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superstition
09-07-2008, 10:51 AM
VentureBeat has a lengthy story about the situation surrounding the Xbox 360's "Red Ring of Death." It starts with the developmental phases for the 360, looks at the marketing decisions that drove Microsoft to aim for a release ahead of the PS3, and talks with sources and engineers within Microsoft about what could have been done to prevent the problems.

Quoting:

"Leading up to the launch in the fall of 2005, the number of defective units would soon grow to tens of thousands. Any other consumer electronics company would likely have postponed a launch with such low yields. But Microsoft had more money in the bank than anyone else. The decision this time would fall to Bach and Moore. The costs of launching with low yields -- where you take big losses on every product sold -- could bankrupt other companies. But Microsoft could afford to do so. Microsoft did delay the launch date from October until November. But some inside the company still believed returns would be out of control."

Xbox 360 defects: an inside history of Microsoft’s video game console woes (http://venturebeat.com/2008/09/05/xbox-360-defects-an-inside-history-of-microsofts-video-game-console-woes/)

When his fourth Xbox 360 video game console died in April, Chris Szarek wasn’t surprised.

The Chicopee, Mass. gamer was accustomed to the hardware failures that became known throughout the Internet as RROD, or the “red rings of death” which flash when the console becomes inoperable.

A 40-year-old photographer, Szarek was a hardcore Microsoft fan who spent more than $1,000 on his games. But each time one of his Xbox 360 consoles failed, he had to spend time convincing Microsoft’s tech support that they should send him a new console. Each time he got a refurbished console as a replacement (a machine that had been returned to a repair center in Texas, fixed as much as possible, and then shipped back out). When he complained on the Internet and to the media about the shoddy product and poor customer service, people branded him a cry baby and wrote him off as a statistical anomaly. But by the spring of 2008, Szarek was vindicated. There were at least a million or two other people like him.

Szarek’s fourth machine lasted almost two years, experiencing the same short life that many other Xbox 360s suffered. Microsoft replaced these machines for free under the warranty that it announced on July 5, 2007, for defective Xbox 360s exhibiting what it more politely called the “three flashing red lights.” That warranty program cost Microsoft up to $1.15 billion, but the loss of face and loyalty among gamers in the fierce console war with Nintendo and Sony has been immeasurable. Szarek, who became a spokesman for dispossessed defective Xbox 360 owners, played a part in making Microsoft acknowledge its console quality problem.

This is the unauthorized tale of how Microsoft lost its chance to become the leader in the biggest market it has attacked beyond its twin monopolies in Office and Windows software. Rival game console maker Nintendo out-thought the larger players Microsoft and Sony by designing the Wii game console with a clever, intuitive game controller. Even so, Microsoft could have captured more gamers during this product generation, yet the RROD problem held it back. The Xbox 360’s defect problem will go down as one of the worst snafus in consumer electronics history.

Microsoft knew it had flawed machines, but it did not delay its launch because it believed the quality problems would subside over time.

“Fundamentally, their thinking shows that they are a software company at heart,” said one veteran manufacturing executive. “They put something out and figure they can fix it with the next patch or come up with a bug fix.”

How many of you or people you know have had failed Xbox machines?

maverick66
09-07-2008, 10:53 AM
3 times for me. never once had a system break until i got a xbox 360. great system crappy manufacturing.

superstition
09-07-2008, 10:59 AM
In case anyone is wondering, as far as I know the primary problem with the design is that Microsoft used a graphics chip that was made with a process that was too large for the cooling system it put into the console. It knew that eventually the process could be shrunk and decided that the appearance of the console was more important than a 100% failure rate for first generation units.

Chip making continues to shrink the process size (measured now in nanometers) of processors. So, while older generation chips are 90 nanometers, Intel's latest CPU chips are 45 nanometers. If you take the same chip and shrink its process, it uses less energy to do the same work, resulting in less heat, because the distance the electrons have to travel in the chip is shorter. There are other issues that make it a bit more complex, but the basic bottom line is that the smaller the process the cooler the same chip will run, although manufacturers are likely to increase the clock speed to get more performance out of it which could theoretically lead to even more heat.

The XBox's original graphics chip was a much larger process than what it is now (a similar thing happened with the original XBox which also had a high failure rate as far as I recall). Microsoft should have released the 360 with a much more robust cooling system and decided not to. Instead, the company chose to wait until smaller process chips were available. It was a completely idiotic move. 100% stupid.

This is my understanding of the issue. I have not followed this closely because I never purchased on of these.

forzainter
09-07-2008, 11:10 AM
I bought an xbox last year and have never had any problems with it, how long does it usually take for something to happen (had it since may 2007)?

superstition
09-07-2008, 11:15 AM
I bought an xbox last year and have never had any problems with it, how long does it usually take for something to happen (had it since may 2007)?
The newer units are made with a smaller GPU (and possibly CPU) process so the overheating problem may never happen.

The problem is that Microsoft released the product with cooling that couldn't handle the heat the unit generated. And, it gave people used equipment as replacements. And, many people had to have three or more replacements. It's a fiasco of epic proportions. Just be careful not to get an old-design unit and you should be OK.

mhstennis100
09-07-2008, 11:51 AM
I bought a used 360 about 4 months ago. How can I tell if it's one of the older models or the newer ones? I bought it from Gamestop and the guy said it's a newer one because it has an HDMI port on the back, which the old ones didn't have, but I don't really trust Gamestop anymore. Anybody know?

YULitle
09-07-2008, 01:18 PM
The one on display at the local wal-mart was blinking red one day. I took a picture but lost it... :(

Hot Sauce
09-07-2008, 02:15 PM
This is news?

I'm on my 4th XBox 360, but as I've stated in other threads, it doesn't bother me waiting for a fixed x360 to be sent to me. It's only a couple weeks of playing time lost.

Breaker
09-07-2008, 02:29 PM
My original Xbox died after about 2 and a half years. 360 hasn't had any problems as of yet and I've had it for about a year and a half. Hoping no problems come in the future either.

pmata814
09-07-2008, 02:37 PM
I'm on my 3rd Xbox 360 and I don't even play very much. I only play it during christmas and summer breaks. I wonder how many I would have gone through if I used it on a regular basis?

superstition
09-07-2008, 03:36 PM
This is news? I'm on my 4th XBox 360, but as I've stated in other threads, it doesn't bother me waiting for a fixed x360 to be sent to me. It's only a couple weeks of playing time lost.
I hope this is satire.

Hot Sauce
09-07-2008, 05:47 PM
I hope you learn to interpret what people write.

jmysun
09-07-2008, 05:54 PM
the earlier models are prone to the red rings of death and even some of the new elites, but they have been getting more reliable. i've known someone who's had theirs replaced 5 times and it takes about 2 to 3 weeks to get one replaced.

superstition
09-07-2008, 06:07 PM
I hope you learn to interpret what people write.
I interpreted it in a way that made me want to see it as satire for your sake.

Hot Sauce
09-07-2008, 07:35 PM
Oh, you're too kind. Teabag me, please.

Voltron
09-07-2008, 08:26 PM
How many of you or people you know have had failed Xbox machines?

You play Xbox? Wouldn't have pegged you as a gamer.

Back on topic: I'm on Xbox number 3 (and this one is on it's last legs) - My best friend is on Xbox number 3 - another friend is on Xbox number 5

So yeah, they break, but I've gotten mine fixed for free, so it's not so bad, but it's still quite annoying. Oh yeah, after about xbox number two, they start to figure out who you are, and it gets back quicker IMHO.

superstition
09-07-2008, 08:37 PM
You play Xbox? Wouldn't have pegged you as a gamer.
I used to be a talented gamer. But, no, I don't own an Xbox or anything newer than the Dreamcast. I haven't seen any compelling titles on the market for the newer systems - titles unavailable for computers. In general, I think gaming is lacking in diversity. There are so many FPS games, but there are genres that are severely lacking in titles and/or quality. Gaming still hasn't fully grown up into a mature industry that doesn't overly target teens and kids. "Mature" games have been long erroneously seen as either filled with gratuitous violence or really dry/boring (flight simulators, golf, and the like).

When I was a kid and teen, though, I was an avid gamer. Now, there just isn't much that appeals to me on the market. I'd like to go into game design, but lack the funds.

hollywood9826
09-08-2008, 02:54 AM
There was about a month window between the original 1 year warranty expired on mine and the new 3 year waranty kicked in. Of course I got the RROD in between this period.

But I did some reasearch and basically discovered it was cooloing related. Its was not so much that too much heat was being generated, but it was the way the heatsink was being mounted on the board that caused alot of flex. that flex combined with expanding and contrating of the heat would weaken the solder joints on the board and essentially short the system out.

People were wrapping thier system in a towel for 5 minutes and it would work again. They would also blast the board with a heat a gun. All this was doing was melting the solders and getting them to reseat perse. That was a temporary fix.

I opened my 360 and rigged up my own mounting system for the heatsinks (google x clamp replacement). I also added some better thermal compound to aid cooling and added some small GPU Heatsinks (http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2216875&cp=&sr=1&kw=heat+sink&origkw=heat+sink&parentPage=search) to cool even better.

After all that I fired the4 system up and still got the lights. So i wrapped the system up in a towel and left in on for about 3 minutes. Turned it off waited a couple hours and booted it back up. No RROD and its been about a year or so. I used to be worried when playing, but Its not an issue for me anymore. I logged over 120 hours playing Phantasy star and a good 90+ on morrowwind on my fixed 360 and its been fine.


So the problem IMO was heat related in a way, but moreso in the enginerring of the heatsink mounting and not the use of 90nm boards

TMCW140
09-08-2008, 03:52 AM
My 360 has packed in 4 times-considering using it as a bookend

superstition
09-08-2008, 09:48 AM
So the problem IMO was heat related in a way, but moreso in the enginerring of the heatsink mounting and not the use of 90nm boards
I see. Thanks for the info. I must have mixed up the problem with the original XBox with the 360. Maybe. As far as I hazily recall, the original XBox's first units had an overheating problem that was tied to the use of a big process chip. But, I could be wrong. Since I don't own these things I haven't paid close attention.

hollywood9826
09-08-2008, 10:00 AM
I see. Thanks for the info. I must have mixed up the problem with the original XBox with the 360. Maybe. As far as I hazily recall, the original XBox's first units had an overheating problem that was tied to the use of a big process chip. But, I could be wrong. Since I don't own these things I haven't paid close attention.

The smaller boards do help the cooling process. Also the newer 360s have improved heatsinks with larger heatpipes to help dissapate the heat quicker.

But that heat coupled with the heatsink clamp/mounting design did not help the matter. Its kinda hard to explain without pictures. But a heatsink that did not flex the board the way it does the 90nm board will have no problems. Essentially all I did was evenly distribute the presure of the heatsink across the board. Added some better thermal compound and a few more heatsinks where needed. All it cost me was a bout 15 bucks in material becasue the torx (star shaped) driver.

anbu4ever11
09-29-2008, 02:11 PM
can anyone tell me if microsoft sends you a box to ship the xbox to them?i just called in i had my xbox since august of 07 which i thought the newer chips were suppose to be in causei i looked it up.turned out i went to the store and saw they were putting new xbox's on the shelves and asked for one of the ones they were putting.too bad it seems they were older ones.mine c****d out

Chicken Neck
09-29-2008, 02:35 PM
The red ring of death has claimed three 360s in my household. Fun machine but a really monumental piece of crap.

anbu4ever11
09-29-2008, 04:32 PM
when did your first one malfunction?

westside
09-29-2008, 04:44 PM
Have owned a 360 for just over a year now and have gone through 1 already.

Most of my mates at school have also had problems with the RROD.

Kind of a b1tch really :)

hollywood9826
09-29-2008, 07:25 PM
can anyone tell me if microsoft sends you a box to ship the xbox to them?i just called in i had my xbox since august of 07 which i thought the newer chips were suppose to be in causei i looked it up.turned out i went to the store and saw they were putting new xbox's on the shelves and asked for one of the ones they were putting.too bad it seems they were older ones.mine c****d out

They used to ship a box to ya. probably still do.

It kinda sucks that theres a good chance it will fail. but atleast you got a three year warranty. Mine had the one year so I dismantled it then a week later they made them three year. Oh Well I fixed mine for good, so it was better anyway :)

FedererForehand
09-30-2008, 08:31 AM
I had 3 Xbox 360s (of which died). I got tired of waiting for the 3rd one to die on me so I just went out and purchased a playstation 3 last week. Runs much cooler and quieter than my 360s ever did.

*breaksracquet
09-30-2008, 08:46 AM
I own two 360s for this reason. I have had only one die and it was from the first initial launch (yes, I waited in line at Toys R' Us in rain and sleet for mine.... the most idiotic thing i've done). IMO, i thought mine lasted quite a long time for one that came out on the release date (1 year 7 months to be exact. I bought an insurance policy at Toys R' Us for two more years). about three days after it happened, I went threw withdrawal and went out and bought another one @ B est B uy. They have a good policy if it has a Ring of Death, you can bring it back and grab a new one from off the shelf. So I have been using this one just in case it does happen.

maverick66
10-01-2008, 07:15 AM
my 360 just went down again. now its time for #4. bad part is my warranty expired and itss 99 dollars to fix it. at least it wasnt the the 3 rings this time. only one on the bottom right with an e74 hardware failure.

FedererForehand
10-01-2008, 06:17 PM
my 360 just went down again. now its time for #4. bad part is my warranty expired and itss 99 dollars to fix it. at least it wasnt the the 3 rings this time. only one on the bottom right with an e74 hardware failure.

Your warranty should not be exprired. I thought they changed the warranty on all 360s from 90 days to 3 years. Even if was bought on day one should still be covered... either way- time to buy a PS3- I did, best descision I've made.