Hackers dissecting the Xbox 360 “Slim” report a disturbing discovery – internal parts thought to be associated with RRoD failures remain unchanged, causing some to speculate that the new model may have the same problems which plagued older revisions.
At the heart of the speculation is the so called “X-clamp,” a part which is claimed to be one of the major contributory factors to RRoD, and which hardware hackers quickly noted with some consternation remains substantially identical between the models.
An explanation given by “modders” (actually just pirates using the usual euphemisms about “backups” and “modding”):
X-Clamps are metal brackets which hold the Xbox 360 CPU and GPU down tightly onto the motherboard. There are two individual x-clamps within the Xbox 360 which hold down the heat sinks for the CPU and GPU.
Since they have been poorly designed the x-clamps bend when introduced to immense heat (if you’ve ever played an Xbox 360 you know it gets hot), and with that bend the Xbox 360 motherboard and break the connection between the GPU (sometimes CPU too) and the motherboard, thus you will have a RROD.
Although there are many things that can cause the RROD this is the most common.
Supposedly after-market clamps can stave off these failures.
Failure rates in the later revisions of the hardware are said to be less dire than the oft-quoted 54% figure, but the console still possesses an apparently well deserved reputation for atrocious reliability.
As to what parts cause most of the failures, only Microsoft can say (and they certainly seem intent on saying nothing), but excessive preoccupation with cutting unit costs at the expense of quality seems to characterise Microsoft’s gaming hardware.
Just how reliable the new version will be remains to be seen, but it seems Microsoft’s cunning removal of the red LED may have been its only effort at eliminating lingering problems in the new model.