The Red Ring of Death is an unfortunately familiar problem for many Xbox 360 owners. Caused by excessive heat due to a variety of malfunctions, this error was the source of major frustration for Microsoft’s console gaming fans who had been anticipating the next-generation, high-definition machine. Perhaps because it was so common, many people learned a simple 3 red light fix that requires only common tools and a couple of hours to complete.
To fix this Xbox problem you will need to get to the motherboard. Open the shell and it should be easy to find. Disconnect all cables and remove the motherboard, turn it over and locate the two X-clamps. Carefully remove the clamps and you will see the heat sink, which you should also remove. Under the heat sink, you will find the CPU and GPU. Clean the all the parts thoroughly but cautiously. Debris from the manufacturing process can get left behind which disrupts the electrical flow of the heat sink. Apply a thermal compound the cleaned heat sink and reinstall all of the parts. Be sure to use brand new screws to fasten the x-clamps as Microsoft underestimated the temperature sensitivity of the standard screws which erode from too much heat exposure. Screw them in somewhat tightly and restore the cover to complete the repair.
Sometimes, though, this isn’t enough. In this case, it is likely your graphics chip that needs replacing. The design of the first chip that Microsoft produced in house dissipates too much heat, more than the system can tolerate and cause the overheating problem which results in the RROD. Under the warranty Microsoft would replace this free of charge, but if you have to do it yourself you will be looking at a substantial cost, as graphics chips are not cheap, but it’s better than buying a new machine.
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