Wednesday, November 21, 2007

XBox 360 3 Red Lights - Preventative Measures

You may or may not realize this, but your XBox 360 is most likely substantially more powerful, in terms of raw computing power, than your desktop or laptop computer. It's a high-end desktop on steroids. And it's that power than is the central cause of the infamous XBox 360 3 Red Lights, or "Red Ring of Death", problem that so many gamers have experienced.

You see, all those electrons moving through that CPU and it's graphics chip cousins produce a tremendous amount of heat. Turns out, quite a bit more heat than the XBox design engineers planned on. But frankly, you can't place ALL the blame on them. After all, a computer chip only does what it's software tells it to do and years ago, when the X360 was on the drawing board, some of today's best selling games didn't exist. Fact is, the processing demands put on the hardware BY THE SOFTWARE are really the culprit. Think of it this way, your car in "park" at idle doesn't produce a whole heck of a lot of heat. However, your car running flat out on the Indy 2.5 mile oval probably wouldn't even last for a full tank of gas. It just wasn't designed for that level of operation, even though mechanically it can do it.

So the solution to the problem, aside from paying Microsoft $140 and being without your system for 2 weeks, is to improve the cooling. Here's some low-tech options:

1. Place you XBox 360 in an open area, not inside and entertainment console. This will help maximize the transfer of hot air out of the vents in the box.

2. Keep the XBox 360 unit on it's end and off carpeting. This also will improve the designed in cooling of the box.

3. Limit your playing time. If you're hard core and play your XBox 360 flat out, for hours on end, you can expect more problems than someone who takes a break after a couple of hours. Hey, there IS more to life than video games (I try to tell my son this on an almost daily basis)

4. Install an after-market cooling unit. This basically is a fan system that increases the airflow out of the XBox 360 and therefore keeps the inside cooler. They run about $30, but will save you more expensive repairs down the road. They're not a sure-fire fix though.

5. Here's a simple hint. Turn your XBox off when you're not playing it. Saves electricity too.

If you treat for XBox 360 well and try the above hints, you minimize your chances of experiencing the 3 red lights problem. However, for those of you who are still having problems, there are 4 good guides out there that teach you step-by-step how to permanently fix the problem.

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