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Due to the very many requests I receive asking how to burn XBox360 backups on a mac, I’ve decided to put together a guide. This will be a very detailed step-by-step guide. The guide will begin with the XGD2 discs and go on to cover burning XGD3 discs.

What You Will Need to burn successful XGD2 and XGD3 XBox360 backups.

  • Latest iXtreme Firmware update for your XBox360

      iXtreme LT+ 2.0 Firmware (12.1 MiB, 1,766 hits)

  • A DVD burner compatible with iXtreme Burner Max Firmware (Buy on Amazon)
    • Liteon iHAS124B = baseline model
    • Liteon iHAS224B = 124 + LightScribe
    • Liteon iHAS324B = 124 + SmartErase
    • Liteon iHAS424B = 124 + LightScribe + SmartErase
    • Liteon iHAS524B = 124 + LabelTag + SmartErase
    • Liteon iHAS624B = 124 + LabelTag + LightScribe + SmartErase
  • iXtreme Burner Max Firmware

      iXtreme Burner Max Firmware (11.5 MiB, 2,885 hits)

  • Verbatim Dual Layer DVD’s (Buy on Amazon)
  • isoBurn 1.3 or later (Mac App Store) – to support burning XGD3 with the recently released iXtreme Burner Max Firmware. isoBurn 1.2 will still burn XGD3 discs but will force truncating of your ISO. isoBurn 1.3 has been submitted to the App Store for approval and should be available sometime this week if all goes well. There are already plans for isoBurn 1.4 that will have more features and functionality. 1.4 should be available at the beginning of next month.

What are XGD2 discs?

XGD2 (XBox Game Disc 2) is the original disc format used by Microsoft for all XBox 360 games. This format is basically the capacity of a Dual Layer DVD.

What are XGD3 discs?

XGD3 (XBox Game Disc 3) is a new format developed by Microsoft to help prevent piracy by using the extra layer of the outside of the disc basically increasing the capacity and therefore using more space then is currently available on all dual layer dvd’s on the market.

What is Truncating?

Truncating is a process by which the item being truncated is sized to a particular length. Taking a number for example 3.141592654. What if we only have 3 available boxes to fit this number into? By using truncation we could truncate this number down to 3.14, do we need the other numbers? NO we don’t. Does 3.14 change drastically because we’ve truncated it to 3 digits? NO it doesn’t.

When we truncate an ISO, all we are doing is cutting off the end of the file, most of it being meaningless data that is not needed. We do this to change the size of the ISO so that it can fit onto a standard dual layer disc.

A word of warning about truncating. In some circumstances the data being cut off while truncating contains important security information that is sometimes required for validation and could quite possibly get you banned from XBox Live. You should only use truncation as a last resort for burning XGD3 discs and when you do, make sure that you do not game online.

Layer Breaks

What is a Layer Break? A Layer Break simply put, specifies at which point on the disc, the first layer should end and the second layer should start. It has been my experience that you can set the layer break lower but not higher then what the maximum layer break supported by the media is.

Layer Breaks were first introduced to the XBox 360 scene when making backups became available. To burn a successful backup, you would have to enter a layer break that was different from the one that would be set by default.

Since we first started hearing about layer breaks several years ago, there hasn’t been much of a change, until recently. Microsoft developed a new disc format which would hold a slightly higher capacity then what is supported on all current Dual Layer DVD’s. With that came a new layer break.

It just so happens that this Layer Break is higher then the maximum supported layer break for current Dual Layer DVD’s. What does this mean? Well, on a Mac, if you try to set a layer break that is higher then the max supported by the media, the mac doesn’t know what it should do and will kindly give you your media back.

So how do we get around this issue? The very first fix was to truncate the ISO file since it was believed that the information at the end of the file was not relevant to game play. So to burn, you would truncate the ISO to the full size available on the blank Dual Layer DVD and then burn with the maximum supported layer break and your XBox360 drive firmware would take care of the rest. Keep in mind that this layer break again, was different then that used for XGD2 discs. So we are now at 3 separate Layer Breaks.

The most recent fix which seems to be the most successful is a firmware by iXtreme that will enable you to burn Dual Layer DVD’s at a higher capacity by way of overburning allowing you to use the correct layer break without having to truncate the ISO file. This method requires a special burner as well as the iXtreme Burner Max firmware.

So, what are the 3 layer breaks and when should you use them?

  • Layer Break 1 – 1913760
    - This is the original layer break and should be used with all XBox360 backups that are not labeled as being XGD3 discs.
  • Layer Break 2 - 2086912
    - This layer break can be used for XGD3 discs but only if you are truncating the ISO file to fit onto a Dual Layer DVD.
  • Layer Break 3 – 2133520
    - This layer break can be used for XGD3 discs. ONLY use this layer break if you are burning with an iXtreme Burner Max firmware updated burner that can burn the full ISO file without truncating. If you attempt to use this layer break without the special burner, your disc will be ejected.

Media

So, what media should you use when burning XGD2, XGD3, backups? Let’s take a quick second and address this. Why? because this is where most people do not believe us when we say ONLY USE VERBATIM MEDIA. Do not attempt to use anything other then Verbatim. Verbatim has been proven to be the most successful when burning backups. So unless you want to burn coasters / have your burn fail have way through, have problems with verification, etc… buy Verbatim.

Let’s put it this way, if you post a comment asking why your burn failed and I ask you what media you are using, you better answer with. “Verbatim”. If you say anything other then Verbatim, I will not help you.

Let me also add… ONLY BURN AT 2X / 2.4X. Never Never Never burn any higher then 2X. If you are impatient and you can’t wait 45 minutes for a backup to finish burning, then go ahead, burn at 4X or even at 6X and watch your burn fail or experience glitches while playing, etc… Bottom line, the amount of time you would spend burning again and again because you are using crappy media and or using a burn speed that is set too high could have been spent playing the game had you used VERBATIM MEDIA and burned at 2X speed.

So, what Media do you use and what speed do you burn at?

  • Verbatim Media (Particularly MKM-003) I’ve heard from a trusted source that they are much better because of the specific dye being used
  • 2x

Burners

So what about burners? Can the internal burner on your Mac burn XGD2 / XGD3? For the most part, yes it can. I’ve tested backups on early iMacs and MacBooks as well as a Mac Mini without issues but with the occasional coaster of course. Why do the burns sometimes work perfectly and other times they don’t? It’s because the internal burners that come with your Mac are pretty much crap, its as simple as that.

So what can you do? You can try to go through the hassle of replacing your internal burner which is a real pain or you can go purchase an external burner.

The latter leaves you with a plethora of options, in an almost overwhelming way… Which burner should I get, there are literally thousands of different ones. I will make a suggestion for you and even provide you with a link to the burner you should purchase. This particular burner I am talking about will allow you to in conjunction with isoBurn, burn backups without having to truncate your ISO file. All you have to do is flash the burner with iXtreme Burner Max firmware and voila just like magic you have now turned your Dual Layer DVD media into a higher capacity disc, that now has just enough space to hold a full XGD3 format ISO.

So, what is this magical burner? There are several models that are compatible with the firmware.

  • Liteon iHAS124B = baseline model
  • Liteon iHAS224B = 124 + LightScribe
  • Liteon iHAS324B = 124 + SmartErase
  • Liteon iHAS424B = 124 + LightScribe + SmartErase
  • Liteon iHAS524B = 124 + LabelTag + SmartErase
  • Liteon iHAS624B = 124 + LabelTag + LightScribe + SmartErase
As you can see here, you’ve got plenty of models to choose from. So if you are going to purchase an external burner you may as well purchase one that is compatible with the iXtreme Burner Max firmware so that you can burn XGD3 discs at 100% without having to truncate. You can pick these up from Amazon, NewEgg, etc… or if you’re lucky, check out your local Walmart. I found that Walmart is currently selling the iHAS324B for $25.00.
Hey, so I thought this was supposed to be a burning guide and not an informational post? Well, I thought I would educate everyone, bring them up to speed so that when I go through the guide, that everyone can understand it and then maybe there won’t be so many people out there who are confused and have no clue how to get their backup to burn.
So without further delay or blabber, here’s the guide.

Burning XGD2 / XGD3 on Mac OS X Definitive Guide

The guides below assume the following:

  • You’ve acquired an ISO file, either XGD2 or XGD3
  • You’ve purchased isoBurn 1.2, 1.3 or 1.4
  • You’ve verified your ISO file using abgx360 (Note: At the time of this post abgx360 is unable to verify XGD3 ISO’s)
  • You have Verbatim media and understand that using anything other then Verbatim could result in bad burns aka coasters.
  • You understand that you must burn at 2x
  • You understand Layer Breaks and their differences
  • You understand the difference between XGD2 and XGD3
If you’ve read the more info

first part of this guide then all of the above items should make sense to you.

Burning XGD2 / XGD3 with isoBurn 1.2

Note: isoBurn 1.2 currently does not support iXtreme Burner Max Firmware. You can still burn XGD3 discs with isoBurn 1.2 but the ISO file will need to be truncated which for the most part is not an issue. XGD2 games burn normally.

isoBurn 1.2, the version currently available on the Mac App Store is able to burn both XGD2 and XGD3 discs without issues. isoBurn will produce 100% playable backups.

To use this guide you will need the following:

  • isoBurn 1.2 (Mac App Store)
  • Verbatim Media
  • An ISO of an XBox 360 backup
After you’ve downloaded and installed isoBurn, go ahead and launch it, you will see a window similar to the image below:
This is the main interface for isoBurn 1.2. As you can see, there are not very many options. This makes isoBurn very simple to use. The following are the steps to burn XGD2 / XGD3 backups with isoBurn 1.2:
Burning XGD2 backups with isoBurn 1.2:
  • Drag your ISO / DVD file into the “Drop your disc image here” box. isoBurn will tell you the File Name, File Type and File Size.
  • Select your burner
  • Insert your blank Dual Layer DVD ONLY VERBATIM
  • Select your write speed, ONLY BURN AT 2x
  • Set your layer break - 1913760 – NOTE: If you used the .dvd instead of the .iso file the layer break will be auto populated for you
  • Check the box next to Layer Break to enable it.
  • Click Burn
  • Wait for isoBurn to finish. You’re Done
Burning XGD3 backups with isoBurn 1.2:
  • Drag your ISO / DVD file into the “Drop your disc image here” box. isoBurn will tell you the File Name, File Type and File Size.
  • Select your burner
  • Insert your blank Dual Layer DVD ONLY VERBATIM
  • Select your write speed, ONLY BURN AT 2x
  • Set your layer break - 2086912 – NOTE: If you used the .dvd instead of the .iso file the layer break will be auto populated for you and will be INCORRECT. You must manually set the layer break to 2086912 or isoBurn will eject the disc and will not burn.
  • Check the box next to Layer Break to enable it if it isn’t checked already.
  • Click Burn
  • An alert box will pop up asking you to truncate your ISO
  • Click OK
  • Wait for isoBurn to finish. You’re Done

Burning XGD2 / XGD3 with isoBurn 1.3

Note: isoBurn 1.3 will not be available until it has been approved by Apple. isoBurn 1.3 fully supports XGD3 burning and is 100% compatible with iXtreme Burner Max firmware so it will burn XGD3 without having to truncate the ISO file. XGD2 games burn normally.

isoBurn 1.3, currently awaiting approval from Apple is able to burn both XGD2 and XGD3 discs without issues. isoBurn will produce 100% playable backups.

To use this guide you will need the following:

  • isoBurn 1.3 (Mac App Store)
  • Verbatim Media
  • An ISO of an XBox 360 backup
  • A burner flashed with iXtreme Burner Max (Optional – If you want to burn full XGD3 without truncating)
After you’ve downloaded and installed isoBurn, go ahead and launch it, you will see a window similar to the image below:
Although not very apparent, you’ll notice a very small change in isoBurn 1.3 from isoBurn 1.2. With isoBurn 1.3 a verification option was added which is needed to verify 100% successful  burns of XGD3 discs… YES, ALWAYS VERIFY YOUR BURN. The following are the steps to burn XGD2 / XGD3 backups with isoBurn 1.3:
Burning XGD2 backups with isoBurn 1.3:
  • Drag your ISO / DVD file into the “Drop your disc image here” box. isoBurn will tell you the File Name, File Type and File Size.
  • Select your burner
  • Insert your blank Dual Layer DVD ONLY VERBATIM
  • Select your write speed, ONLY BURN AT 2x
  • Set your layer break - 1913760 - NOTE: If you used the .dvd instead of the .iso file the layer break will be auto populated for you
  • Check the box next to Layer Break to enable it.
  • Click Burn
  • Wait for isoBurn to finish. You’re Done
Burning XGD3 backups with isoBurn 1.3 – Truncating Method:
  • Drag your ISO / DVD file into the “Drop your disc image here” box. isoBurn will tell you the File Name, File Type and File Size.
  • Select your burner
  • Insert your blank Dual Layer DVD ONLY VERBATIM
  • Select your write speed, ONLY BURN AT 2x
  • Set your layer break - 2086912 - NOTE: If you used the .dvd instead of the .iso file the layer break will be auto populated for you and will be INCORRECT. You must manually set the layer break to 2086912 or isoBurn will eject the disc and will not burn.
  • Check the box next to Layer Break to enable it if it isn’t checked already.
  • Click Burn
  • An alert box will pop up asking if you would like to Truncate, Try Without Truncating or Cancel
  • Click OK to Truncate
  • Wait for isoBurn to finish. You’re Done
Burning XGD3 backups with isoBurn 1.3 – iXtreme Burner Max Firmware Method:
  • Drag your ISO / DVD file into the “Drop your disc image here” box. isoBurn will tell you the File Name, File Type and File Size.
  • Select your burner
  • Insert your blank Dual Layer DVD ONLY VERBATIM
  • Select your write speed, ONLY BURN AT 2x
  • Set your layer break - 2133520 – NOTE: If you used the .dvd instead of the .iso file the layer break will be auto populated for you
  • Check the box next to Layer Break to enable it if it isn’t checked already.
  • Check the box to Verify After Burn
  • Click Burn
  • An alert box will pop up asking if you would like to Truncate, Try Without Truncating or Cancel
  • Click Try Without Truncating
  • Wait for isoBurn to finish burning
  • Wait for isoBurn to finish verifying. You’re Done

Burning XGD2 / XGD3 with isoBurn 1.4

isoBurn 1.4, currently available on the Mac App Store is able to burn both XGD2 and XGD3 discs without issues. isoBurn 1.4 fully supports XGD3 burning and is 100% compatible with iXtreme Burner Max firmware so it will burn XGD3 without having to truncate the ISO file. XGD2 games burn normally.

To use this guide you will need the following:

  • isoBurn 1.4 (Mac App Store)
  • Verbatim 2.4x Media
  • An ISO of an XBox 360 backup
  • A burner flashed with iXtreme Burner Max (Optional – If you want to burn full XGD3 without truncating)
Enhancements to this version:
  • Added Optimal Layer Break button, for auto setting the layer break for XGD3 discs (Truncating / Full Burn)
  • Added Cancel button to the burn dialog so that you can cancel the burn process
  • Added Alert Popup to alert you if an error occurred
  • Added Alert Popup to alert you when the burn finished
  • Added Alert Sound to alert you if an error occurred
  • Added Alert Sound to alert you when the burn finished
  • Added Data Transfer Rate to the burn dialog
  • Added Burn Speed to the burn dialog
After you’ve downloaded and installed isoBurn, go ahead and launch it, you will see a window similar to the image below:

Although not very apparent, you’ll notice a very small change in isoBurn 1.4 from isoBurn 1.3. With isoBurn 1.4 an Optimal Layer Break button was added which helps you set the layer break by detecting the media size and determining the maximum layer break. isoBurn with the help of the Optimal Layer Break button will auto set the layer break for you for XGD3 discs. For XGD2 it is still necessary to enter 1913760 for the layer break. The following are the steps to burn XGD2 / XGD3 backups with isoBurn 1.4:
Burning XGD2 backups with isoBurn 1.4:
  • Drag your ISO / DVD file into the “Drop your disc image here” box. isoBurn will tell you the File Name, File Type and File Size.
  • Select your burner
  • Insert your blank Dual Layer DVD ONLY VERBATIM
  • Select your write speed, ONLY BURN AT 2.4x
  • Set your layer break - 1913760 - NOTE: If you used the .dvd instead of the .iso file the layer break will be auto populated for you
  • Check the box next to Layer Break to enable it.
  • Click Burn
  • Wait for isoBurn to finish. You’re Done
Burning XGD3 backups with isoBurn 1.4 – Truncating Method:
  • Drag your ISO / DVD file into the “Drop your disc image here” box. isoBurn will tell you the File Name, File Type and File Size.
  • Select your burner
  • Insert your blank Dual Layer DVD ONLY VERBATIM
  • Select your write speed, ONLY BURN AT 2.4x
  • Set your layer break by clicking on the Optimal Layer Break button or enter it manually - 2086912 - NOTE: If you used the .dvd instead of the .iso file the layer break will be auto populated for you and will be INCORRECT. You must manually set the layer break to 2086912 or isoBurn will eject the disc and will not burn.
  • Check the box next to Layer Break to enable it if it isn’t checked already.
  • Click Burn
  • An alert box will pop up asking if you would like to Truncate or Cancel
  • Click OK to Truncate
  • Wait for isoBurn to finish. You’re Done
Burning XGD3 backups with isoBurn 1.4 – iXtreme Burner Max Firmware Method:
  • Drag your ISO / DVD file into the “Drop your disc image here” box. isoBurn will tell you the File Name, File Type and File Size.
  • Select your burner
  • Insert your blank Dual Layer DVD ONLY VERBATIM
  • Select your write speed, ONLY BURN AT 2.4x
  • Set your layer break by clicking on the Optimal Layer Break button or enter it manually - 2133520 - NOTE: If you used the .dvd instead of the .iso file the layer break will be auto populated for you
  • Check the box next to Layer Break to enable it if it isn’t checked already.
  • Check the box to Verify After Burn
  • Click Burn
  • Wait for isoBurn to finish burning
  • Wait for isoBurn to finish verifying. You’re Done

 

If you have any questions that this guide doesn’t cover, feel free to ask. If you think any of the information in this guide is incorrect, please contact me and I will verify and correct the guide.

If you’ve read the entire guide and followed it word for word, number for number and you are getting coasters then you haven’t followed the guide word for word, number for number OR you may have a batch of defective media which isn’t likely but possible or your burner is defective which is more likely.

I hope that you all have enjoyed reading this guide as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it. Seriously, I’m probably the only person with a blog that hates writing.. haha.

Kid Tunes

Kid Tunes

Kid Tunes, one of my most recently developed apps, was approved and is now available on the App Store for purchase at only .99 cents. As usual I am doing a writeup on about the app here on chris-fletcher.com and provide links to the App Store page as well as a link to the location of the app on Empoc Media.

It was a lot of fun developing this app, mostly for my 6 year old daughter because she got to help me test it. Now that the app is finished she constantly asks me if she can play it. Needless to say, my iPhone no longer belongs to me. :)

Kid Tunes is an easy to use app for the iPhone and iPod Touch that includes 12 music sheets for famous children’s songs. Kid Tunes is sure to bring many hours of entertainment for your kids as well as for yourself, yup, Kid Tunes is fun for adults too. I’ll admit I have Row Row Row Your Boat stuck in my head.

The piano keys are color and number coded which match with the colors and numbers on the note sheets to make it easy for anyone to play the piano while learning how to read some simple sheet music. I already have some future updates planned which will include more songs to choose from as well as some other feature enhancements. Maybe I will include a play song button that will play the song for you once so that you can listen to the tune and and tempo. I think a volume bar might be a good idea and maybe I will implement some different themes.

Ideas are always welcome as well as any and all constructive criticism.

Links:

Kid Tunes on the App Store

Kid Tunes on Empoc Media

I’ve been spending a lot of time lately developing new iPhone and iPod Touch apps. In this post I will list some of the new apps that I’ve developed and give a brief description of each. First I will cover 2 new apps that were approved by the App Store as of today and then I will cover 2 more apps that should be approved soon.

Recently Approved:

2012 : Mayan Countdown – This app for the iPhone and iPod touch is an application designed and developed specifically for counting down the days, hours, minutes and seconds until December 21st 2012 at 11:11:11 AM.

I don’t have a personal opinion as to what will happen on this very important day in the history of our planet but I do know that many people believe that it will be the end of life as we know it. In either case, with this app it will make it easy and fun to count down to this day no matter what you believe will happen.

2012: Mayan Countdown was developed with optimized graphics for the new iPhone 4′s retina display. The graphics in this app are what makes it truly unique from all of the other Mayan Countdown apps available at the App Store.

The settings you can change for this application include the ability to turn on or off the second ticks as well as the background music which is great for relaxing and sets the mood for the countdown clock with ambient noise from the ancient Mayan times. You can also choose if you want to use the default setting of the iPhone or iPod Touch’s auto lock mode. With this mode disabled the clock will stay on the screen and you can watch and listen while you fall asleep.

You can get 2012 : Mayan Clock from the App Store today for only .99 cents by clicking on the above “Available on the App Store” link. If you are one of the first 50 people, go to http://empoc.com and request a promo code to download the app for free. The deal is, you get a free copy and in return you write a review and rate the app on the App Store.

Convert To Mayan – Convert To Mayan is an app for the iPhone and iPod Touch that I developed after the development of 2o12 : Mayan Countdown. During the development process I’ve had to go back and forth to double check my calculations and make sure that the decimal numbers were being converted correctly to Mayan numerals.

I thought that it would be a great idea to have an application to do the conversion process rather then having to do it manually. Doing the process manually isn’t difficult, its just converting from a base-10 to a base-20 counting system and then figuring out how many bars, dots and shells you should have.

However as the numbers get bigger it becomes more difficult to figure out what the Mayan numerals should look like and that’s where this application comes in really handy. Since finishing the Mayan Countdown app, I don’t have any further use for this application but I’ve heard that there is at least one college math course that requires you to convert from decimal to Mayan numerals.

Convert To Mayan will make the process of double checking your work as simple as launching the app and then typing in the decimal value and clicking on convert. The app then instantly gives you the Mayan numeral representation of the decimal value that you entered.

Just like 2012 : Mayan Countdown, this app has a price tag of .99 cents and as all of the other apps developed by Empoc, you can get a free copy if you are one of the first 50 and write a review and rate the app on the App Store.

Coming Soon:

There are currently 2 apps waiting for the App Store approval. The 2 applications are “A Mayan Clock” and “Kid Tunes”. A Mayan Clock was inspired by 2012 : Mayan Countdown and Convert To Mayan. After searching the App Store and finding only one Mayan Clock, I only thought it was fair that everyone had more than one clock to choose from.

This isn’t just any old Mayan Clock, this is a sleek futuristic digital clock representing the time in Mayan numerals with a beautifully designed alien theme.

Kid Tunes is a piano app for the iPhone and iPod touch, designed to be easy for kids ages 5+ to use. It’s fun for kids and entertaining for adults. Kid Tunes is sure to provide you and your kids with hours of fun playing and learning the piano with the included note sheets of famous children’s songs.

Some other upcoming applications include a Trivia Game, a Learn To Multiply Game, and an app that will measure your car’s 0 to 60 speed.

To stay up to date on all current and future apps developed by Empoc Media please visit the companies site at http://empoc.com and subscribe to the RSS feed.

Comments and suggestions are always welcome.