Monday, July 02, 2007

Red Rings of Death Epilogue

I'm finally able to say I've got my Xbox360 back safe and sound, after my "Red Ring" ordeal. All in all, the whole process took nearly a month (including all shipping and support ). Initially, I held off the repair because the hardware had failed exactly midway into the Halo 3 beta at the end of May. I emailed support, tried troubleshooting it myself, surfed message boards and FAQs, and read up on several "towel exploits", until finally I conceded defeat and made the call to 1-800-4MY-XBOX. The polite man with the noticeable accent said he'd ship me my very own Xbox coffin.. I mean prepaid shipping box. It actually took over a week for that damn UPS shipping box to arrive.

I promptly sent it back, with my dead Xbox fit snuggly in place, rigorously following their directions to a T so that nothing would impede my repair. I made especially sure not to write "Xbox360 repair" on the outside of the box so as not to tip off sticky fingered UPS workers (Blockbuster and NetFlix should really find better ways to camouflage those envelopes).

Then, for two and a half weeks.. dead silence. No confirmation emails. No updates. Fortunately, I was lucky enough to borrow a fully functional 360 console from one of Thao's very generous coworkers (btw, thanks Derek!). For the most part, I was still able to satisfy my healthy gaming addiction with some Halo 3 beta, Halo 2 and Oblivion. It was just shocking the lack of feedback from a company so wired into the computer world.

After going through this ordeal, I've decided I'm definitely buying a 3rd-party cooling accessory, probably the Pelican Fan Stand. It's a shame that a $400 piece of electronics needs an accessory to keep it functioning properly. Seeing how widespread this problem has become, I think it's pretty obvious there's an inherent design flaw the the 360 hardware. Microsoft wanted to get to the next gen early with a decent head start, so they ditched the Xbox1 and brought out a system that could compete with the upcoming Playstation. They built their lead based on software and ultimately nabbed the hardcore audience. When compared to the PS3, it was a great bargain, as it had decent software with some great looking graphics. But maybe this was just a case of it being "too good to be true". There's a reason the PS3 costs $200-300 more. You can see that in the Xbox 360 Elite's whopping $479 price tag.

Update: I have some good news though. After using my reburbed 360 this past weekend, it did feel like the system ran a little cooler than before. From what I remember of my last system, it would get quite hot to the touch on the outside. Even with my new 3rd-party fan stand turned off, those new heatsinks seem to be doing their job. Well, let's just hope this is the last time I have to deal with this crap (*knocks on wood*).. In addition, the complimentary 1-month Xbox Live membership was a nice gesture, but an extended Halo 3 beta period would have been even nicer.

Also, I should note that I did have to call up Microsoft Support one last time, to reauthorize the DRM content on my Xbox360 HDD. This is because any content you buy is locked to the original Xbox360 hardware you bought it on, as well as your online Gamertag profile. So as long as you're signed into Xbox Live, you can access your DRM content on any system (yours, your friend's, etc). But if you're not signed into Live, all your content is locked if you're not using that original system. Take it from me, DRM sucks, and I've had the experience to prove it.


van said...

Screw the Xbox 360, and get the PS3. J/K... glad to hear that you got your Xbox back. Hopefully they installed the air ventilation ducts onto your refurb system.

Nukem945 said...

I guess there's no way I could know for sure.. but i noticed it does run cooler now, even w/o my aftermarket fan.

Guess i'll have to wait for find out, cuz w/ the new 3 year warranty, if I open it up I'll void my warranty. And after all the halo 3 and, gta and mass effect playing i'll be doing this fall, i still could get a red ring o' death (*knocks on wood*)..