Xbox 360:Cooling System Improvements

From ConsoleMods Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Early fat models have issues with heating and cooling cycles contributing to the Red Ring of Death issue in many consoles, as described by Microsoft in the Power On documentary. Normal temperatures vary from model to model, but vary between 71-83C. There is no reason to adjust the thermal targets or add fans, as this will only make your Xbox needlessly loud. There are many myths about the 360 having cooling issues, but they are not true. The 360's died due to defective flip chip graphics chips. For more info, see this article at

Exclamation-triangle-fill.svgSome guides recommend "delidding" the console for better temperatures. While this may lower temperatures, it's extremely easy to mess up the process and permanently damage your console. It is considered a last resort method if thermal paste does not bring your console back to normal temperatures. It will not be covered here.


Replacing Thermal Paste

This process involves opening your Xbox 360, removing the heatsinks, removing the old thermal paste with isopropyl alcohol, and applying a new pea-sized blob of thermal paste. It's often easiest to get the old thermal paste off by heating it with a hair dryer, and swiping it off with a coffee filter or Q-tips. Keep in mind that, unless your thermal paste is conductive, too much is better than too little paste. This is the only modification you should consider as it will bring your console back to manufacturer specifications.

Not Recommended

Exclamation-triangle-fill.svgThese methods are NOT recommended and only listed here to acknowledge their existence. If you have a GPU with the substrate issue, it will fail regardless of cooling tricks, and these tricks may stress system components.

Click "Expand" to accept the warning.

Adjusting Fan Speeds (JTAG/RGH)

Exclamation-circle-fill.svgWhile not dangerous, this is unnecessary and only will make your console louder.

While custom dashboards usually have their own fan options, it's best to set your desired fan settings in DashLaunch because it keeps them applied no matter what dashboard or app/game you are in. Open DashLaunch and navigate to Miscellaneous > System Info > SMC Config Settings, and set a target temperature for your CPU, GPU, and EDRAM. The optimal value is different per system, but it's generally recommended to choose target temperatures below 60°C that don't run the fan too loudly. You can also set the fan at a certain percent instead with the fan override settings, but this is not recommended.

Fan Voltage Mods

On stock consoles, you don't have the option to adjust fan speeds. However, some people will wire their fans to a 9V or 12V power source inside of their console to always run the fan at 75% or 100%. GameStop would refurbish consoles and often wire the fan to the 9V DVD drive power cable. To do the 12V fan mod, one would solder a wire from the "Fan (CPU)" point to the ground point next to it, and soldering a second wire from the "GPU Fan" point to the ground point using this diagram.

Heatsink Improvement

A theoretical increase in airflow efficiency improvement can be made to the CPU heatsink by covering the top of it with aluminum foil and keeping it anchored on by folding slightly over the edges or using electric tape to anchor the foil on the shroud. Do not block the open end of the heat sink. The same can be done for the GPU, however, due to it being shorter and having less air intake than the CPU heatsink, you should only cover about half of the top of the heatsink so that it can pull in more air.

You can replace the GPU heatsink with a CPU heatsink and cut a hole in the fan shroud so that you can use foil as part of the shroud to pull air from the entire height of the heat sink. With a second CPU heatsink, there will not be any room for a DVD drive, so this would be best on a RGH/JTAG console or on a system with an ODE. You may also want to see this page for your options to stop the power LED from flashing indefinitely.

Adding Extra Fan(s)

Often times, people will add extra fans to their console. Popular spots are:

  • A single one on top of the CPU heat sink, blowing out of holes cut in the side of the case
  • A fan in front of both the GPU and CPU heat sinks to blow air through the heatsinks into the white sheathing and out of the regular fan vent
  • A external fans mounted directly outside the fan vent - note that most of these products usually draw power from the console power plug and are known to damage hardware

Adding RAM Heatsinks

Occasionally, RROD is caused by RAM or HANA chip failures. Some people have added copper RAM heatsinks to each RAM chip. The heatsinks generally come with a thermal adhesive on them and do not need thermal paste.

  • On the top side of the motherboard, there are two accessible Samsung/Qimonda/Winbond RAM chips that can use regular RAM heatsinks.
  • On the top side of the motherboard, two more RAM chips are under the GPU heatsink that can have thermal paste applied to them, but not RAM heatsinks.
  • On the top side of the motherboard, there is the HANA chip that can use a regular RAM heatsink.
  • On the top side of the motherboard, there is the Southbridge chip, which has the Xbox 360 logo and "PSB", "KSB", or "XSB" on it, that can use a regular RAM heatsink.
  • (Phats) On the bottom side of the board, there are four Samsung RAM chips which can have flat heatsinks applied on them to clear the height limit.