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Original Xbox: The machine that made Microsoft cool

How did a company known for PowerPoint and Clippy become responsible for Halo? With the very first Xbox, that's how. Check out our gorgeous, nostalgia-infused shots of this classic console.

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Luke Westaway, Andrew Hoyle
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1 of 20 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

How did a company known for Clippy, the irksome software help tool, become responsible for Halo? Adventures in Tech examines how Microsoft found its cool, and created the very first Xbox.

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The first Xbox went on sale in 2001.

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At the time, Microsoft was best known for PowerPoint and Windows.

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As a result, many were sceptical that the Xbox would be a success.

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It all began when four members of Microsoft's DirectX team created a prototype machine.

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That prototype was pitched to Microsoft's Ed Fries, and from there it took off.

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Bill Gates announced plans to build a console in the year 2000.

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The name 'DirectX Box' was shortened to 'Xbox'.

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Microsoft cut down production time by using many off-the-shelf PC components.

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The first Xbox was powered by an Intel Pentium III processor.

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It was the first console to sport a built-in hard drive.

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Microsoft claimed the Xbox was more than three times as graphically capable as the PS2.

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Specifically, it could push a whopping 300 million polygons per second.

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It also had an Ethernet port for easy online play.

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The Xbox wasn't especially pretty, or slim -- but it had plenty of gaming grunt.

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The Xbox played host to plenty of great games, notably the first "Halo".

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Microsoft also drafted the ailing Sega to publish a slew of games for the Xbox.

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By the time the Xbox 360 came out, sales of the original had hit 24 million units.

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Today the Xbox looks decidedly retro, as the sleek Xbox One takes centre stage.

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The Xbox One has plenty of bells and whistles, but as a pure, unadulterated gaming machine, few consoles can beat the original Xbox. What are your Xbox memories? Let us know in the comments, and to learn more, be sure to check out the latest episode of Adventures in Tech!

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