How to Replace an Original XBox CPU

Updated April 17, 2017

Video game consoles are essentially self-contained computers specifically designed to play games. Game consoles, such as the Xbox, contain all the standard computer parts including a hard drive, optical drive, graphics card and CPU. You can replace the original Xbox CPU with a processor designed to fit the unit by partially disassembling your Xbox. If you have previous experience with computer parts this can be a straightforward task. However, replacing the original Xbox CPU can be quite complex if you are unfamiliar with computer hardware.

Unplug all cables from the Xbox system. Turn the system upside down and lay it on your workspace.

Peal back the silver sticker next to the warranty sticker and the bar code sticker on the bottom of the Xbox, exposing the two screws below them. Remove the screws using a Torx #20 screwdriver.

Remove the four rubber feet at each corner of the Xbox. Remove the screws from below each of the rubber feet using the Torx #20 screwdriver.

Turn the Xbox upright and grasp the sides of the console firmly. Shake the console gently and lift up to remove the top cover from the Xbox system.

Lift up the silver ribbon IDE cable and remove the screw below it that secures the hard drive in place. Remove the two screws that secure the DVD drive, located near the front of the drive, one on each side.

Disconnect the IDE cable and power cable from the hard drive and lift the unit out. Note that you can leave the power cord connected to the hard drive if you wish; it is long enough that you can position the drive right outside of the Xbox while you work.

Disconnect the yellow power cable and IDE cable from the DVD drive. Lift the drive straight up to remove it.

Locate the metal heatsink directly under the hard drive. Disconnect the power cable from the motherboard. Unclip the black pressure tab on top of the heatsink by pulling it towards the front of the Xbox. Lift the heatsink directly off the CPU.

Remove the CPU by pulling it directly out of the socket. Be careful that you do not damage the pins on the bottom of the processor if you intend to reuse it.

Replace the CPU with a processor designed to fit the Xbox socket.

Apply Arctic Silver to the top of the CPU using a wide flat surface, such as an old credit card, to smooth it over. Clean any excess Arctic Silver off the CPU using a cotton swab.

Reassemble the Xbox system, following disassembly instructions in reverse.


Punch through the stickers with your screwdriver if you don't mind the hole in the stickers. Peel back the rubber feet slightly to remove the screws instead of removing them completely.

Things You'll Need

  • Torx #20 screwdriver
  • Replacement CPU
  • Arctic Silver
  • Old credit card
  • Cotton swab
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About the Author

Dustin Thornton has been writing since 2003. He has served as a newspaper columnist for the "Troy Tropolitan" and a contributor to various websites. Thornton received a partial scholarship for an outstanding essay in 2003. He has a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Troy University.