It hasn’t been a full two weeks since my Xbox 360 kicked it, but now I find myself backed in a corner, just about ready to jump ship entirely. Obviously, it sucks that it broke, but that was only the tip of the iceberg as I quickly discovered. Things really didn’t look all that bad at first. After all, I have a second Xbox 360 that I use for capturing screenshots for Dashboard Themes. I figured the worst case scenario would be my console being unrepairable and me having to replace it at full cost. Of course, I’d then have the DRM battle to survive, but I was optimistic. That was, until I started using my backup console.

What Happens When the Medic Gets Shot?

I was planning to keep my gaming to a minimum while I’m using my backup console. Time is on my side since we seem to be in the middle of a drought. The other night I was playing Cars with Hannah when she noticed the loading icon stop in the lower right corner. It appeared that the console had locked up. It wasn’t responding to any actions from the controllers. I had to get up and shut it off manually. We managed to get another 20 minutes of play time in before it happened again – this time in the middle of a race. Great. The following day, Deanna comes down to the office to tell me that the Xbox 360 crashed while she was watching a DVD. And later that evening, Deanna and I were playing Aegis Wing and just received the half-way Achievements when the screen went black. If you’ve played Aegis Wing, you’ll know that there’s no continue. You have to start from the beginning every time you restart the game. That’s just perfect.

The Fate of my Dead Console

Yesterday, I heard back from Old School Gamer with the diagnosis. My Xbox 360 needs a new motherboard. And you guessed it – that’s not a cheap or easy fix. They even admit that in some cases, it just plain doesn’t work. The repair costs $299 plus tax and return shipping, which would bring the total up around the $400 mark. Since my console is still prone to the ring of death fatal error and I have no option to get it fixed by Microsoft, I’ve decided to leave it with them in return for a cool $25 – that’s how much they give you for a dead console they can use for parts.

Here’s Where it Gets Complicated

Now, I find myself between a rock and a hard place.

  • My first and primary Xbox 360 is dead and I have $25 to show for it.
  • My second, backup Xbox 360 is dying and in need of repair or replacement. However, I need the second Xbox 360 to capture screenshots for Dashboard Themes.
  • The Falcon model consoles with new 65nm chip are still a few months out it seems. The new Elites will have them, but Elites are about as hard to come by as a Wii in Canada.
  • All of this year’s big titles are just around the corner and I don’t have a reliable Xbox 360.

Microsoft is Forcing me to Buy a PlayStation 3

Or so it seems. I don’t know what to do! I want an Xbox 360, but I am not going to buy another console that is just going to die on me at any given moment. At this point, I’m seriously considering picking up a PS3 to get me through the rest of the year. Yes, I’ll miss out on some of the big Xbox 360 exclusives like BioShock and Halo 3, but what’s a guy to do? I could go out today and buy a new Premium at full price, only to have it die on me as soon as I start playing Halo 3 – I don’t think anyone would want to be around me if that were to happen. I’d probably go the way of Peter Petrelli.

I’m going to try and hold off as long as I can in hopes that a new option comes to light. But in all honesty, this is going to be a horrible wait. Gaming is pretty much my only hobby. Now after a long work day, there’s no chilling on the couch shooting dudes in the face while dinner’s on the go.

Microsoft, I hate you… again.


Matt, after the crap you’ve had to tolerate with your 360 dying, and your back up console on the way out, I would normally say buy a Playstation 3 and hope that it treats you a little better. However, if you’re any bit like me then you’d miss the achievement system too much. Shallow, I know, but it’s a great addition to gaming!

Is this article a spoof? It costs £80 to get your motherboard replaced, including shipping. Thats $160, in rip off Britain too so it will cost less in the cheap US of A.

Hang on, so your motherboard died…so thats a hardware issue…red ring scenario?? Isnt that covered by the new 3 year warranty? It should be shouldnt it, unless you were a plank and opened it up voiding the warranty….

Yeah you could get a PS3….or you could pic up a PS2 for next to nothing and play god of war while the new cooler xbox comes out.

PS2 has some stella games coming out still so i heard…

Dude that sucks, I was talking to my friend thats shipping his 360 back at the moment. He said the girl at Fedex (or wherever) says they get ALOT of 360s in.

WTF, i feel like mine is going to go anyday now.

@Rockers Delight: I know! I’m going to miss so many damn points. I’m nearing 20,000 too. 🙁

@Rich: Where do you get the motherboard replaced for $160 US?

@Dazz: As I’ve mentioned several times previously, I painted my Xbox 360 within a month of purchasing it back in March ’06. That involved removing the case, so yes, I opened it. No MS support for me. Voiding the warranty wasn’t a concern, but I didn’t know that I would lose the ability to have it services by MS all together.

There’s no way I would pick up a PS2 now. If I get a PS3, I will definitely be picking up God of War 2. But I can’t stand to look at "last gen" consoles any more. I have a hard enough time with the Wii, dammit! 😛

@Andrew: Unfortunately, it seems it’s only a matter of time. I can’t imagine how pissed you’ll be when it happens, having just got the HD DVD player and all.

The current shipping 360s have the red-ring issue fix pre-installed. Even if the console does fail, you do have a 3 year warranty. Just don’t void it this time and I would say you have nothing to worry about. Go ahead and pick up a new 360, just possibly consider waiting a few weeks incase that rumored price drop turns out to be true.

If you do go PS3, what games are you looking at? I honestly can’t find a single PS3 game justifying the cost of the system.

Microsoft customer services. In the UK no matter what is wrong in your out of warrenty 360 they will fix it for £80 ($160). Unless its the 3 red lights then its free now (You can always lie about this and say you have them to get a free repair)

I moved into my new apartment recently and can’t pick up my wireless network using the 360 that’s less than four or five metres away from the BT Business hub…

It’s a little annoying actually, the Xbox division had me building my confidence in Microsoft again… and whatever has happened, it all seems to be falling apart in the last month or two.

Vista proved to be worse than everyone even dreamed of, and now the Xbox division is failing to fix what several hardware forums/sites point out as an easy to solve problem? And then fail to fix the problem with the Xbox Elite? Surely it should have been first on the list for the console.

I prefer the 360 because of the games, but if I went through what you’ve been through with crashing and the like, I’d probably consider switching too.

I’d go with what Ronald said. Buy a new 360 – if it dies you’ll get it replaced or fixed…

Surely you’ve still got your HDD… couldn’t you even buy a *whisper*core*whisper*?

Sorry must have skimmed over the i painted my xbox bit…not meaning to sound like a twat, but that was fooking dum mate. You should never void thewarranty on a piece of equipment until its up.

SO really this article is becasue of your own dumb fault. Its not MS fault you voided the 3 year substantiola warranty they gave you. I think you should rename the article:

I may have to jump ship becasue i fooked my xbox warranty.

I have go another suggestion for you though, get you ass on ebay and find a chear xbox with warranty in tack, then get it sent off for free fixing business…

I know it’s last gen. and all, but I’ve got a PS2 and a fairly healthy collection of games that you could borrow for a temporary gaming fix. It’s seriously just sitting around collecting dust, so if it comes down to it you could do that as a last resort. It’d save you the money until the new chips are out at least because I know I couldn’t convince myself to spend several hundred on a PS3 right now.

@Ronald: No, that’s not the case. The current consoles that are being manufactured starting this month have the new 65nm chips, but they won’t be on shelves until the current supply is sold.

I’m not interested in buying another ticking time bomb. Sending it in to MS to have a different console returned 6-10 weeks later is not an option. If it wasn’t for the DRM, this would be almost a non-issue, but it’s a massive hassle that spans weeks on end to get resolved.

RE: PS3 games. I would definitely pick up Resistance and God of War 2 for starters. Then every other big title (excluding Halo 3 and BioShock) is also out for the PS3 this year, plus UT3.

@Rich: Yeah, see, that’s not an option for me as I mentioned.

@Anthony: What I said to Ronald regarding the DRM. Massive issue that is almost impossible to get rectified.

@Dazz: Ah, you’re one of "those". You sir, can eat a bag of dicks. I don’t normally respond or even approve comments of internet fucktards like you, but I will this time

In case you missed the point – I have 2 dead Xbox 360s. Microsoft has sold something like 12 million consoles that are prone to failure at any given moment.

If you feel the urge to reply simply to argue or insult me some more, don’t bother. I will delete your comments.

@ Matt vs. Dazz:

Matt, I’m pretty sure dicks come in boxes, at least they do here in the States. So you should have told Dazz to eat a BOX of dicks.

Luckily, my fiancée and friends bought me my 360 with a 3 year warranty from the store since the RROD was a known issue at the time.

Sorry, Matt. I hope you stick with the 360 though, I like reading your reviews and opinion on 360 games, and unless an act of God occurs, I’ll probably never buy a PS3. I just feel that when the XBOX works, it blows all other systems out of the water.

This is really crap. Yeah I’ve heard a lot about Xbox 360 and it’s problems. But this is over the top. I understand that you consider buying a Playstation 3.

But do you really need to have a elite 360? Why not buy a standard one. They are a lot cheaper.

Hmm. big problems. I don’t know what I would do.

Hope it works out man!

Why not grab an Elite (they’re available on eBay at least) and don’t open the case? That way, if it dies again, it will be covered under warranty and you won’t have to buy another console.

I saw a bunch of Elites at our Best Buy in Ottawa the other day. They’re not *that* hard to find elsewhere in Canada, are they?


your second xbox for capturing themes? wouldnt that be covered under this new extended warranty? Unless I missed the fact that its an opened case too moded for capturing, since I’m new to 360’s of the xbox persuasion. wouldnt you just return xbox #2?

How about going to Wal-Mart and buying a Premium. I believe they have a 90 day exchange on 360’s so that gives you 3 months to wait for the price drop AND the new Falcon internals. That means roughly the end off Oct. and i’m fairly sure MS will have the new 360 out by then with the 65nm.

Your PC will welcome you back open arms even after it got dropped on it’s ass. It’s nice like that 😉

I can’t believe you’re having so much trouble with this. My best friend had ‘ring of fire’ and called Microsoft. They couldn’t repair it so they sent him a new one, no questions asked. Have you tried dealing with Microsoft directly?

This is most likely something you have already attempted in the past but I haven’t noticed it on your blog / twitter.

I had a buddy that put vinyl covering his entire 360. He knew that in fact he had voided his warrantee, so when he called Microsoft for replacement parts, he told them the serial number (located in two places on the 360) and conveniently didn’t mention the vinyl.

He then asked them to ship the parts to his house rather than sending in his Xbox, to save time. They did.

He is now happy as can be with a void warrantee yet still getting (partial) service.


Thats pretty damn smart…now, did he have to send the parts he was replacing back to them? If so, sounds like a great deal.

I have since been emailed and told that it was a screw up on Microsoft’s part:

"…Microsoft would NEVER just send a part to an individual…"

In response to that email and to your question, no, he did not have to send in the part. I called him to question him about it (the story was faulty in my mind also) and he said they asked him multiple questions that he had to answer. At the end he did what I had said above and they told him the part was on the way.

Unclear to me rather this is something Microsoft would do as their usual customer service, or if the girl he was working with just made an error. Either way it worked, and may work for this issue as well.

The moment Microsoft refused to fix it for you (even though you did take the cover off) I’d of boycotted them for life.

I was once a happy Sony consumer, until they refused to replace a pair of headphones.

They’ve lost me for good. I’m sure I’ll eventually turn against all my favorite gadget companies one day, and become the last analog guy on the planet.

In case you missed the point – I have 2 dead Xbox 360s. Microsoft has sold something like 12 million consoles that are prone to failure at any given moment.

Thats a very good point to make – but what are you’re thoughts on the new 3 year warranty? I mean, I can definitely understand the frustration of breaking equipment, and especially ones that are prone to it – its just ridiculous – what company knowingly ships out broken consoles? MS of course.

At anyrate, the only reason I even commented was to try to convince you somehow not to switch to PS3 – you’ve got this rep for being an xbox gamer and reviewer – you’re the only place I go to get reviews, and you review games of similar interests so accurately.

It’s sad to see things like this happen to good people – but hopefully a miracle happens.

Good luck

Well, it happened. I went to EB tonight and asked if they had an Elite or PS3 in stock. The girl chuckled, "We haven’t had an Elite in stock for weeks." But they had a PS3, so I left with it.

Picked up Resistance along with it. Pretty impressive so far.

At the end of this week, I’ll know the fate of Dashboard Themes. At which time I’ll be able to determine if I can send off my backup Xbox 360 any time soon. There’s still hope yet, but for now I’m rocking the shiny black box.

I hope you can continue Dashboard Themes, or at least someone else can. It’s basically one of a kind

Actually, i’m hoping to see how the Nascar themes look, hopefully an update sometime next week…

Awesome that you have the cash laying around to make that decision, however I’m scared to hear your reaction to the "shiny one"…

Otherwise, not only did I make a bad choice is grabbing the 360 early on, but also have been leading many others down a shaded path.

The games on the 360 are great, its the unreliability of the hardware thats the problem 😐

And nothing wrong with the PS3 other than its price and lack of games.

Tough break dude 🙁 I hope you get a 360 again as I still haven’t had a chance to play against ya. I guess i’ll count my blessings that my launch-360 is still running strong 🙂

I wouldn’t have thought that these problems would make you want to jump ship. I figured that you might have seen the MGS4 gameplay clip. lol

I hope that it works out for you Matt. PS3 are still expensive, you might just wanna crruise back on some older games for a while until things steady so that you can think things over.

Matt I must say it’s kinda sad to see you leave the X360 ship. On the other hand I understand why that happened.

Though the story with cracking the case is something that you should be aware I think that M$ could get your console fixed if you paid for it – the warranty AFAIK states that there are no repair charges, not that there are repairs.

You just have to draw a conclusion for the future – carefully read the warranty 😉

Anyway – enjoy the PS3, and let us know soon if it does the job 🙂 I’m really curious about the online part.

I’m in much the same boat, although not bought a PS3 yet.

My first 360 packed in with the DVD tray not opening, sent off for repair back comes a refurb and all is well, until it stops spinning the disc in the drive randomly, happens with games (usually causing either a dirty disc message or it stops loading textures depending on the game – the ‘ring without road textures aint much fun!) and also with DVDs so the film suddenly stops… joy!

A quick phone call to MS reveals that the refurb console is only guaranteed for 3 months and guess what, i’m out of it by 2 weeks… bugger.

I went through 15 original Xbox consoles (dirty disc errors, dead network connections) but still bought a 360 because it has a good selection of games coming out and online play is a big thing for me… I’m now seriously considering jumping ship to the 360, hope you’ll post your thoughts on your PS3 in the next few days, a comparison to the 360 would be nice 😛

Wow Matt, that was a quick purchase. Personally, it would have taken me weeks of negotiations with the wife before I could buy something as major as a PS3 : )

Hope you do find a resolution for your Xbox 360 – you never had a chance to join us during one of our Live Thursday sessions!

Anyway, have fun with the new console…

Microsoft has really made a horrible mess with all those faulty consoles…

I think the PS3 will overcome its current zombie state , it feels like it was released a year sooner than they should have. After all, games like Heavenly Sword and Killzone 2 are just around the corner.

Good luck with your PS3

What’s up Matt? I keep meaning to post on some of your articles but I don’t have my own internet here in Australia and whenever I actually do get a chance to get on, I have so much that I want do to that I end up forgetting to do half of it!

I’ve had my 360 since around the time Prey came out and before I came to Australia, I played it for an inhumane amount of time. I carted it back and forth to friends houses and the recording studio countless times, and I’ve never had a single problem with it. I think that’s why I’m always a little shocked when I read about people who got bum consoles.

Since I’ve been in Australia, I’ve decided that I’m going to sell my 360 when I get home, and I’m either going to buy an Elite (hopefully they have them by the time I get back) or a PS3. Last-gen, I owned every single console at one point or another, although the game that took up most of my time by far was Halo 2. I didn’t get a chance to play the Halo 3 beta since I was here but all my friends told me that it was incredible. So more or less, Halo would be the only game that I’d really be missing if I were to buy a PS3 instead of keeping my 360/buying an Elite. But for me, that’s a HUGE strike against the PS3. Sony just doesn’t have a killer online game and in my opinion probably never will… nothing that will stack up against Halo 3 anyways. I know people love SOCOM, but it’s just not anywhere near what I personally am looking for in an online game.

However, PS3 does have a lot of cool games that I know I’m going to miss out on by keeping my 360… mostly Metal Gear Solid 4. I’m a huge fan of the series and always have been, so it hurts a little to think that I most likely will never get to sit down and enjoy that game… unless by some chance it ends up on 360. Also, I think Little Big Planet and Home are things I definitely want to try. Plus, I think Blu-Ray is now going to win the format war because of that deal Sony made with Blockbuster, but that’s neither here nor there in this argument.

I thought about all these things and it actually wasn’t until I thought about what I would miss about my 360 that made me realize that there’s no way I can get a PS3 instead. I love Xbox Live way too much and Sony’s online doesn’t and never will compare to Live in my eyes. I’m glad to pay for my subscription to Xbox Live. I think Xbox is winning over more and more dev’s every day, especially since Sony seems to have no idea what they’re doing anymore. (80gb PS3? Is that necessary? You’d think they would have learned from Microsoft’s Core/Premium SKU mistake.)

Here’s hoping you stick with the good guys. Haha.

@Wavey he’s already voided the warranty, so no real point in stripping the paint 🙁

Holy comments Batman! I’m just running off to grab some lunch and don’t have time to reply to everyone individually right now, but I do want to make one thing clear…

I absolutely love the Xbox 360. It’s a great platform with the best game library and best online support. It’s just a shame the hardware is absolute garbage. My departure from the 360 scene is temporary. I need something to play now, and clearly the Xbox 360 isn’t cutting it.

I received a bit of good news yesterday, though. I have some contacts in the industry and they’ve totally come through for me. They’ve offered to send in my console and get it fixed at no charge. In the mean time, they’re going to send me a loaner console to fill the void. At first, I told them I didn’t need the loaner and could wait to get my 360 back. That was, until this morning when my second console fully bit the dust. Ring of death!

<img src="; width="240" height="180" alt="Another One Bites the Dust" />

Wow, seriously, wow. I feel your pain. I too personally love the 360, the software is unmatched, yet the hardware is crap. That is very good news that your 360 is going to get fixed for free, I hope to see up and running again soon. Despite how the PS3 is a sure bet for reliability, I just can’t bring myself up to it. Every time I see one in a store I just can’t find a good reason for buying one. It is without a doubt that this holiday season is controlled by the 360, but the fact that the 65nm chips wont be out yet is really sad. I don’t know what I would do if my 360 got the ring of death, especially with Halo 3 coming.

Wow…that is some horrible luck! At least you can get the back up repaired for free since its a 3 year warranty on the 3 red rings.

I got a spare CORE system lying around … it’s yours if the price is right. Has only ever been used for a period of 3 weeks while my Premium was out for repair.

Two red-rings in such a short period? That seems really unlikely. Are you sure that there isn’t a problem with your power supply or anything like that that could be damaging it?

Anyway, good luck with the new console, hope it gets fixed and returned soon. 🙂

@Devlin: Nope, just one ring of the death. The other is error E74, which is to do with the video interface on the motherboard.

When you were planning to paint your Xbox 360, did you consider going to a car painting shop or following whatever method they use to paint cars?

Just kidding! But hey! When you buy PS, you’ll get it black anyway! Happy gaming!

I bought a 360 earlier this week, (my first console since the N64, I’ve always been a PC gamer at heart) and it does suck that I have to cross my fingers every time I boot it up. But a PS3 is out of my price range, and the Wii is too much of a gimmick. Plus the 360 has the fantastic game library and middleware that the others sorely lack. For that reason alone do I put up with the constant paranoia.

That really sucks that you’ve had all these issues, but really it’s quite common which is quite sad.

However it’s not that bad, the PS3 has been lacking for games, much like the 360 did in its first year but it’s library is starting to pick up.

And there is some great titles on the way, so hopefully it will be a good buy 🙂 GTA4, MGS4, UT3, FF etc.

The problem with the Red Rings is that there not fixing the console, there just replacing them if you send it in.

My 360 just broke on me too. But not the Three Rings of Death, but E 74. Something to do with the video card or A/V stuff. Not sure, but I will have to send it in. I was in the middle of playing the Shadowrun Demo when the screen got real weird. Then I went to the Dashboard and started playing Rainbow Six: Vegas where the screen started to mess up again. I thought I would just re-start the system, not. Now an error message appears whenever I start it up. You can find many other people who have had this problem on YouTube. The only good thing I can find out of this is that the Fall games haven’t arrived yet and I wont be missing Halo 3. I just still can’t believe how this morning my 360 was working perfectly, but now it doesn’t.

if it makes you feel any better I went through 5 360’s in a month and 3 of them in 1 weekend( traded them out @ eb games with warranty and 3 of the ones they replaced were still screwed). My first one was modded also but luckily I was able to find the original case and returned it missing some parts mind you … but hye thats what warranties are for right?

So does the long awaited Elite actually have the falcon 65nm chip? From what i’ve gathered, there is still a lot of confusion about this… What’s the deal?

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