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Dee Yun Dee Yun: (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2007-08-13 02:05:58

Microsoft Customer Service

So my luck has run out. After about two years, my launch Xbox 360 finally broke down.

After the bulky original Xbox, Microsoft felt pressured to produce a smaller console, and pushed it too far. When you slap a triple core processor and a powerful GPU into a crammed space like the Xbox 360 shell, overheating is bound to happen. Shortly after launch, when I was playing Tomb Raider nonstop, my 360 froze under intense play. I realized that placing it between my subwoofer and my television cabinet caused the air around the console to heat up. The fans would simply draw in that warm air and be unable to cool the system properly. Afterward, I placed my 360 on top of the subwoofer with plenty of ventilation around it - it never overheated again.

It's purely an anecdotal gut feeling, but I believe that the three rings of death are usually the result of people placing the 360 in a cramped area with insufficient ventilation. If you place your 360 inside an entertainment cabinet, it's not only going to heat up the air around it, but also contend with other hot electronics like a DVR or receiver. There's a fellow out there who's on his 12th 360, and I have to wonder if he crams it between things, or places it near his PlayStation 3 which also breathes out enormous amounts of heat. You simply can't treat these next-gen consoles like we're used to; the 360 and PS3 are powerhouse rigs stuffed into tiny shells.

Unfortunately, my problem wasn't overheating. I've mostly likely got a borked scaler chip, which, as depicted in today's strip, is no longer under warranty. The ironic thing is that as I was attempting to give Microsoft $99 to repair it, their computer systems went down, and they were unable to take my billing information. In the end, the manager authorized a free repair for me. Microsoft customer service is about as dumb as any other, but they certainly are more helpful than most.

I still highly recommend the Xbox 360. It's delivering product for the true videogame enthusiasts in a way that the Wii and PS3 simply aren't. Microsoft is touting this holiday season's 360 lineup as the "greatest ever". Between Bioshock, Mass Effect, and Halo 3 alone, I think they may be right. If you don't currently own a 360 however, hold off until your absolute "must-play" title releases. Newer versions of the 360 are apparently shipping now or imminently soon that are constructed with smaller, superior chip sets that run much cooler.

As for me, I'll be fragging and racing with you guys again in a week or two...

David Vargas David Vargas: (dave-deleteme[at]-deleteme-squishycomics [dot] com) 2007-08-14 15:34:39


While I may not have the way with the written word like Dee, I know that the feeling is mutual: BioShock will be dominating the bulk many a gamer's play time starting next week.

I'd say that I'm going to stop drawing so that I may give more time to this game when it's out... but Dee would then not give me my daily bowl of oatmeal (yes, he's been kind enough to upgrade me).

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