The internals exposed

DailyTech previously obtained an HD DVD player accessory for the Xbox 360 gaming console. After the initial tests and amazements of high definition DVD goodness, we took out our trusty tools and dissected the drive. The drive is quite easy to take apart and only requires a flat screwdriver and a T-10 torx head screwdriver. DailyTech advises against taking the HD DVD player apart as it voids the warranty and may damage it.

Taking apart the HD DVD player casing requires popping off the plastic on the curved side of the player. This is the hardest part of the process and requires finesse. Once the side cover is popped off everything else is quite easy. Three torx head screws holds the top cover on while a warranty void sticker is on the opposing side. After popping off the top cover there are a few more torx head screws holding the drive in. Everything is pretty straightforward.

Underneath the cover lays a Toshiba HD DVD-Rom drive. While the drive has an IDE interface it lacks a full-size IDE connector. Instead the Toshiba HD DVD-Rom drive uses a mini IDE connector that is commonly found on notebook optical drives. The mini IDE connector connects to a PCB with all the electronics on it.

The PCB has a few little controllers on it. Handling the USB 2.0 to IDE functions is an NEC D720133GB controller. Since the HD DVD player has two additional USB 2.0 ports, it requires an additional controller. An NEC PD720114 USB 2.0 compliant hub controller provides the additional two ports.

Also located on the PCB is a Lexar USB NAND flash controller. Additionally, the PCB houses a Samsung NAND flash chip. The NAND flash chip is a 256MB Samsung K9F2G08U0M flash chip. This onboard NAND flash memory shows up in operating systems as an Xbox 360 HD DVD Memory Unit. The flash memory houses the HD DVD player software application.

In the Xbox 360 dashboard storage management menu, it shows the HD DVD player memory as having 192MB free. However, nothing can be downloaded onto the NAND flash memory. Aside from the NAND flash memory, the Xbox 360 HD DVD player is essentially an optical drive in a USB 2.0 enclosure.

"Intel is investing heavily (think gazillions of dollars and bazillions of engineering man hours) in resources to create an Intel host controllers spec in order to speed time to market of the USB 3.0 technology." -- Intel blogger Nick Knupffer
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