2.08.2009

Wow that's hot!

I've run into a problem recently... My game systems are overheating. Now I love my gaming rig, but as you can see here there's a fatal flaw. Modern day video game systems require massive cooling to keep their hot processors from melting. This kinda thing never happened in the NES days. You could put that thing in a box and leave it on for three days so you didn't lose your Metroid progress. But that was the silver age... This is the modern age of gaming. PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii all sitting behind glass, with fans blowing way too much heat into an area with limited ventilation. When I turn them on, I have to swing the glass open to help them ventilate. Wii is not so bad, he doesn't generate a massive amount of heat, and he's situated under the TV stand, which has no back. But Xbox 360 and PS3, wow that's hot!

I'm on my second Wii by the way, my first one overheated and fried the graphics processor. Many people have the same issue, but Nintendo denies it's a problem and charged me $80 to repair anyway. I'm on my third Xbox 360, but I was wise enough to get the Best Buy upgrade plan, er... 2 year warranty. The original Xbox 360 had a major issue with overheating its graphics processor just like Wii (good old modern technology). Microsoft would never admit this, but it has a 100% failure rate. They'll ALL fail eventually with what's known as the red ring of death. This can be blamed on a rushed release. Microsoft has been gracious enough to acknowledge the problem and have beefed up the warranty to three years. Luckily they redesigned the system later to be much cooler running. The redesigned system also had the benefit of an upgraded video connector, HDMI. So knowing mine was going to eventually fail, I decided pre-emptively tell Best Buy mine was broken and got the upgraded system to take advantage of the new video connector.

Joke's on me. Three months later, my replacement Xbox 360 system failed. So, with my warranty in hand, I went back for another upgrade, er... warranty exchange. By this time the THIRD incarnation of Xbox 360 was out, even COOLER running than the second, with a larger (60GB) hard drive. Now we're talkin! So now I have that system, it has worked fine since and is definitely much cooler.

PS3, different story. My PS3 has been flawless, however he gets REALLY hot and it worries me. So I was thinking of a way to protect my investment. Sure I could leave the glass door open all the time, but that defeats the purpose of the glass door, to protect everything from the crap in the air. And there's A LOT in my house with two cats floating around.

I did some searches online and eventually found this.That's right kids, it's a simple computer fan, that plugs into a wall outlet and has a vent attached. The premise is, you blast a hole in the back of your entertainment center and install this bad boy. There's a mini thermostat included. When the temp inside the entertainment center hits 80-ish, the fan kicks in automatically and vents out the air. The instructions call for the fan to be installed in the rear of your entertainment center, top dead center. Well the heat never really makes it up there, it tends to just float around behind whatever system is running, and then comes to the front if I have the door open. I decided to start by installing it in the left side, right behind PS3. It was a little scary knocking a hole in the side of my entertainment center, but my trusty cordless drill and giant cutting drill bit and it cut through like butter.

It was working pretty well, but there was really no intake. The airflow isn't as good as I'd like, not many places for air to travel in there. So enter this nifty item I found on another website. Again with the cutting, this time on the right side using my jigsaw. Here's the final installation from the inside, you can see the mini thermostat mounted behind PS3, and the fan and vent.

Eventually when time and money allows I'd like to put another one on the Xbox 360 shelf, as the heat generated on each shelf stays pretty contained. So if anyone out there has a similar setup and concern, I hope I've helped out. The fan is pretty pricey, but it's MUCH cheaper than repairing/replacing your game systems every year. This is what happens when you're on medical leave for a month.

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