Inside an Xbox 360 Jasper: Ben Heck dissects the mythical console, then tells you how to find one

"Gentlemen! I give you... JASPER!" [lightning crackles, thunder sound FX]

Ace modder Benjamin J Heckendorn (aka "Benheck") has found -- and immediately dissected -- an Xbox 360 Jasper. As widely reported, it was inside an Arcade unit. In the following story, he not only details what he finds inside, but will also clue you in on how you too can find this model on store shelves. Read on for the exclusive Engadget look at the guts and the glory!

This was a FDOU team Xbox 360, manufactured on 10-22-08, lot # 0842X.

For starters the Jasper does indeed have a large amount of on-board memory. With NXE installed, the system shows an "MU" having 214MB free. It'll be interesting to see if the 60GB Pro Jaspers have this... I would bet yes, having NXE on-board would be handy, but as we all know it still runs even with your hard drive removed.

That's all well and good, but enough of this running the Xbox, let's rip it apart! It's a "super unboxing!"

Here are the main internals of the unit. The GPU still has the extended heat pipe installed -- guess they're not taking any chances with this one. Good for them! CPU heatsink has not changed from the Falcon.

Looks like a Phillips drive. I took a picture of this since some people obsess over which DVD drive they use. Moving on...

The motherboard thus far. The amount / locations of toroidal coils and electrolytic capacitors has not changed at all from the Falcon unit. In fact I've come across Falcon units that actually use much smaller caps on the right hand side of the CPU, but as we all know there's scores of hardware revisions.

I would suspect this sticker pretty much confirms what this unit is. In the past this location would have stickers saying things like "RMA Heatsink" -- so apparently they called it a Return Materials Authorization heatsink in-house? Interesting. I like "extended heatpipe" heatsink personally... to each his or her own I guess.

So far so normal...

Whoa! The bottom-mounted memory is back -- who woulda thought? As the world's foremost buyer of Xbox 360's (I pretty much have to be) I've seen this flip-flop a lot... some have bottom memory, some don't, some with bottom memory had pads heat sinking it to the RF shield, again, some don't. Weird.

X-clamps haven't changed, nor has the layout of the circuitry below the GPU. Well, nothing drastically noticeable...

Hello, what's this? Traces for some kind of controller and a memory unit. This is right under the ring of light, wonder what the purpose could be?

OK here's the star of the show -- the new GPU. The main body is the same size as the past GPU's, which I did not expect, but there are a lot less components on the surface and the main heat die is considerably smaller and not centered on the package, either.

Old 90nm GPU for reference.

The CPU hasn't changed much from the Falcon.

I'll do some heat tests with this unit once I inevitably slap it into an Xbox 360 laptop. Now let's move onto how you can spot one of these new units in the store!

The Xbox 360 box has a hole at the top of it where the bar code of the console is visible. Clerks usually scan this when you buy one. What you need to do it look at the lower left corner of this box. If you peer closely you can make out at least half of the voltage/amperage rating of the unit. The # of amps used by the 12 volt rail is the key to determining which console it is. The photos below show this in detail.

14.2 amps equals a Falcon unit (65nm CPU, 90nm GPU). Please keep in mind there's nothing wrong with having one of these, I play mine a lot and it's fine. You might not be able to see the whole voltage listing just through the peep-hole, but you should at least be able to see if a 14.2A or 12.1A is just to the left of the "5V".

12.1 amps equals a Jasper unit (65nm CPU, 65nm GPU). This voltage rating is also listed above the power input, but of course you can't see that when it's in the box.

There has been a lot of discussion about lot #'s, power supply ratings, and things of that nature being used to find Jaspers. I have found those to be unreliable. For instance, this Jasper was lot #0842X. However at Circuit City today I saw a 0843X Arcade unit, but it was 14.2 amps.

Also this particular Jasper came with a 175W power supply (like the Falcons used). They are probably trying to use up all the older PSU's and thus it was packed with the unit. Keep in mind that even if this Xbox only needs 150W it's not a issue to power it with a 175W supply, just like people who put 700W PSU's in their PC's for no apparent reason.

Above we see the power port of the Jasper 360. Note how it has a slit in the middle of the top plastic bar. The plugs on the PSU's are designed in a way to be forwards not backwards compatible. That is, an original 203W PSU will fit in any Xbox 360, but because of these 'keying", a new 150W PSU will only fit in an Jasper. Likewise a Falcon PSU will fit in a Jasper but not vice-versa.

So yes, check the amperage rating of the unit at the back -- it's the most sure-fire way to find a Jasper from what I have seen.

OK that's about it for the Jasper autopsy. I look forward to using these in my Xbox 360 laptop-building endeavors!

-Ben Heckendorn