Xbox Faults Cost Microsoft – But is ΔT the Culprit?
The Register reports that Microsoft is taking a $1bn hit to fix Xbox 360’s, due to residual hardware faults [aka the Red ring of Xbox death] that are resulting in a high number of repairs. The finger of blame is pointing directly at the cooling system, and speculation abounds on what the exact problem is. One persistent owner of 8 Xbox units (yes, that’s right, eight) explains his theory on Gameworld Network on what’s causing things to heat up. “…the GPU and is low-profile heatsink sit under the DVD drive and are given a very narrow channel for air to be pulled across the heat sink. When the GPU heats up it reflows the solder in the ball grid array slightly and causes the entire mainboard to flex….” I know our job as mechanical engineers is to keep those puppies cool, but I am having a hard time believing that things would heat up enough to actually reflow solder. Sure, the lead free solders have lower melting points, but even so it seems like you’d wind up with more than a fault error at those temperatures. Like a really crispy GPU.