It had to happen sooner or later. I’ve owned my Xbox 360 for a little over three years now, and it was only a matter of time before it decided to call it quits and break down. I’d been experiencing graphical glitches and lockups on the 360 for a couple of weeks, and I knew that it was on its way out. Sure enough, at the start of this week, it resolutely refused to start up, displaying the dreaded “Red Ring of Death” – three red flashing lights on the front of the machine, which under normal circumstances would be a friendly green colour.
I went to check my Xbox account to see when I’d registered the 360, and sure enough I was just outside of my warranty – how very typical. With Microsoft wanting the best part of £100 to even just look at my Xbox, I decided that drastic times called for drastic measures.
Having received some guidance from tech guru Tom, I discovered that my most likely fix would come from tinkering with the heatsinks which are supposed to keep both the CPU and GPU cool. The internet is alive with reports of how the cooling in the 360 is particularly rubbish, and the method of securing the heatsinks onto the chips (flimsy metal x-shaped brackets) was the main culprit. The accepted method of sorting this out is to crack open your 360, rip out the offending x-clamps and replace them with something more substantial.
I’m not going to replicate the methodology of getting into the 360 on here – there are some brilliant tutorials and walkthroughs on YouTube. Without them I would have struggled to even open up the Xbox, because Microsoft really don’t want you to get inside. However, once you know how (and so long as you have the requisite T10 and T8 torx bits) it’s relatively easy. The videos I found most useful were these:
Getting the x-clamps off the bottom of the motherboard was the most difficult part, but with a little patience and perseverance you can manage it. And this is the point I find myself at at the moment. I’ve stripped down the 360, removed the x-clamps and heatsinks, cleaned the CPU and GPU and I’ve ordered a set of screws and washers from eBay. I really don’t know whether this little project will work or not, but even if it doesn’t I’m really no worse off.
Standby for update…