Sorry, lots of text and no pics.
As someone who’s had 6 red rings in one year, I’ve earned the right to be angry at the Xbox 360. I love the games, the online service, and the experience it brings…but can’t stand the console. Calling it one of the worst designed pieces of tech is being too nice. It is straight up trash.
Like a crack addict, or in this case achievement whore, no matter how bad it treats me I keep coming back. I wish I didn’t have to, I wish that there were other, less abusive alternatives, but against my better judgment I always come crawling back, hoping that my 360 will change. It doesn’t.
It’s no secret that the 360 over heats, and that this causes a 4-6 week vacation from gaming. And since Microsoft isn’t capable of finding an acceptable solution to their problem (I’ve had my 360 return, only to brick again), I’ve decided to take matters into my own hands.
With the help of some insane tech head friends of mine, who basically did all the work while I supervised (I’m the last person you’d want messing with a screwdriver, much less an open and exposed naked 360), we ran some temperature tests to see how best to tackle this issue.
Please note: I’m sure that these are not 100% official MS approved measurements, but we did the best we could to get untainted results.
For our little test we used four separate Xbox 360s. We let them run for an hour, in a completely open space, each running a copy of PGR 4, and then measured the GPU’s temperature using a multimeter, which should have given us precise readings. Why the GPU? Because that is what over heats and causes the RROD. And is also why the new Falcon boards, with smaller and more efficient CPUs, may end up dieing in droves. I digress.
In these tests we ran one 360 as is out of the box, one with the cover removed (lying horizontal, all the goods exposed), one closed and with two internal after market fans (the “Whisper Fan” and the “XCM Add-On“), one exposed with the same fans. How did we get the internal temps of the closed 360s? The cover was snapped on, not screwed, which allowed us to quickly remove it and take the temp before precious heat was lost.
Xbox 360 setup and GPU temp after one hour:
- Stock 360, no added fans: 80 C
- Open 360, no added fans: 70 C
- Stock 360, whisper fan + xcm add-on: 54 C
- Open 360, whisper fan + xcm add-on: 44 C
We were surprised that after only one hour (and who only plays one hour?) the temperature was so high. Add dust, enclosed entertainment sets, and prolonged use to this and suddenly all those red rings make sense. Horrible design confirmed. The additional fans were quite successful in lowering the internal GPU temp, meaning less/no more red rings. It should be noted that the fans, despite being advertised as “whisper quiet”, are anything but. Thought that the 360 was loud before? Try adding more fans to it.
So what’s the point of this very long write up? If you’re tired, like me, of MS support spending more time with your 360 than you, then tossing in a fan or two might be a good idea. That is, if you know what you’re doing, since cracking that thing open voids the 3 year warranty.
I feel like I wrote a science report.