Red Ring of Death Explained

Posted by on Jan 23, 2008 in Commentary |

The Red Ring of Death has been plaguing Xbox 360 owners for years now. It’s comparable with the Blue Screen of Death in Windows, which is, in some cases, a recoverable problem. Unlike its software counterpart, the Red Ring of Death is to be taken literally: when it happens, your console is dead. No amount of homemade tinkering can be done to bring it back to life. Microsoft has acknowledged the problem and has offered a 3-year extension on Xbox 360 warranties. It’s a good deal, but it’s a solution that doesn’t tackle the problem head-on.

If you’ve ever wondered what causes the issue, then you’re in luck. A recent interview reveals information about the Xbox 360 hardware and gives out the probable reasons why the console fails. Be warned though: this is labeled as insider info, so take it with a grain of salt.

Q: In your opinion what do you think the main cause of the Red Ring of Death failures have been?
RROD is caused by anything that fails in the “digital backbone” on the mother board. Also known as a core digital error. CPU, GPU, memory, etc. Bad parts, incompatible parts (timing problems) bad manufacturing process (like solder joints), misapplied heat sinks or thermal interface material, missing parts, broken parts, parts of the wrong value, missed test coverage. Any one or more, on any chip, or many other discrete components, would cause this. And many of the failures were obviously infant mortality, where they work when they leave the factory and fail early in use. The main design flaw was the excessive heat on the GPU warping the mother board around it. This would stress the solder joints on the GPU and any bad joints would then fail in early life.

There are also other significantly high failure rates in other areas, like the DVD.

Hit the link for the full interview.

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