We Can Now Upgrade the RAM on the OG XBOX to 256MB!

A very talented modder by the name of Prehistoricman has created a new mod of the original XBOX that allows us to increase the console’s RAM to 256MB.  Now I know this may not seem like a lot by today’s standards, but you have to remember that the XBOX came from the factory back in 2001 with only 64MB of RAM, so this is four times that! Additionally, prior to this mod, the maximum amount of RAM thought possible was 128MB.  This is double that!

Now the way this mod works is Prehistoricman was able to source a different RAM chip that uses a very similar architecture to the original RAM chip.  But one of the issues is that the this specific chip has a very different form-factor.  It utilizes a BGA (Ball Grig Array) mounting format that is incompatible with the XBOX motherboard.  To address this, Prehistoricman designed an interposer that adapts the new RAM chip to have the same form-factor as the original.  This is a very unique 4-Layer-Rigid-Flex from PCBWay, however the design does have a flaw.

So in the video I was not able to install the RAM chips and that’s because the interposer has a limit to how much the pins can be bent.  You see, we need to bend the interposer “pins” down so that they can contact the motherboard.  However, if you bend them just a hair too much, you can create micro fractures on the flex PCB which could sever traces on the interposer and effectively break the module.

So, Prehistoricman is actually in the process of redesigning the interposer so that this is no longer an issue as well as making the installation process easier, so definitely be sure to follow him to stay up to date.

Now one may be asking what can we do with all this extra RAM?  Will we see better performance in games?  Well the short answer is, most likely not.  When talking about the potential benefits of this mod, it seems that there are handful.  One: for those that like to run LINUX on the XBOX, this will no doubt improve performance.  Two: running emulators on the console will likely also benefit fro the additional memory.  Three: there is an opportunity to add capability like “multitasking”.  We could have the ability to run a custom dashboard at the same time as playing a game.  Or we could even potentially run two games at the same time.  All these improvements however, will need a new custom BIOS that can support all this additional RAM.  Until we have that, the added memory does not have a real tangible benefit.

For a more technical breakdown on how this mod works, be sure to check out Prehistoricman’s video on his Youtube channel linked below:

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