RROD Explained: You Play Too Much

By  |  Monday, August 31, 2009 at 2:31 pm

redringofdeathMicrosoft’s never been particularly forthcoming about the Xbox 360’s hardware issues. The company said earlier this year that the worst troubles are behind us, only to see new problems spring up. We’ve never heard an official failure rate (estimates vary, wildly), and after all this time, there’s no way to tell whether a working console is destined to get the dreaded Red Ring of Death.

So Eurogamer did the logical thing and asked a third-party console repairman, and learned that a major problem in today’s console failures is “cumulative damage.” In other words, the longer you own and play a console, the more likely it is to die.

Sony fanboys shouldn’t be laughing: Engineer Darren Thickbroom of Colchester Computers told Eurogamer that he’s seeing more and more Playstation 3 consoles come in for the so-called “Yellow Line of Doom.” Sure, Thickbroom is just one engineer, but his analysis does check out with my own Xbox 360 experience. After almost three years of use, my console suddenly and inexplicably stopped working a couple weeks ago, flashing the three red lights I’d heard and written so much about.

Of course, you can’t blame the console owner for playing the console. What’s really problematic, according to Thickbroom, is the general design of the latest machines, which pack powerful hardware into a tiny container. “Everything’s combined into such a small space, the heatsinks on the GPU are relatively small, there’s a lot of heat to dissipate and it can’t do it,” he said. Over time, the trapped heat warps the console’s motherboard, eventually hitting a breaking point.

Maybe instead of wishing for ultrathin consoles, we should by lobbying for the Playstation 3 Big and the Xbox 360 Fat. I’d rather have a fully-functional colossus in my entertainment center than a slim and sexy brick.


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4 Comments For This Post

  1. Seumas Says:

    Their explanation essentially claims “wear and tear”, which is ridiculous. I own many different consoles manufactured in their original production years which are as much as 25 years ago and they still run fantastic. That includes Sega Master System (1st and 2nd generation), Sega Genesis (1st and 2nd generation), 3D0, NES, NES 2nd gen, SNES, SNES 2nd gen, Sega CDX, Odyssey 3000, Vectrex, PS1, PS2, Dreamcast Atari 5200, Atari 2600, Game Cube, Atari Jaguar, Sega Saturn…

    And guess what? ALL OF THOSE SYSTEMS STILL WORK! All these years later.

    360s? In a decade, there probably won’t be any such thing as a “vintage XBOX 360 in working condition” because they’ll all be dead.

  2. L1A Says:

    I think Microsoft wants this business model to claim they sold more consoles, because not everyone that's addicted to games is going to wait 6 to 8 weeks for repair and buys new XBox 360. Also I think MS should push this onto their PC manufacturers. They would sell more Windows boxes if every other computer fails within a year.

  3. Hellhole Says:

    Don’t be a moron Seumas, 95% of the consoles you just mentioned don’t generate the heat or get anywhere near close to consuming the power a modern system like a PS3 or an Xbox 360 does. Seriously, you’re citing an old NES in your argument?

  4. Steven Fisher Says:

    A large part of the reason the PS3 slim can exist is that Sony has cut down the heat manufactured by the hardware. So the question is if the PS3 cuts more heat generation than heat dissipation.

    I’m betting it will, but I don’t really know.