Eurogamer’s Digital Foundry has, through the help of a rather busy console repair shop, examined the failures that have plagued Microsoft’s Xbox 360, and more recently, Sony’s PlayStation 3. While the internet as a whole is well aware of the 360’s hardware problems, people are becoming increasingly aware of hardware reliability issues with the PS3. According to the repair outlet’s engineer, of every 20 dead consoles brought in, 12 of them are Xboxes, while 8 of them are PS3s – an alarming 40%.
The problem with both consoles, it seems – is one of heat. With both machines being ridiculously powerful, they generate a heck of a lot of heat; and this heat, crammed in to such a small area causes – and I’m loathe to propagate an internet meme – much fail.
The problems seem to be cumulative, perhaps explaining why we haven’t heard that much about PS3 failure – yet. A Google search for PS3 YLOD – while nowhere near the scale of a similar RROD search – does indicate an increasingly alarming problem. The YLOD, contrary to popular belief, isn’t necessarily Blu-Ray drive failure – it’s the same thing that afflicts the 360; excessive heat causes the solder holding the GPU in place to flow, breaking its connection to the board. One of the leading factors in this is the lead-free solder that companies are now legally required to use in electronics manufacture. If there’s anyone to be blamed for your console failing, blame a hippy.
Furthermore, those backyard mechanic X-clamp fixes are essentially useless, and the real fix comes from reflowing the solder, and then improving the cooling. Hopefully the perpetuation of smaller and cooler running 45nm and 65nm chips means that these hardware issues should become less significant. The PS3 slim though is packing some pretty powerful hardware in to an even smaller package and – coupled with the hardware issues prevalent in the original PS2 slim – leaves me wondering if it’s worthwhile purchasing right now, or waiting until there’s a revision.
Please read the full 3-page article over at Eurogamer; it’s an enlightening read.
Last Updated: September 1, 2009