let it cool, see what happens. In the meantime, I’ve got two options, the Easy one, and the Techie one:

The Easy method:

Go out and buy a brand new gorgeous Elite, with new motherboard, less heat.

Or:

The Techie method:

Rework my Core with NEW CPU & GPU chips, replacing the solder balls with lead ones. I use more heat than the factories, so I know it will last longer.

And before you geeks kick in, NO I WON’T use your foolish Towel or X-Clamp fixes!

UPDATE: She’s had it. The E74 error is now displaying, in all its multilanguage non-glory, on my Toshiba 42″ plasma:

It’s just a single segment flashing, but, who cares, an E74 is an E74 nonetheless, and it’s the GPU that’s ill:

Seeing as I’ve got nothing really to lose, as my console’s modded anyway, I’m gonna heat her up, nice and hot, to see if I can prolong the life a little longer, I want to get to Level 30 driver skill on Forza 3, and I’m at 27!

Update 2: She’s BACK again! But, for how long?!? She’s a fighter, that’s for sure!

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I’m going to show you all my perfect way of backing up your games. I’ve been doing it this way for ages, and have never had any failures.

LEGAL DISCLAIMER

Before we start, I must make you aware that MODIFYING YOUR CONSOLE FIRMWARE IS ILLEGAL, and that you have to modify it to play backups. The backups you create MUST be for PERSONAL USE ONLY, any other distribution or use is possibly illegal, and in breach of Copyright and DMCA laws in some countries.

Secondly, I CANNOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE for any legal action taken against you from you distributing backups from following my guide, for any failures during flashing Kreon firmware or burning backups, or simply because you don’t understand what you’re doing.

All advice in this article is followed AT YOUR OWN RISK. If your console decides to burst into flames after being modified, that’s not my problem, sue the hackers who created the firmware! Or if you like fighting useless battles, sue Microsoft (they’ll probably laugh you into a prison cell!)

Disclaimer over….. If I haven’t scared you (scaring you wasn’t my intention!), read on……

Recommended Setup:

DVD Burner on its own IDE/SATA Channel

I recommend your burner be on its own chain. This reduces the risk of buffer underruns and any other errors. having a hard drive, especially the one where images are stored for burning, or being read from, on the same cable, is a no-no.

I use SATA, so each device has its own cable, and is not daisychained.

No other programs running

This keeps your CPU nice and free, and keeps your RAM to a maximum. Your RAM is where data is stored as it’s being copied from the HDD to the burner, so if you’re running stressful programs, your burner is going to feel it, and you run the risk of ruining the disc, and DL discs are still not cheap throwaways! The flow of data needs to be constant.

Use a dual core CPU

This gives you more oomph, as any load is shared equally between cores. Self explanatory, really!

Plenty of RAM

This is a must, as I mentioned before, your RAM is the buffer between the hard drive, and the burner. Top quality RAM will make sure the data stays clean all the way from your HDD to your burner. 32 bit users should have no more than 3GB, as 32-bit can’t address more than this, and 64-bit can have as much as you want!

Defragmented hard drive

Think of your hard drive as my favourite analogy. A child’s bedroom. As toys (files) get played with (accessed/saved), they get strewn all around. This maeans the drive takes longer to find files, which can result in buffer under-runs. The files need to be re-organised into their correct places for accesses to be fast.

The Tutorial

1. Obtain a Samsung SH-D162C PC drive with Kreon

This step is really important. Normal PC drives can’t read the structure or security sectors (SS) of a 360 disk. The Kreon firmware is modified so that this Samsung drive will. The Kreon firmware will not work for other drives. I recommend you get one pre-flashed, I did my own, but that’s out of the scope of this tutorial. There are IDE & SATA versions available now, I got mine on launch, and it was only IDE at the time, so take your pick.

Once you’ve installed the drive, and flashed it (if it wasn’t already), move on..

2. Download and install Xbox Backup Creator

This is by far the easiest tool out there for doing backups, and is almost a single click. Download it from HERE and extract it somewhere. You’ll need ImgBurn installed too, so go grab a copy and install it BEFORE running XBC.

NOTE: If you’ve got a blank DVD-DL in your burner drive, the following error may come up. Don’t worry about it, it’s only because it’s trying to read a blank disc:

If you take the blank disc out, the error doesn’t appear. So, insert the 360 game you want to copy into your Samsung Kreon drive, and run XBC:

Make sure your Samsung Kreon drive is selected in the top drive list, as my SH-D162 is here. Note it does not say what Kreon version firmware is installed, just TS05, which is the Samsung firmware that the Kreon is based on. I have the latest Kreon in my drive, which is v1.00.

In the main status window, it says “Bytes used: 5.32MB”. DON’T worry, the disc is being read correctly, this is just the DVD partition that displays the “To play this disc, please insert it into an Xbox 360 console”, as this is all the PC itself can see.

Next, on the Read tab, under Image Style, choose Complete Backup, then hit Start. Sometimes the Start button is greyed out, flick between the tabs, and it should appear:

CAUTION: If you miss this step, and the Current Partition is selected, you’ll end up with just the DVD partition, which is useless!!

When you click Start, a dialog will pop up asking you for an image filename, and where to save it. My test game was Flatout Ultimate Carnage, saved into an “xbox” folder on my desktop:

Choose your folder and name, then hit Save. It’ll then start copying the image. To prove my point about the DVD partition earlier, here’s what I deliberately did:

I deliberately saved to a partition with not enough space to get this to come up. It needs 7.4GB, so it is copying the FULL game. So, here’s it working correctly:

It will also create a .dvd file. You MUST use this when burning the game later with ImgBurn. It is the layerbreak file, and without it, the partitions won’t match, resulting in an unplayable coaster. DO NOT select the ISO!

Follow me, and you’ll be fine!!

Next, should be when all is done!

Step 3: Burn your game to disc using ImgBurn!

ImgBurn is a great program. It has flawlessly burned discs for me with no problems. As long as you select the .dvd layerbreak file when selecting the image, it will burn fine. Using the ISO directly will fail.

First off, insert your blank DVD-DL (Verbatim, always Verbatim, where possible. I have used AONE in this tutorial, as they are my second favourite). Start ImgBurn, to be greeted by this screen:

Click “Write image file to disc”, and go to the folder you created your image. I’m finishing off a burn of Forza 3 here, instead of my Flatout earlier:

Select the .dvd layerbreak file, this is REALLY IMPORTANT:

Click Open. Then make sure 4x is selected as a burn speed:

After verifying your burner is correct, click the big icon of an image to disc on the left of the burn speed, and away she goes!! Until it completes, you will then be presented (hopefully!) with this dialog:

All done! Insert into your Xbox, and play away!

Note: This tutorial covers YOUR OWN backups. Backups downloaded from the internet will need to be verified by abgx360. A tutorial on this is to follow soon…

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