Saturday, March 8, 2008

Achtung! Xbox 360 overheating explained!

Ever get drunk and piss on the toilet seat without lifting the lid? I'll explain. The ever-resourceful Deutschland modding community has reportedly discovered the reason behind the 360's overheating issue. Xbox-Scene informs that a group of German tech-heads from and took apart two independently purchased consoles and discovered the protective foil on the heatsink had not been removed

On the left
[see above pic] you see the CPU heatsink and how the thermal compound should normally look like. On the right you see the ATI GPU heatsink and people who are used to assemble PCs themself known this isn't how it should look like. It's not just a thick layer of compound ... there's actaully a plastic protective foil on top of the thermal compound.

On the right a close-up of the protective layer/foil on top of the heat transfer pad. On the left the protective foil has been removed and placed next to the heat pad. This protective layer is probably placed by the manifacturer of the heatsink and is used to protect the heat transfer pad from dust, but should normally be removed just prior installing the heatsink on the GPU. The way it's installed now by MS the GPU chip makes contact with the plastic protection foil instead of the heat transfer pad. This can of course cause cooling issues for the graphics chip as for optimal cooling performance there should just be a thin layer of thermal pad between the GPU chip and heatsink.

They also have a video (in German) that appears to point out the offending foil.

How many consoles could be affected by this basic issue? Was the overheating scandal really as simple as Friday Happy Hour on the assembly lines? Hardware-savvy readers please weigh in. Also would any German-speakers care to translate?

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