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The original heatsink found in the majority of Xbox 360 consoles today (Source: AnandTech)

The first sighting of the new cooling solution

A follow-up sighting confirmed from Eastern Europe
Will a revised Xbox 360 heatsink and heatpipe fix the dreaded Red Ring of Death?

With the growing number of complaints surrounding the failures of Xbox 360 hardware, both owners and prospective buyers of the games console often wonder if Microsoft is doing anything to improve the reliability of the hardware.

Reports coming in from Europe indicate that Microsoft is adding some additional cooling measures to the Xbox 360. First seen on French website Logic-Sunrise are pictures of a revised heatsink that sits below the DVD-ROM drive.

The new heatsink, complete with a heatpipe to another heatsink, sits on top of the Xbox 360’s Xenos GPU. The same hardware cooling changes were also found on MaxConsole in a Microsoft-repaired console in the Czech Republic.

It’s still unclear if these revised Xbox 360 units also incorporate epoxy to bond the CPU and GPU onto the console’s motherboard. It is suspected that when the console internals heat up, the connection between the BGA part and the motherboard may disconnect when the PCB warps.

Microsoft has attempted to address this problem by surrounding the CPU and GPU with epoxy on the Xbox 360 Elite, though it has yet to be seen on the Premium or Core packages.

Aside from more aggressive heatsinks, the Xbox 360’s best way to cool down would be by way of a die shrink. Reports from 2006 originally targeted for the shrink from 90nm to 65nm to arrive by this time, though new information points to the new chip version to arrive later this year.

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Never had a problem
By mdogs444 on 6/13/2007 1:59:43 PM , Rating: 2
I have never ever had a single problem with my 360 - over a year running. I may not sit down play every day for 5-6 hrs straight, but short of being a defect - how do these people keep over heating their systems?

No offense, but if it overheats due to playing video games TOO much, then perhaps you should grab a baseball bat & glove and go outside for some old fashioned fun & exercise!


RE: Never had a problem
By Goty on 6/13/07, Rating: 0
RE: Never had a problem
By mdogs444 on 6/13/2007 2:08:49 PM , Rating: 1
I guess that would make sense. I really was being sarcastic w/ my remark - but its like any electronis. If you put it where there is no airflow, you are just looking for trouble.

RE: Never had a problem
By vitul on 6/13/2007 2:14:30 PM , Rating: 2
my 360 sits on a cold tile floor with nothing around it and it had to be sent back to microsoft. it doesnt matter where u put the console it gets to hot. my friend has his ps3 in a confined tight unventalated space and has 0 issues. the problem with the 360 is poor design and poor parts used. lets just hope ms has fixed the issue.

RE: Never had a problem
By xeltor on 6/13/2007 4:02:05 PM , Rating: 1
The floor is one of the worst spots to place a electronic device all you are doing is feeding your 360 extra dust.

I hope this design does help solve the problems and they get all of their production lines changed over quick.

RE: Never had a problem
By Samus on 6/14/2007 3:30:32 AM , Rating: 2
Neither me or my friends have had our 360's fail. Most of them are first versions too (we bought them close to release almost 2 years ago) and mine sits on top of my receiver since I have nowhere else to put it. It runs pretty warm but not boiling hot. Has never given me trouble, knock on wood.

RE: Never had a problem
By Goty on 6/13/2007 5:38:41 PM , Rating: 2
Oh, wait, I forgot, anything non-negative about a PS3 gets your comment sent to -1. My bad.

RE: Never had a problem
By kmmatney on 6/13/2007 6:06:36 PM , Rating: 4
My co-worker's XBox360 also died for no apparent reason. He doesn't play it a lot and it is well-ventilated. There is obviously room for improvement here.

RE: Never had a problem
By Ralph The Magician on 6/13/2007 2:29:07 PM , Rating: 5
Typially, I'd agree, but the Xbox 360 is different. The fail rate has to be close to 10%. That is simply unacceptable. Even a well ventelated 360 seems to get inredibly hot. The heat causes the PCB around the CPU to expand and contract, and well...the rest is history.

RE: Never had a problem
By Alexvrb on 6/13/07, Rating: 0
RE: Never had a problem
By psychobriggsy on 6/13/2007 6:27:42 PM , Rating: 2
That's the figure I've heard as well from a source within Game (UK games retailer).

I can't verify it any further than that.

RE: Never had a problem
By xeltor on 6/13/2007 4:06:02 PM , Rating: 2
And how did you get this number? Microsoft is the only one who knows for sure how many consoles have red ringed and they sure as heck are not about to reveal that. It could be a far smaller or larger figure than 10%.

RE: Never had a problem
By apollo7 on 6/13/2007 7:46:33 PM , Rating: 1
I think from general knowledge you can assume that the number has to be close. Of just a few of my friends, I think maybe one in 5 haven't sent theirs in.

Of course you know what ASSuming does...

RE: Never had a problem
By otispunkmeyer on 6/14/2007 3:35:36 AM , Rating: 2
they do indeed

i have mine on my desk, right under a usually open window, so its constantly being dowsed in cold fresh air.

the heat out the back is still tremendous though.

thankfully its not died yet, though i do have issues with the DVD spitting its dummy out every once in a while...even on brand new discs.

RE: Never had a problem
By bob4432 on 6/13/2007 2:53:06 PM , Rating: 2
i really don't thinks this will fix the problem. they are gaining a little bit of surface area but there still is not that much more airflow where the put the new radiator.

there are many other mods that would work better than this on, but you do have to open your 360 up and this would void the warranty.

and yes, even with the 360 being in a well ventilated area this does happen. and it doesn't take playing it that much for it to happen, not every day for 5-6hrs straight, but much less on certain 360s.

i have actually seen pics of warped 360 gpu heatsinks, where the corners were pulled down and the part where the gpu would touch was higher, so there is a problem with the attaching mechanism too, so hopefull they changed that too.

too bad ms has come up with this now, after so many people have bought units that will die, even though they have known there is a problem for a long time.

RE: Never had a problem
By AnnihilatorX on 6/13/2007 3:23:48 PM , Rating: 2
Perhaps it's because of where you live?

RE: Never had a problem
By bob4432 on 6/13/2007 9:00:22 PM , Rating: 2
the problem is so widespread it is everywhere. the issue is a design issue

RE: Never had a problem
By FITCamaro on 6/13/2007 3:47:43 PM , Rating: 2
Gotta love how this guy gets rated down for making a comment on his own system and for expressing his opinion (a fairly accurate one) on playing video games too much.

RE: Never had a problem
By enlil242 on 6/14/2007 7:34:22 PM , Rating: 2
Well, I thought like you did a ways back. About 5 months. I bought mine back in December ‘06. I played quite a bit at first, got some games and spent my nights playing GoW, NHL07 and COD3. I'd also picked up the HD-DVD drive and used the 360 drive as my regular DVD player. Not much, maybe a couple of hours every other night with nary a problem. I read a lot of RRoD blogs and posts and felt that their unit was in an enclosed area or the person played for 12 hours straight, didn’t take good care of it or something crazy like that.

Well, some time went by. I played games a bit less, but still would watch a DVD now and then. Then the day the spring update came out I thought I'd try the new features. When I turned it on, I couldn't sign in to xbox-live so I thought I’d try and run the diagnostic tool to see if it was my Linksys wireless adapter. Next thing I know, I saw some graphical anomalies during the test. I restarted the unit and saw that it froze and the startup screen. Another reboot sprung the RRoD!

I was horrified. I thought that I had taken great care of my unit … and yet still got it.

Long story short, I think there are some who do NOT take care of their unit so much, but like I read somewhere, I hadn't taken this much care of a console EVER. I think unless you are using this in a cabinet in Phoenix with no air conditioning, it should provide adequate cooling on its own.

On a side note, my dual core SLI’d computer runs 24-7 and I usually bring it to full load as much as the 360 and NEVER had my GPU crap out on me the way my 360 did under very light use. I would say that there just might be something to the cooling issue. But, as I used to think, I doubt anyone would believe me … as I didn't believe the ones who had it happen to them ... (until it happened to me.)

Luckily I had gotten mine from Costco before the change in return policy so I took everything back and got my money back, for the 360 AND HD-DVD. Since then I was going to wait until I read about a new revision, but a friend picked up a returned Elite from Target for $336, but decided that he didn't need it so he offered it to me. I thought I couldn't pass that up. Let's see how long it will last! ;-)

I will look on XBOX-Scene to see if I can find out if blowing it with canned-air every so often would help? Just might try and be a little proactive this time...

By HardwareD00d on 6/13/07, Rating: 0
RE: question
By Goty on 6/13/2007 2:08:30 PM , Rating: 1
I didn't even know that was a problem.

RE: question
By bob4432 on 6/13/2007 2:47:05 PM , Rating: 2
the heatsink doesn't detach from the gpu. i have seen warped gpu heatsinks though. i think what you are talking about is the actual gpu having cracks in the solder because of the type of solder used, the amount of heat generated and the xclamp attaching mechanism that puts a lot of stress on the m/b

RE: question
By DragonMaster0 on 6/13/2007 3:28:57 PM , Rating: 2
the actual gpu having cracks in the solder because of the type of solder used,
So that's the first big disaster caused by lead-free solder?

RE: question
By bob4432 on 6/13/2007 9:03:03 PM , Rating: 2

RE: question
By PaxtonFettel on 6/14/2007 5:08:18 AM , Rating: 2
It's a comnpletely unfounded rumour, but I have heard that certain people who work for MS have said (strictly off the record of course)that wrapping the 360 in a towel and then turning it on can actually 'heal' it as it re-melts the solder back into place....

Anyone want to try it and report?

RE: question
By NARC4457 on 6/14/2007 7:36:09 AM , Rating: 2
You must be joking. There's no way that overheating your 360 like that would be a good idea.

RE: question
By jajig on 6/14/2007 8:05:20 AM , Rating: 2
Why not? People use hot air guns to bring them back to life.

How about a fan?
By RjBass on 6/13/2007 2:51:46 PM , Rating: 2
Well I don't have a 360, just a regular XBox and I rarely use it anymore since I built my gaming PC. But just from looking at those pics, it appears as though they didn't include a exhaust fan in the 360. Is that true, and if so, is it possible to add an after market fan?

I would think that could help, at least a little bit.

RE: How about a fan?
By A5 on 6/13/2007 3:02:46 PM , Rating: 2
There are 2 loud exhaust fans in the rear, and they draw air in from a vent on the right side.

RE: How about a fan?
By GoatMonkey on 6/14/2007 1:32:51 PM , Rating: 2
Loud is relative. Go to some rock concerts and damage you hearing like me. I can't even tell if the thing is running without looking at a light.

RE: How about a fan?
By Aikouka on 6/13/2007 3:03:09 PM , Rating: 2
We can't be completely sure, but I'd say there's a fan (or two) under that white plastic hood.

RE: How about a fan?
By walk2k on 6/13/2007 3:59:51 PM , Rating: 2
I think anyone with average hearing can be pretty sure.... those things sound like a jet engine taking off.

RE: How about a fan?
By BMFPitt on 6/13/2007 4:21:25 PM , Rating: 2
I think the jet engine is the DVD drive.

In the future..
By glenn8 on 6/13/2007 1:57:54 PM , Rating: 5
In the future our children (grandchildren) are going read about technology of the early 2000s and wonder why we fussed over putting giant blocks of metal and fans into our systems to cool them. Seems as silly as looking back at pre-transistor technology with the dials and blinking lights. :)

RE: In the future..
By dice1111 on 6/13/2007 3:55:35 PM , Rating: 2
We also connected to the internet using a phone line, drove cars that ran on gasoline, had printers that couldn't do 3D, knew what a command promt was, film cameras, CRT monitors, physically spinning harddrives, had to rip our own CD's to MP3 on those HDDs, non-HD tv's, couldn't stream Divx/Xvid to those TV's without a lot or pain, had to deal with DRM (i'm hoping they finally realize it's futile and get rid of it), and walked to school uphill both ways with wolves chasing us. Etc, etc, etc.

I'm going to have a lot more ammo then my grandfather did...

RE: In the future..
By GoatMonkey on 6/14/2007 1:34:47 PM , Rating: 2
What MS needs to do is throw one of those carbon nanotube heatsinks on there.

I wonder
By FITCamaro on 6/13/2007 3:22:39 PM , Rating: 2
I just bought an Elite on Friday. The console in that pic looks to be an Elite. I wonder if mine has this cooling setup. Not like I'm going to take it apart and void the warranty to find out though.

My 360 though doesn't seem to run that hot. I rarely ever hear it(fans or DVD drive) and even after 4 hours of playing Gears of War on co-op the air coming out the back isn't that hot. Nor is the top of the console warm. I have my 360 laying on its side in my open entertainment center.

One thing I am thinking of doing is getting some black rubber grommets with a sticky back and putting one at each corner of the bottom. That way the bottom of the 360 will be raised up higher and more air can get under it. Total cost, about $2. Piece of mind that its getting enough air on all sides, priceless.

RE: I wonder
By therealnickdanger on 6/13/2007 3:47:16 PM , Rating: 2
That's a good idea. My launch 360 was just perfect as well - until the video output failed on it. It never locked up or gave me RROD. When the video output failed, I could still start it up and hear everything, so I just got a bad port, I guess. They fixed it for free and so far (couple months) no issues to report.

Even though it goes against my better judgement, I have left my 360 completely enclosed in the entertainment center while watching HD-DVDs or playing games... no adverse affects, artifacts, crashing, or anything. Good stuff!

RE: I wonder
By FITCamaro on 6/13/07, Rating: 0
RE: I wonder
By therealnickdanger on 6/13/07, Rating: -1
RE: I wonder
By therealnickdanger on 6/13/2007 5:06:25 PM , Rating: 3
I need to drink more as well, apparently.

RE: I wonder
By bkm32 on 6/13/2007 5:02:26 PM , Rating: 2

The article says that these were:

The same hardware cooling changes were also found on MaxConsole in a Microsoft-repaired console in the Czech Republic.

That means one of two things:

1) These are the changes being made to older "pros" and "cores"


2) The "Elites" are RRoD-ing, too.

Something else has to be up because I don't see MS adding this configuration to used systems that crapped out one at a time. How expensive is that? Way expensive.

I just don't see MS adding this new stuff to any used, already purchased system at no cost, then returning it to the user. I need help understanding this.

On my 4th 360
By 4AnandBlondes on 6/13/2007 8:53:10 PM , Rating: 3
Well, I can say that I have had 3 Xbox360s die on me since I got mine at launch. It is in a well ventilated area and not on the carpet. Each time it died, Microsoft has been very nice and replaced the unit, but it was still very frustrating. I've had this 4th unit for over 6 months now without a problem.

RE: On my 4th 360
By ATC on 6/13/2007 9:38:55 PM , Rating: 2
My launch 360 lasted quite some time before it died. I played it about 3-4hrs a week and took care of it meticulously and made sure ventilation was more than adequate - wasn't enough I'm afraid.

Took it back to Costco and got a full refund but I'm waiting for the die-shrink to 65nm version (maybe by the fall?). I'm glad MSFT is doing something about the regular systems and hopefully this will address the issue. I know how frustrating it can be to take care of your system, like I did, and still fail.

Still waiting for 65nm
By slashbinslashbash on 6/13/2007 1:56:46 PM , Rating: 2
The switch to 65nm will be when I buy a 360. Hopefully it'll be in time for Halo 3.

Good to hear they're making some progress on the cooling front, though. Hopefully those changes will make their way to all versions in all regions.

RE: Still waiting for 65nm
By bob4432 on 6/13/2007 9:06:51 PM , Rating: 2
cant really say this is progress or not. after reading enough you could summarize that if ms had made a new shroud w/ a divider in it to get more air over the gpu it would do the same thing, probably be better, but molds are expensive to make and this mod looks pretty cheap. basically they just made the heatsink a bit larger and hopefully a bit more air, so maybe this will have the desired effect, but there are other ways to get to this finalization, but i guess this was the cheapest.

Totally needed
By acivick on 6/13/2007 6:27:10 PM , Rating: 2
It's good they're finally addressing this issue. It sucks for the people who got them at or near launch, as the warranty is no longer in effect and they're the most likely to be affected.

Which happens to include me now, since I'm just now getting a RROD, likely due to heat issues. My console is always very hot, even when well ventilated. I even got that stupid intercooler, but it made the 360 even louder than it already was, so I took it off. Seven months past my warranty period means I'll be looking for an Elite in the near future.

RE: Totally needed
By bob4432 on 6/13/2007 8:58:50 PM , Rating: 2
before looking for an elite, do the xclamp trick since you are already out of warranty, can't hurt and may save you ~$450 :)

By therealnickdanger on 6/13/2007 1:54:47 PM , Rating: 2
Between this and the upcoming shrinks, the 360 is gonna be as cool as a cucumber!

RE: Improvements...
By deeznuts on 6/13/2007 3:57:57 PM , Rating: 1
Good cuz that's what's holding me back from buying one just yet. All I got is a PS3 and no games lol.

thank god
By omnicronx on 6/13/2007 1:55:31 PM , Rating: 2
its about god damn time.. guess i will be waiting till Christmas until i buy a new 360 to replace my ailing 360.. where nothing has not gone wrong ;) (ive had to replace the dvdrom and my heatsync has become dislodged without ever moving the console)

I'm amazed...
By comradeiggy on 6/14/2007 10:13:15 AM , Rating: 2
I think I'm one of the lucky ones. My 360 runs so hot it's not even funny, after about 15-20 minutes my room is 10-15 degrees warmer, yet I haven't had a single problem with it. I wouldn't be surprised if most of these RRoDs were caused by poor quality control at the factory the 360's are made, seeing as how some of my friends who bought theirs at the same time all had them die but me and another friend who bought ours at the same time haven't had a single problem.

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