HOW TO MAKE AN OPTIMUN XBOX360 CASE TO AVOID ALL HEAT RELATED ISSUES
Hi everyone !!!
On this project we will make a better XBOX360 case to address most of the heat issues this console suffers, I hope this is a lasting solution for some of the RRoD problems even for most XENON boards and you will see why.BACKGROUND
Since 2005 I've been a happy owner of 4 Xbox360 consoles (2 XENONs, 1 FALCON, 1 JASPER) the first 3 of them don't work anymore, these consoles are all RRoD positive (GPU related error code 0102) (See picture 001)
Since early 2006 I have done to those consoles almost any imaginable hack to revive them with little or no luck.
I've reflowed both XENON
boards more than 3 times.
First time just reflowed the GPU and worked fine for 1 month.
The second time I reflowed the GPU again but this time got rid of the X-clamps (Put the washers underneath etc...) this time after 3 months it RRoD on me again.
After lots of frustration and money spent on kits to fix the problem the third time I did all of the above (Reflow + X-clamp replacement) + upgraded to the new extended heatpipe GPU heatsink, and after just 1 month ... the RRoD was there another time.
Tired of this situation I started to read everything I could about the matter. KNOWN XBOX360 PROBLEMS
A- The original XBOX360 "box
" needs more holes or bigger ones to let more cool air in.
B- There is poor air circulation inside the steel cage.
C- Stock fans (Locked at only 5v) won't suck enough air from the heatsinks.
D- Low quality (brandless) thermal compound that runs dry after just 2 years.
E- At high temperatures (60c, 70c and up) lead free solder balls under the CPU & GPU starts a degrading cycle.
F- The heatsink over the GPU does not have enough area to disipate the heat generated by the chip, because of this, the GPU enters a thermal rundown from which it cannot recuperate.
G- On some 1 gen boards some other chips like the HANA/ANA chip, The southbridge or even the 8 VIDEO RAM bricks runs very hot specially the RAM under the board of most XENON consoles.SOLUTIONS
As you can see most problems on the console are heat related.
A & B
The XBOX360 box has a beautiful industrial design but saddly not very functional at all, this iteration of the Micro$oft console was designed to be smaller than the first Xbox to appeal more to the Japanese market, the designer's had in mind that the box should be small enough to fit in a media center rack with the possibility to stack other appliances over it (Source: The Xbox Uncloaked by Dean Takahashi
Ok we need more space so you can take the DVD drive outside the console to make room for a bigger heatsink over the GPU. A better solution would be to get a Liang-Li Xbox 360 Case
so you can fit everything inside the box but it is almost impossible to get one and when this box appears on eBay from time to time it's price gets pretty high.So better build your own box.
Rated at just 0.44 amps the stock dual fans won't help that much, we need powerfull 12V fans to move more air across the heatsinks, the stock fans instead of inject cool air inside both suck hot air and that is a problem.
Better than Micro$oft brandless thermal compound use a compound with metal particles in it, that aids the heat tranfer, I see most modders and PRO's use Artic Silver 5
, you can use any of the shelf cheaper and brandeless compound but remmember always that you get what you pay.
Lead free solder used under the GPU and CPU can't tolerate high temps as well as lead based solder, the damage heat makes under these chips is acumulative, I noticed that after powering off my console temperature could go up some 5c to 7c for as long as 30 minutes, keep in mind that both fans were off while this temp peak attacks.
A safe temperature for a working XBOX360 Jasper is somewhere around the 55 to 60c. Xenon boards are known to reach 80c to 90c before auto-shut down (2 red lights).
Read more on XBOX360 operating temperatures according to board revision here:http://www.isodownload.org/xbox360/jtag-tutorials/cooling-mods-a-how-to.html
It is well known that the heatsink under the GPU won't help to cool the chip, even on newer boards (Jaspers) with the new revision of this heatsink (The one with heatpipe) can get as high as 55c - 59c during extended gameplay, we need the better second revision heatsink like the one over the CPU.
RAM temperatures on Xenon & Zephyr boards can get pretty high (40c to 47c) I cool these chips as a preventive measure to extend the life of the console.
According to the book The Xbox360 Uncloacked
the box was made to last a top 5 years but on most scenarios is something less than 2 years, I think that with this tips here you can make your console to last probably a decade.What is NOT the problem.
After a lot of reading I came to the same conclusion as most repair shops, The X-clamp is not the cause of the RRoD, if it was the cause I don't think Micro$oft would be using it on the newer slim boards as that would cost them money.
Look at it this way, the PS3 suffers from the same heat issues as the Xbox360 and the Sony console does not have any X-Clamp. It's heat what damages the lead free solder on both consoles. You can blame that to the 2005 European Union regulation banning the use of lead on solder.BUILDING A BETTER XBOX360 BOXhttp://www.locobox.org/thumbs/xbox360-efficient-case/efficient-xbox360-case-000.jpgPicture 000
shows the blueprint of a simple yet functional design where the drive sits over the GPU & CPU air duct.
I plan to build the protoype on cardboard and then use 2mm aluminium for most parts.
I started with a Xenon board as it is the first and "hotter" of all Xbox360 motherboard versions, rated at 200 watts of power consumption.
The initial idea is to add better coolers to both GPU and CPU and better fans. http://www.locobox.org/thumbs/xbox360-efficient-case/efficient-xbox360-case-002a.jpg
I used the first version of the CPU heatsink (The one with the heatpipe) If you can get the second version use it as it is a better official passive cooling solution, if you can get your hands on better PC heatsinks thats better, when talking about heatsinks bigger is always better, what counts is the total area within the heatsink fins.http://www.locobox.org/thumbs/xbox360-efficient-case/efficient-xbox360-case-002b.jpg
I have seen other people using PC (Pentium 4) heatsinks on Xbox360 consoles but as those are not stock pieces, further modification is always needed to install them properly.
It is very important however that the non official heatsink you use must has parallel fins, avoid any circular design as shown below (IMAGE 003
), we try to have 1 main air flow across both heatsink's fins stay away from circular designs that may cause turbulence inside the box.http://www.locobox.org/thumbs/xbox360-efficient-case/efficient-xbox360-case-003.jpg
On picture 004
you can see how the air will flow, as in high end computers or servers the best way to get rid of heat is to move cool air across the heatsink's fins fast. http://www.locobox.org/thumbs/xbox360-efficient-case/efficient-xbox360-case-004.jpg
The CPU on an Xbox360 console always will run hotter than the GPU, the CPU is the only chip with a thermometer and auto shut-off function to protect the CPU from any damage, however the GPU does not have that protection that's why most problems are GPU related.
On image 005
is the fan layout, i use a powerful 12v .80 Amps to blow cool air on both chips CPU first between GPU and CPU heatsinks I put a 12v 4cms .40 Amps blower necesary as the fins on these heatsinks are to dense, this single addition drop my final temp on 3 to 4 degrees (celsius). And finally located at the other end is a 12v .22Amps to suck the hot air.
I plan to power all 3 fans from the board (Via a variable voltage regulator), you must consider however how much currect your new fans will draw, the 200 watt stock PSU can provide up to 1.9 Amps for cooling if you are going to use more powerful fans consider upgrade the PSU to one from an old PC.Schematics for a variable voltage regulator:http://proyectoselectronics.blogspot.com/2008/05/lm317-lm338-lm350-regulador-de-voltaje.html http://www.locobox.org/thumbs/xbox360-efficient-case/efficient-xbox360-case-005.jpg
I used a tunnel with big exhausts to create a high and low preassure zones on both necks to help move even more air.http://www.locobox.org/thumbs/xbox360-efficient-case/efficient-xbox360-case-006.jpg
You can see on image 007
how the final setup will be on the box. With the drive on top of the air tunnel no heat is transfered to the GPU this is how the console should have been designed from the begining.http://www.locobox.org/thumbs/xbox360-efficient-case/efficient-xbox360-case-008.jpghttp://www.locobox.org/thumbs/xbox360-efficient-case/efficient-xbox360-case-009.jpg
Some modification on the metal box is necesary to optimize things up. A & B correspond to the lateral walls of the box I used a metal scissors to cut thru the 0.9 mm steel sheet I have seen others do it with a saw which is the PRO way but avoided it later because the saw may deform the cage and any deformation would result in a short under the mainboard.
Both walls were cutted and folded out to serve as convenient fan bases.
The small bevel on the front of all Xbox360s must be flattened, nothing a hammer and a press can't do (This was a design requirement for my box you can skip this step).
D Shows where the underboard RAM sits, maybe the hardest part of all the mod without access to a metal press, to cut thru I made a lot of succesive holes with a drill. http://www.locobox.org/thumbs/xbox360-efficient-case/efficient-xbox360-case-010.jpg
As I stated before, all eight 64MBs RAM modules on XENON boards tend to overheat so you better cool those chips as well, for that task make use of the GPU stock heatsink, the GPU Heatsink is made of maleable 1mm aluminiun soft enough to cut it with a metal saw, if you see picture 004
on this guide you will see how I reuse the GPU heatsink to cool the RAM, Southbridge and the ANA chip.
END OF PART 1