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Unsolved Using Your XDK: PIX (Performance Investigator) Tutorial



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Getting an XDK can be a really exciting thing if you haven't already explored, or played around with one before! I decided to write this tutorial as a lot of the tuts I see around aren't very beginner friendly, and the community seems agitated to help new owners. If you're just getting into XDK/Test/Development kits, I highly suggest you read my first post located here. It will go over motherboard/XDK revisions and land you tons of links to the software that we will need to interface properly with our kit(s).


PIX stands for Performance Indicator for Xbox. It is a CPU, GPU, and file event monitoring application used to monitor the performance, and debug applications developers are creating. You may have read that XDK's can use this program, but not a lot of people showcase the true potential of the application, or answer why you would use such a tool! Developers would use this tool to discover bottlenecks, broken assets, and uncover the reason for crashes. Homebrew + data preservation enthusiasts would use this application for a similar reason. Some groups have come together to restore lost games, and they would use PIX or XbWatson to gain insight as to how broken the build they are researching actually is. You may also use this if you developed mod menus to discover why your menu is crashing, but again, I don't condone XDKs being used for online modding. I would get an RGH and load RGLoader.

PIX will be included in your SDK (Xbox 360 Neighborhood) install, as will Xbox Watson.

After installing the SDK, you will need to connect to your development motherboard (Needs to be dev, not test) to your computer via the PIX port located on your sidecar (Older, phat dev kits) or via a network. In one of the SDK updates, they added monitoring over network, which makes for fewer wires in your development setup. I personally haven't used the dedicated PIX port on my consoles for months.

Once you launch the performance investigator application, you will be met with a screen like this one. I am currently monitoring over network/wifi, but you can also USB into the PIX port of your cart if need be. I find monitoring over network to be a little easier, running a LAN cable from my ethernet port on the console to my router, then accessing the IP from my laptop. Once we start listening, you can see a couple of different colored lines, showcasing the performance attributes of the CPU/GPU in real time. We are also granted a toolbar in the upper portion of the application, which is how we will open the file event monitoring window.

Upon startnig the file event monitor from the Windows tab, we are given a separate window with the option to "start listening". Once we start listening, all textures, sounds, models, scripts, and etc will be shown here, giving us a status of whether or not they were successfully pulled, or are broken! This allows us to better see if we are missing files, file names, or etc from our build as we develop it.

Thats about everything! Hope this helps you debug your builds or applications!
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