X4 Prototype released
A new prototype DS lite has been discovered by lasscat and ProtonX! Huge thanks to both for sharing the console and helping to get it preserved!
The stickers on this console suggest it may have originated from Nintendo's Research and Engineering Department (RED). However, there are some doubts on whether or not the stickers are real:
"Don't quote me on anything because I could be totally wrong
I believe it is a real proto obviously, there's no doubt
it's just the stickers i'd [sic] be wary of
I have an entire image archive of labels from NCL and I've never seen those fonts before so take that how you will"
The only other mention of this console before now was from an inactive account on Twitter which has posted almost nothing else, which just adds to sketchiness of the stickers.
Differences from retail:
Whether or not the stickers are real, this console is most definitely a prototype. Opening it up reveals an X4 prototype motherboard, and the shell has telltale signs of a prototype. The back of the console, much like the X3 prototype photographed in FCC documents
, features a backwards Nintendo logo, as well as the "SLOT-2" text printed 3 times. In addition, parts of the shell are colored differently than any retail unit.
The X4 motherboard inside is mostly like the retail 01 motherboard, however there are two main differences:
The board has some interesting through holes on the button side, along with a circle around them labelled "MIC1". These new holes connect to the microphone trace and ground. Curiously enough, "MIC1" is also present on the DS phat, and that is where the phat microphone connects. This suggests the prototype DS lite may have used phat microphones for testing. "MIC1" also appears to be included in the X3
and X2B boards.
Photos, left to right: "MIC1" is not visible on retail boards, only the ground hole remains.
The two holes above "P10" where "MIC1" leads.
The section of the shell made to fit the "MIC1" microphone.
The very same "MIC1" is present on DS phat boards for their microphones.
the X4 prototype is missing the "D9" diode for the D-Pad connectors. It is unknown why this was added later.
Left: CPU-X4 proto board is missing "D9", right: CPU-10 retail board has "D9" (as does CPU-01)
The X4 is a later stage prototype, as not much else changed from the X4 to the first released DS lite motherboard revision- with the exclusion of "MIC1' and "D9" of course. Some of the labeling moved around a bit, but all the traces are the same, and all parts are in their proper places.
Firmware and BIOS:
The firmware was dumped as soon as the console was recieved, and dissapointingly it came back as the worldwide region with a builddate of 2006/03/08 11:19, which is the latest worldwide firmware
to have been released. The BIOS also matched retail, though, as one user stated, "not surprised since bios was finalized earlier than 2006". Considering how the X3 board documents submitted to the FCC were in 2006, this would make much sense.
There might be an explanation for the very new retail firmware on the console: SL1.
The SL1 terminal on the DS lite, located by the volume switch, is used to write-protect the firmware. When SL1 is open, it is impossible to edit the firmware. This board's SL1 was soldered shut, meaning someone was tampering with the firmware. It may have been done by Nintendo (the ever handy FCC docs show that they did officially solder this shut on some prototypes) or it may just have been someone who purchased it at some point down the line. Big bummer either way.
X4 Photos (click to enlarge)
Thanks to Kaisaan, Garhoogin, and Kezerker for editing, as well as xprism and togemet2 for additional info.