Opening a Xbox 360 is something I have always done for one reason or another. Lets check out whats in this 2009 Xbox 360.
Quick Xbox 360 history:
It was May 12th, 2005 when on MTV, Microsoft first unveiled the Xbox 360. On November 22nd, 2005 the Xbox was released for purchasing. This was perfect timing as its main competition, both the PlayStation 3 and Wii, did not release till a full year later in November of 2006. It offered the most comprehensive online environment yet for any home console. With Xbox Live, it allowed users to not only simply play online with the world, but to buy and download games, music, movies and tv shows directly on the console. All was set to be a perfect launch as all initial stock was quickly swiped of the shelves anywhere you could buy it, but one of the worst plagues in console history hit hard. The “Red Ring of Death”!
This would cause many owners to one day go to turn on their console only to find three red lights flashing around the power button, meaning the console was essentially dead and was then nothing more than a plastic paperweight. Microsoft was fast to move on this and changed the thermal solution used in the system. The most common cause was that the processors could not find an outlet for its generated heat, effectively de-soldering itself from the motherboard.
In 2007 Microsoft came out with a statement to add a three-year warranty from the original date of purchase to any owner of a “RRoD” Xbox 360. Many more issues caused the 360 to not perform as well as it should have, but in the end, an estimated 84 million units were sold by June 9th, 2014, and the end of life was announced on April 20th, 2016. As of now the Xbox 360 is still being supported by Microsoft and all Xbox Live functions are working with all media and apps still being updated.
To start out I pulled off the face plate then the grey side gills to gain access to the motherboard cage. The right side of the system (top) is more dusty than the left side (bottom) due to the cage holes being smaller and being the primary air intake.
After removing the outer shell, all of the internals were covered from a light to thick layer of dust, limiting air flow for sure.
Removing the motherboard allowed me to remove the fans to be cleaned. The “X” brackets on the bottom of the motherboard are holding the CPU and GPU heat sinks to the board with pressure.
Upon removal of the GPU heat sink, I was shocked to see how bad the thermal solution was! It was 100% dried out and looked to have mostly pooled and acted like a river evacuating from the die. A white like film was all that was left making contact with the heat sink. When cleaning the GPU it seamed the etched branding and info were really rough. I’m not sure if this is normal or the thermal paste ate away at it!
With time I was was able to scrape as much cement like paste off the dies and heat sinks the best I could for both the GPU and CPU. Allowing nice smooth surfaces for, very much needed, new thermal paste to be applied.
After a full dust blow out and wipe down of all components, to “shiny status”, reassembly started. With a final cleaning of the outside case, the Xbox 360 was ready to keep on gaming for a few more years rather than succumbing to the dreadful “Red Ring of Death” in maybe one more good hour of game play.