Xbox 360 E74 - graphics card overheat due to game play?

bradfrankshaw

Standard Member
Hey all - I've just sent my less than a year and a half old 360 back with a single red light/E74 error which from research is a gfx card failure or something - it seems so because if I take out the av (for audio) and hdmi leads, the light goes off but the wireless controller wont connect, so a bricked box. And I'm not even a excessive hardcore gamer!

M$ have said they will pay for a repair as E74s seem to be cropping up a lot. Again I did some research and found a corolation between the introduction of the new dashboard and these gfx errors. I wasn't convinced as the new dashboard is not exactly throwing lots of complex numbers and data about to cause an overheat of the gfx card.

But what did interet me was a graph showing an sharp rise in E74s since December 08. I've had mine since December 07 and no problems. Until two days ago. But I also remembered that it was around Dec 08 I got hold of COD:WaW.

Recently, myself and three mates have been playing a lot of Map Pack 1 Verrukkt (my spelling) Zombies - playing for sometimes up to an hour a go, getting up to level 23. And around this level, the four boxes are churning out a huge amount of complex, HD, graphical data and we all noticed when someone gets a flamethrower, things start to chug and slow down. We've even had a couple of crash outs where seemingly something has overloaded and a game has ended, typically in the middle of a massive fire fight.

It may sound daft, but as my box was manufactured in September 07 and WaW came out at least a year afterwards, was my gfx chip up to the task and simply overheated?

This isn't a finger pointing exercise, but may be a warning that excessive gaming is not only bad for your eyes, but for your box as well?

comments?

frank
 

chris3321

Standard Member
your lucky that yours broke after they brought out the new 3 year warranty, my mate bought a new one a couple of weeks before that and now has two for no reason :D and yep the longer you play the more prone it is to breaking
 

bradfrankshaw

Standard Member
Hey - not defending Micro$oft in any way shape or form, but I compare my bust 'box to my car; if I over use it, don't check the oil or water and run it for miles and miles and miles with the engine gunned hard, I'm going to cause damage eventually. I think every game manufacturer is trying to squeeze more and more out of hardware that cannot change - ie unlike a PC, once you have your box you not supposed to be able to change the processor, ram, cooling, silver paste etc etc - MODers aside :D. So I think any console, especially the 'box, is going to eventually suffer from its own success as supply and demand for better graphics, sound, video, environments etc are placed upon the machine.

For example, I have a pc thats a couple of years old; when GTA came out for the PC, I laughed at thinking it would work on my "out of date" computer. But I didnt think the same of the 'box when I got gta and similar games.
 

shagaboopon

Well-known Member
The conspiracy theorists regarding a change in error reporting to E74 instead of RROD are baseless and imo wrong.

There are several reasons for a increase in E74, here are a few to ponder.

1. The sharp increase is predominately on Falcon based 360 boards (HDMI), it's coincidence they started fail around and after NXE was released.
2. When they redesigned the board for HDMI they also slightly redesigned the chassis by shaving a small amount off the central motherboard mountings to eliminate some flex on the motherboard. By doing this they may have move the flex of the motherboard elsewhere ence the GPU break contact at a different point than it traditionally has (hence no RROD).
3. The falcon revision was a update to the CPU which runs a little cooler, this affects the temperature build up in the motherboard itself so could move hotspots to different areas. They also redesigned the heatsinks which would create the same effect.
4. Quite often E74 happens around the same time as the DVD drive has lasers issues, when a laser is struggling to read it will pull more power in a effort to read disks, perhaps this extra power load is also contributing to more hardware issues.

If you want to minimize your risk of E74 or RROD you should do the following imo:

1. Regularly clean the back of the 360 out and make sure its always well ventilated.
2. Use a DVD lens cleaner periodically to make sure your DVD lens is running in peak condition, also clean the DVD tray to remove dust.
3. If out of warranty, remove the xclamps and use one of the many documented fixes using high quality thermal paste.
4. Use a surge protector with your 360.

Alternatively, do nothing and rely on Microsoft to fix any faults when they occur under their 3 year warranty.

In my opinion the 360 suffers most from not being servicable like a PC is. Most PC failures can be attributed over time to dust contamination, the difference with a PC is you can take the side off and actually clean it out though. Hopefully the Jasper revision as significantly lowered temperatures enough inside the 360 to not make heat build up quite as huge problem.
 
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But I also remembered that it was around Dec 08 I got hold of COD:WaW.

Recently, myself and three mates have been playing a lot of Map Pack 1 Verrukkt (my spelling) Zombies - playing for sometimes up to an hour a go, getting up to level 23. And around this level, the four boxes are churning out a huge amount of complex, HD, graphical data and we all noticed when someone gets a flamethrower, things start to chug and slow down. We've even had a couple of crash outs where seemingly something has overloaded and a game has ended, typically in the middle of a massive fire fight.

It may sound daft, but as my box was manufactured in September 07 and WaW came out at least a year afterwards, was my gfx chip up to the task and simply overheated?

My release day console that had already been in for the RROD fix once broke whilst playing Zombies on COD:WaW Verruckt 1 week ago.
I also experienced slow down just before it happened as if couldn't hack it and then it just turned off mid game (Level 20 ish).

Very strange, I wonder if this particular level / number of zombies simply overloads the GFX card and it melts if you leave it on too long?

I now get no sound, or picture. Just 3 red lights on startup....
 

bradfrankshaw

Standard Member
Hey - yes at this point the zombies are numbered in the hundreds and are pouring in like lemmings! Add to that four of us firing, burning, shooting, mg42ing etc etc like mad in the same spot for several minutes at a times, is it a wonder the gfx card overheated?

Is it possible to log a Poll for people who got E74 and have also been playing Cod WaW, more specifically a lot of Zombies? Are there any other games out there that use a flamethrower (which for me is pretty graphically intensive) and a large amount of character animation at the same time? I can think of Fallout 3, but the intensity is not full on or lasts for half an hour.

How many polygons are being used in when the flamethrower goes off? Daft question I know, but how many polygons can the gfx card handle? During our 4 player sessions, we had a couple of times when it would suddenly crash out when one of the 'boxes would just drop out of the game.

"I also experienced slow down just before it happened as if couldn't hack it and then it just turned off mid game (Level 20 ish)." - this is exactly the symptoms we got.
 

Sniper Ash6

Distinguished Member
my console E74ed (GPU went) in december while play CoD: WaW but not zombies - i was playing online

though have heard CoD: WaW is a graphics wrenching game
 

bradfrankshaw

Standard Member
Hey, we may be onto something here - I just got an email from my mate who I play Zombies with:

"Remember when mine died, it was after a session on zombies with the
flamethrower, I remember it jerked quite a bit then the next day red rings
of death. The reason is on the motherboard, there are these rubbish clamps
holding the heatsinks onto the GPU and CPU, when they get hot in time they
warp and weaken so the clamping force is not that good. Causing the chips to
overheat and possibly damage them.

I had to bolt the heatsinks onto the motherboard so there is no way they can
weaken or come loose, and since then perfect gaming :). So far so good, I
think its just a crap design flaw and Microsoft cant admit to this otherwise
they would have to recall every unit back."

Anyone else?

frank
 

D2TheQ

Active Member
Mine went whilst playing COD WOW - online, not zombies !

Question : My console on its way back to me from getting repaired, but what happens if it gets RROD again. Am i covered by extended warranty or am i only covered within the 3 years from the purchase date?

Also do you get any compensation for your xbl subscription. Essentially your paying for a service you cant use unless you have a spare console.
 

shagaboopon

Well-known Member
Hey, we may be onto something here - I just got an email from my mate who I play Zombies with:

"Remember when mine died, it was after a session on zombies with the
flamethrower, I remember it jerked quite a bit then the next day red rings
of death. The reason is on the motherboard, there are these rubbish clamps
holding the heatsinks onto the GPU and CPU, when they get hot in time they
warp and weaken so the clamping force is not that good. Causing the chips to
overheat and possibly damage them.

I had to bolt the heatsinks onto the motherboard so there is no way they can
weaken or come loose, and since then perfect gaming :). So far so good, I
think its just a crap design flaw and Microsoft cant admit to this otherwise
they would have to recall every unit back."

Anyone else?

frank


The xclamps as they're referred to, are a fine concept to hold heatsinks to motherboards. The issue is mainly that Microsoft for some inexplicable reason decided to then screw the clamps in each corner to the bottom of the chassis. Where as normally a xclamp system wouldn't have any leverage to put bad pressure on a motherboard by screwing it in they created a lever on each leg of the xclamp that produces force on the centre of the underside of the GPU.

I do wonder why they've not designed a revision with a different clamping system even now so I can only assume that their in depth analysis they've done has decided it's not an issue. They could quite easily replace the xclamp solution even now without a recall being required simply by claiming it to be a natural revision anyway so I'm sure thats not the issue.

The xclamps certainly don't help the matter but the main cause of all the issues is poor manufacturing due to lead free solder inexperience at their plants.
 

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