Console Woes

the-ring-of-death 1Anyone who owned one of the precious generation consoles knows the constant worry of having a major hardware failure at any time. Almost like having a nagging headache about to attack at any second.

Well, maybe except the Nintendo Wii. But if you owned the original “fat” Xbox 360 or the “fat” PlayStation 3, the design for the cooling systems in the hardware left much to be desired.

The patent pending “red ring of death” from Microsoft is almost as famous as their “blue screen of death”. The 360 overheating and the motherboard de-soldiering itself causing cracked processors and failing components in numerous consoles has folk song written about it on YouTube. This fault was later solved with a redesigned case and motherboard offering better cooling and chips which ran at lower temperatures under heavy loads, but many gamers jumped ship to Sony, who had serious faults of their own.

Sony’s PlayStation 3 didn’t see as many faults as the 360, with the “yellow light of death” from overheating causing similar issues to the Microsoft console, but the fat PS3 (in my opinion) was from poor cooling and shoddy soldiering. Again, Sony’s release of a Slim PS3 solved many issues, but for the people who already owned one, it’s a problem waiting to happen. My fat PS3 died after 4 years of heavy use where my first 360 lasted almost 1 before I modded the case to improve the cooling of the motherboard.

In the case of my PS3, it died 2 weeks ago. I took it apart and tried the hair dryer trick, where one focuses a heat gun or hair dryer on the CPU and GPU to help re-solder the chips back into place, but the yellow light came back. Next I tried the baking trick, where one cooks the motherboard in the oven in an attempt to “flatten” or solidify everything back to how it was originally. That didn’t work either. Even with a fresh application of quality thermal paste and testing of the voltage from the power supply. However, this time I didn’t get the yellow blinking lights, I only get scrambled video out of the HDMI port.

I would think about getting a PlayStation 4, however since the PS3 is the main hub of our media center, and the PS4 doesn’t support DLNA video streaming, it isn’t going to help with the issue we most use the PS3 for in the first place.

This also brings up the point why I don’t plan on buying a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One: it’s too new. If I would have bought one of the last generation PS3 or 360 consoles at launch, I would have owned one of the worst offenders for hardware problems. Given that these new consoles are merely hardware upgrades to the older generation, I will wait and watch how they perform first.

Besides, there isn’t many games that interest me enough to drop that much money for a new system when PC/Mac games are pennies compared to console versions. For instance, I can buy literally 20 good games for the price of one console game for the PS4 or Xbox One. Why bother?

What are your thoughts?

-Chris

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