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View Full Version : Possible cause behind X360 overheating


msxyz
03-10-06, 07:04 AM
Well, IF this story is confirmed to be true, it says alot about the quality controls and skill of the subcontracted manufacturers. :thumbdwn:

The site Xbox-scene reports that a bunch of resourceful german modders took apart two different Xbox 360 purchased from different stores (both plagued by freezing and overheating problems) to investigate the possible cause.

Upon removing the heatsinks from the chips they discovered that the tiny plastic foil protecting the termal pad has not been removed prior to assembly. This protective foil is placed by the heatsink manifacturers and is used to protect the heat transfer pad from dust during handling, but it must be removed just before iplacing the heatsink onto the chip.

Some shots:

http://pictures.xbox-scene.com/xbox360/overheating-gpu/JD500015.jpg
http://pictures.xbox-scene.com/xbox360/overheating-gpu/JD500011.jpg
http://pictures.xbox-scene.com/xbox360/overheating-gpu/JD500022.jpg

jAkUp
03-10-06, 07:45 AM
lmao if they left that thing on there, I've seen people leave those things on there with heatsinks on PC's... not a pretty sight.

Ruined
03-10-06, 09:45 AM
Not a mistake.

It's there intentionally to help with heat transfer and possibly also to level the plane between the eDRAM and GPU.

Examples of commercially available thermal tape using aluminum foil:
http://www.aavidthermalloy.com/products/options/tapes.shtml
(See models T405R/T412)

Looks like XBOX-SCENE didn't do their research (nor did many others jumping on this bandwagon).

LurkerLito
03-10-06, 10:05 AM
Well it may or may not be the cause. If they put it back together and then don't experience any overheating then I'd say it was probably the cause. I don't think they stated if it helped after they removed it.

Ruined
03-10-06, 10:10 AM
Well it may or may not be the cause. If they put it back together and then don't experience any overheating then I'd say it was probably the cause. I don't think they stated if it helped after they removed it.

If you look on the xbox scene forums someone tried removing it and it did nothing for their problems.

msxyz
03-10-06, 10:13 AM
I've used some thermal tape in the past but it didn't require any additional thermal paste.

Different layers of materials usually increase the thermal resistency.

BioHazZarD
03-10-06, 10:14 AM
haha what a joke then

ENU291
03-10-06, 10:17 AM
Not a mistake.

It's there intentionally to help with heat transfer and possibly also to level the plane between the eDRAM and GPU.

Examples of commercially available thermal tape using aluminum foil:
http://www.aavidthermalloy.com/products/options/tapes.shtml
(See models T405R/T412)

Looks like XBOX-SCENE didn't do their research (nor did many others jumping on this bandwagon).

If this was intentional why did MS use thermal tape under a thermal pad? Just doesn't make sense. Use one or the other not BOTH!

ad hoc
03-10-06, 11:08 AM
From my experience, the product they are using is deliberate. If they used only aluminum foil sandwitched between two hard surfaces (heatsink and GPU), the foil wouldn't make good thermal contact because of air gaps. With the goop on one side (doesn't need to be on both), the aluminum foil is allowed to deform because of the extra "space" the goop gives it. That is why we see the goop squirting out of the sides of the contact area. This type of thermal contact works quite well, and is cleaner, too...

npras42
03-10-06, 11:18 AM
Not a mistake.

It's there intentionally to help with heat transfer and possibly also to level the plane between the eDRAM and GPU.

Examples of commercially available thermal tape using aluminum foil:
http://www.aavidthermalloy.com/products/options/tapes.shtml
(See models T405R/T412)

Looks like XBOX-SCENE didn't do their research (nor did many others jumping on this bandwagon).

If Ruined is correct then it is safe to assume that ALL X360s will have the foil between the GPU and heatsink... Anyone found one that doesn't have the foil? If someone checks a 360 with a manufacturing date of say Feb 06 onwards, then they would have almost certainly realised if this was a problem by then and the foil will be gone... I'm not saying any of you guys should do this to find out, but perhaps xbox-scene should.

ENU291
03-10-06, 12:56 PM
On the Xbox-Scene forums someone stated that he has disassembled several 360s and none had the foil in question. Check the first post here (http://forums.xbox-scene.com/index.php?showtopic=496524&st=15) for reference.

msxyz
03-10-06, 01:54 PM
If these guys are serious modders (and not people in search of their bit of popularity on the 'net) I'm sure they can distinguish between a piece of thermal tape and some protective sticker.

Ruined
03-10-06, 09:00 PM
If Ruined is correct then it is safe to assume that ALL X360s will have the foil between the GPU and heatsink...

Not necessarily. Just like there are multiple brand power supplies and DVDROM drives, there are obviously other multiple brand components as well. The thermal pads could and likely are one of these items which can use any number of brands and models to meet the spec.

Anyone found one that doesn't have the foil? If someone checks a 360 with a manufacturing date of say Feb 06 onwards, then they would have almost certainly realised if this was a problem by then and the foil will be gone... I'm not saying any of you guys should do this to find out, but perhaps xbox-scene should.

Again, that also means nothing. MS could have bought 200,000 thermal pads from company A that have aluminum just to cover launch supplies, then from then onwards bought their pads from company B which doesn't use aluminum. Both pads would therefore meet the spec however the consoles with pads from company A would be limited.

I'm guessing MS simply bought a ****load of thermal material from different companies and they differed slightly in build. As long as it meets the spec, its good to go.

This summation of posts from B3D (combined with my post above) pretty much blow a hole through the original theory:
http://www.beyond3d.com/forum/showpost.php?p=715877&postcount=25

Note that this has also been added to the original website's news story:
*UPDATE* Several people on our forums say that this 'Indium' foil has probably been placed there intentionally, is part of the thermal pad and should not be removed. Apparently similar foil is used some OEM PCs, P4 and some PC GPU chips. While it looks like most people agree that normal thermal paste/compound without such a layer usually works better, one of the advantage of such a layer is that a heatsink can easily be re-installed without re-applying thermal paste after you removed it. You can follow the discussion about it here.

msxyz
03-11-06, 02:53 AM
I've seen metal foils used sometimes when the same heatsink must coiver more chips at once but they're usually employed with a termal paste on BOTH sides. Otherwise the results are poor as not adding any paste at all.

Remember this: the termal resistency depends on pressure, on the roughness of a sourface and, of course, on the materials employed.

Each surface transition (silicon-metal, silicon-paste-metal, etc...) adds some resistency, no matter how small it is. That's why using an additional foil don't gives better results unless it's a necessary evil used to compensate the small height differencies of several chips cooled at once.

The main role of the termal paste is to fill the microscopic gaps and bumps of a surface. That's why only a small amount of this paste should ever be employed. Adding more paste don't decrease the thermal resistence but it sorts the opposite effect.