Cracking open the Nintendo GameCube
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ntReleased in 2001, the GameCube was Nintendo’s fourth video game console and a significant step forward. With the GameCube, Nintendo moved away a from cartridge-based games to 1.5GB 8cm discs–similar to miniDVD.
ntOriginally priced at $199 USD, we purchased this refurbished unit for about $70.
The four controller ports and two memory card slots are located on the GameCube’s front panel.
The GameCube’s air intake is located on the unit’s right side.
Game disc lid open
DC power connector and AV outs
The GameCube has one analog audio/video output and one “Digital” video output–this output was removed in later versions of the GameCube.
Bottom port covers removed
The GameCube has a highspeed data port and serial port.
Gamecube, power adapter, AV cable, and controller
The GameCube controller has two analog sticks, a D-pad and eight buttons.
GameCube Controller back
Two trigger buttons and a shoulder button are located on the front of the controller.
Top cover, front panel, back panel, and chassis
Disassembling the GameCube begins by removing the four tamper resistant screws that hold on the top cover.
These screws use a 6-point, external star head. You can buy specialty screwdrivers and bits online, but I didn’t have that much time. I used a drill. this damaged the four cover posts on the GameCube’s chassis, but it doesn’t really matter. I don’t plan on moving this GameCube around much and with the top cover in place, the unit works fine.
With the four screws removed, you can lift off the top cover and the snap off the back and front panels.
The front panel snaps to the chassis. It contains the four controller ports and slot for the two memory card ports.
Chassis with optical drive still attached
The GameCube’s optical drive sits atop the chassis.
With the fan removed, you can access and unscrew the remaining Phillips screws that hold the optical drive to the chassis.
Gamecube motherboard and heatsink - Top
With the optical drive gone, we get our first look at the motherboard. The large heatsink covers most of the GameCubes chips.
Gamecube motherboard and heatsink - Front
Six Phillips screws hold the heatsink to the motherboard.
Heatsink without screws
With the screws removed, I can gently remove the heatsink and expose the CPU, GPU and the GameCube’s two 1T-SRAM memory chips.
Motherboard without heatsink
After removing the heatsink, we can see the CPU, GPU, and two 1T-SRAM memory chips.
IBM Power PC "Gekko" CPU
ATI "Flipper" GPU
Two MoSys 1T-SRAM memory chips (24MB total memory)
16MB DRAM chip and audio/video outputs
GameCube heatshink - Top
GameCube heatshink - Bottom
Chassis with metal base plate
The metal base plate is secured with two Phillips screws.
With the metal base plate removed, we can see the GameCube second PCB.