360 Hot Wheels Recalled

By Mike on 11:25 am

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The 360 is the hottest console on the market today. In fact, it's so hot it's on fire! By now I'm sure you've heard about the heating issues present in the 360. The console overheats due to hot processors and lack of good airflow. This has been causing the console to prematurely expire. It's cost Microsoft over $1 billion to fix the issue. A problem that should clear up by the fall with the new 65nm processors.

It doesn't end there. Now the 360's racing wheel is overheating. That's right, a joystick used for the 360 also gets way too hot for comfort. The problem occurs when the wheel is hooked up to AC power instead of its onboard battery. Microsoft is warning that a certain component in the chassis is overheating when the AC adapter is connected and may release smoke. Microsoft claims that there have been no fires or injuries as a result but they're recalling them just the same. I can theorize what's happening. It's likely somebody reversed some wires. I did this once with a speed controller out of one of my RC planes. You'll know somethings wrong because it will produce the most acrid smoke you'll ever smell. Just be sure to unplug it immediately if this happens.

Check out the recall here.

I hate to say it but typical Microsoft. This isn't the first time they've had power issues. According to Canada.com Games, they had to recall 14 million AC adapters for the original Xbox due to fire issues. In all fairness though, the PS2 Slim had similar issues. However, the Xbox 360 seems to be having a lot more hardware issues than should be normal. First the console is prone to overheating, then it started scratching DVDs, now it's racing wheel is overheating. Seems the 360 has been poorly designed or is using inferior components. Compare this to the PS3 which is fundamentally similar but doesn't have these problems.

I decided to do a bit of surfing to find out why this was, and it became obvious. The PS3 is cooled by a massive fan attached to a huge heatpipe based heatsink. The 360 on the other hand uses two tiny fans which are typically used for cooling smaller components on computers. It has two fair sized heatsinks with heatpipes but I think the problem is not removing the heat from the processors, but because it has nowhere to go after that. The PowerPC is a hot processor. Even the 1.33ghz single core can get quite spicy on my laptop until a loud blower fan kicks in. The 360 has a triple core 3.2ghz PowerPC. The PowerMac G5 requires some serious cooling and the G5 didn't run as fast and had fewer cores than the Xenon. ATI's higher end graphics processors are also known to run quite hot. Simply put, airflow is inadequate.
How to fix the 360? Simple. It needs a bigger case that can accommodate at least an 80mm blower. Coupled with 65nm processors and I think the 360 will be cool as a cucumber.

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