PRLog - Global Press Release Distribution
would, so a heat problem was an avenue to be explored.
There are ways to get a more specific trouble code out of the XBox 360 when this happens. I'm not going to get into that now, but this link will tell you how to get the additional code and how to interpret that.
I was unable get the secondary error code because my XBox 360's troubles were very erratic. Sometimes it would let me play for a few minutes and then freeze up. Sometimes it wouldn't even get past the intro screen during bootup without freezing. Sometimes it wouldn't boot at all and give me the three red lights, but not every time.
I called MS support only for them to tell me for a low fee of $130 they would fix it for me. Or I could use the extended warranty I might have purchased when I bought the unit. I obtained mine from Ebay, so I'm out of luck there. I decided to dismantle my XBox 360 and see what I could find.
I discovered the GPU chip on my XBox 360 possibly had some sort of thermal interface material (TIM) failure. I compared mine to how another one looked over at Anandtech and discovered mine was indeed different. Mine had some sort of metallic silver cover over the heatsink paste on the heatsink, and very little if any paste actually came into contact with the GPU die itsself.
Note: Some TIMs are designed to have a cover over the paste. I personally have never seen one, so at least to me they are rare. (I've been building PCs since 1996.) Your experience may vary. What I found on my XBox 360's GPU could actually be a fully functional TIM in theory, but mine seemed to be experiencing overheating issues.
My GPU has a mirror finish; it is super clean. Anandtech's has thermal paste smeared all over it. That is what I was expecting to find in mine. Here's a picture of what I believe to be the source of my XBox 360's problems. The silver pad covering the thermal paste on the GPU's heatsink.
Another interesting fact is that when I pulled off the CPU heatsink, it looks like Anandtech's GPU. Thermal paste applied directly to the die itsself.
And the CPU's heatsink. Notice it does not have the same silver pad covering the thermal paste.
With the troubleshooting gears turning in my head, it made sense that the GPU might be overheating. I thought I would replace the TIM with some Arctic Silver, and see what happens.
So far, this repair has worked for my XBox 360. I've been racking up as much play time as possible, so far 2+ hours, and no lockups whatsoever. This is the most it has let me play in two weeks. Before, I couldn't play 2 minutes without it locking up, much less an hour.
Please consider your options before opening your XBox 360 up. If you feel like you are pretty handy fixing computers, handling sensitive hardware, and working with basic tools, you should be fine.
Now let's get down to business.
Tools you'll need: A thin hex head L-shaped wrench OR a probe tool of some sort. 1 T-8 Torx screwdriver 1 T-10 Torx screwdriver Plastic scraper tool or pocket knife