While there are alternatives for both consoles, a good soldered modchip offers the most flexibility. For the XBOX you can now find re-liable no-solder adapters for the chips and they will work just as well as soldering in the modchip (ie Xecutor 2.6+no solder adapter). For the PS2 IMHO the swap discs just don't cut it. An increasing number of games are requiring multiple swaps, patches, ect. just to get them to work and sometimes it takes a little while for the fixes to be released. As long as you have a trusted installer put a good chip in your PS2, you will have the least amount of trouble out of any of the options. Of course it is best if you solder it yourself but the PS2 IS NOT for the inexperienced solderer. I for one have no regrets about spending the extra cash to get my PS2 chipped with a DMS3. No patches, no fixes, no multiple swaps, screwing up covers, ect. to deal with. Simply Pop the original in the PC and read to the HD, then write back to DVD-R (I really recommend a quality DVD-R disc on the PS2 for best results with all versions). I visit a number of PS2 forums and the most problems are with people who are using swap methods. For XBOX backups, that is a whole other story. You will need to replace the standard MS Dashboard (that green menu that boots up when you turn on an XBOX), with Evox, Unleash X, ect. in order to FTP your original disc over to your PC. Then pick up either Qwix or Craxton to convert the files into an ISO file and then burn to disc using your favorite PC burning program. There is a little bit more to it than that, but those are the basics.