In 2001, Microsoft made a push into the gaming industry with their first home console, the Xbox. At the time, Nintendo, Sony, and Sega were the big console manufacturers, but in the years following, Microsoft replaced Sega as a leading name in the business. Despite its bulky appearance and awkwardly large controller, the Xbox was a hit from the start, with its success propelled by solid hardware and popular new games like Halo: Combat Evolved. The original Xbox also became a staple in the after-market modding scene, as tinkerers quickly found ways to utilize the console’s impressive power beyond the restrictions of retail use.
However, there’s one mod that’s largely been considered impossible on the Xbox 1.6 revision, the last hardware iteration of Microsoft’s debut console. This is of course the 128MB RAM mod, a staple in the modding scene and one of the best ways to add even more processing power to the Xbox. However, thanks to an unexpected solution from a passionate Xbox fan, I’ve finally pulled off this once-considered impossible feat. Check out my full installation video tutorial of the 128MB RAM mod on Xbox 1.6 and let’s peel back the curtain on how this is all possible!
"Luckily, thanks to the work done by software engineer Prehistoricman, the 128MB RAM mod is finally possible on the Xbox 1.6!"
How to Add 128MB of RAM to Xbox 1.6 Revision
To get started with this mod, you’ll need two important parts that are integral to the installation process, in addition to an Xbox 1.6 revision console. First, you’ll need four authentic RAM modules, which can be harvested from any extra Xbox consoles you have laying around. If you don’t happen to have a small pile of Xbox systems to pull from, you can also purchase RAM modules from ModsvilleUSA. Second, you’ll also need a modchip with the proper version of Xblast. You can also buy these custom modchips online through ModsvilleUSA.
Once you’ve got your required parts, you’re ready to start with installation! First things first, you’ll have to open up the Xbox and isolate the motherboard. This relatively simple process involves removing a bunch of screws and properly detaching internal components like the hard drive, but if you need a visual aid, you can check out this video where I show off the entire process. Once you have the motherboard exposed, remove the heat sink from the GPU so you can start
Although it might sound absurd, it turns out that adding extra RAM to an Xbox 1.6 comes down to stacking RAM chips on top of each other, then soldering them all together. To get the legs of each RAM chip positioned properly, you’ll need to bend them on a completely flat surface, repeating the process for all four sides. Bend pin 28 in the other direction using your preferred tool, as this is the one pin we won’t be soldering to the other RAM chip and will serve as the chip-select pin that’s necessary for the Xbox to function correctly. Once that’s done, place the new module on top of the existing module and line them up, then simply solder all of the legs and pins together. Solder a wire to pin 28 and then route it through a small hole near the GPU (under where the heat sink was), and attach it to the via near capacitor C4P21 on the other side of the motherboard.
Simply repeat this process for the remaining RAM modules, doubling up all of the available banks on the motherboard. For each module, you’ll still need to connect a wire to pin 28 and run them to specific vias, so check out my video tutorial for the rest of the specifics. It’s also a good idea to run a RAM check between each module installation, which can be accomplished by booting up the system for a few seconds and running a RAM test through the Xblast OS settings menu. Once you’ve successfully stacked all of the modules and run the wires properly, you’re ready to reassemble the system and start gaming!
The Pros and Cons of the Xbox 1.6 RAM Mod
With all that extra RAM in your Xbox, there are a few benefits you can take advantage of, but don’t expect anything that will blow your mind. In terms of new games, the 128MB RAM mod will allow you to run some games from the Sega Chihiro arcade system, including Virtua Cop, Ghost Squad, and a few more. This mod will also help with smoother emulation, especially for more taxing software. Additionally, the extra RAM will provide a boon during debugging for those interested in game development.
With that said, you can reap these rewards without going through the exceptionally tough installation process, as the 128MB RAM mod is far easier to perform on every other Xbox hardware revision. The only real difference is the installation, which is much more difficult to perform. While many of the mods I showcase can drastically enhance your console, the 128MB RAM mod simply isn’t one of them. That’s not to say that the process isn’t fun, especially for those who enjoy the concept of RAM piggybacking, but the biggest joy in this mod is the novelty of its installation.