The XIM 3 stand for XBOX Input Machine version 3. For those who do not know, the XIM 3 allows for a keyboard, mouse, joystick, and other USB based devices to be adapted to the console. But that is not the end of the device's features. In many games a little autoaim functionality is added to help the player aim using a controller, since the controller is not the most precisely controlled input device. The XIM 3 has onboard software called "Smart Translators" that takes a particular game's aiming and movement actions and attempts to remove any autoaim and movement aids to give a PC like keyboard and mouse feel. Let's take a look at this achievement from the inside.
The device is stylish and does not feel cheap. The casing, a dense plastic, sits the screen at an angle allowing the player to see the information while seated as if at a desk, within the LCD's viewing angle. 3 A type USB ports are on the back for, presumably, a keyboard, mouse, and XBOX controller. The XBOX controller is needed, ultimately, for sending the control signals to the console. The XBOX addresses a controller and expect signals. The XIM piggybacks on the controller signal. A mini usb port is present for a connection to the XBOX console itself. A barrel plug for a power adapter is also present, which may be needed at a user adds a USB hub for more devices.
The XIM 3 shell is held together with 2 visible screws and two underneath foot-pads. Inside shows the screen ribbon cable connected to the mainboard on the base. The screen model number is SG100331. Ribbon cable is marked TS8001S FKJ40010 V1.0. The LCD is a QVGA panel
The mainboard has a model name HDDC3C02 made by HDDC inc. No information could be found on the company or model number. However, the central microcontoller is a NXP - . A cortex M3 100Mhz 32 Bit ARM processor with 65KB RAM and 512KB program memory space. On the mainboard is a Texas Instruments 4-port Full-Speed USB Hub, hence XIM3's 4 ports. (The hub requires 3.3V, the assumption is that the NXP ARM is also run at the same voltage.) Also present is a MAX3421EE USB peripheral host controller with SPI interface. This controller digital logic and analog circuitry necessary to implement a full-speed USB peripheral, or in this case the T.I host controller. (Supply voltage for the MAX chip is also 3.3V) Not to surprise anyone, but a LD33 F022 (3.3V) linear voltage regulator powers the whole system. My only complaint about the system are the experience I had with the 3 main USB ports. It was easy to bend a pin out of place, impeding cable inserts. However, I bent the pins back in place, and all was well.
There is no additional memory, so the entire program sits in 512KB. Overall, it is an impressive design, circuit, packaging, and the code must be exquisite. This is an example of only one person accomplishing an amazing feat on his own. Inspiration to all of us and our ideas.
XIM 3 units are finally available at the XIM Technologies website on a regular basis. When the XIM was first released, the attention and web traffic was so great that it crashed the servers. After the website's servers were upgraded, "OBsIV" the creator of XIM, would only open the store privately for short periods, like 5 minutes. The only way to the store was knowing the direct address, and was not available from the home page. Some people were using other services, like "alertbox," to monitor when the site would open. Eventually, everyone who desperately wanted one, now has one. For the record, the one pictured above was purchased in a 5 minute window in February.
Want to know how the device performs in games? I will relate my experiences in an up and coming post.