What Xbox Series X Is Learning From the Infamous Red Ring of Death

The Red Ring of Death cost Microsoft $1 billion for Xbox 360 — how is Xbox Series X planning to prevent the same issue for launch?

The Xbox Series X is seemingly around the corner, and we know a lot about it — what the technical specs are, much of the Microsoft strategy, and what their confidence level looks like. However, there is one thing that would be impossible to know — what is the inevitable hardware mishap that will evolve in mass production? Whether we are talking the Nintendo Switch broken JoyCons or the Red Ring of Death, it appears Microsoft is already taking proactive steps with their history in mind.

News comes from one of the most recent interviews with Digital Foundry, specifically talking about how the team designed the Xbox Series X. In that interview, Jim Wahl — the director of mechanical engineering for Xbox hardware — discussed why the shape was selected for the components. Specifically, to allow for 70% more airflow:

You have exhaust out the top and we have large venting holes, but the the net effect of putting all of this together, having parallel paths, having this really powerful quiet fan at the top, is that we get 70% more airflow through this console than the past generation and we get 20% more airflow through our heatsink alone than in the past generation.

Why is this significant? Anyone who has a basic understanding of previous Xbox consoles, specifically the Xbox 360 fiasco with the Red Ring of Death, realizes why focusing on heat management is so crucial. For those who recognize it by name only, the issue was caused in a large contingency of Xbox 360s due to overheating of component parts, limited space within the hardware for component, and inconsistency across the board. This would ultimately lead to a $1 billion effort in repairing, replacing, and re-manufacturing affected consoles.

While heat management has clearly been a primary focus during the Xbox One generation, it’s incredible to hear that they are planning for a 20-70% airflow on those components, which speaks to the longevity, temperature, and volume of the Xbox Series X under strain.

While much of the PS5 remains unknown, Microsoft has been taking the Xbox Series X on a media blitz to ramp up hype for the new console. And frankly — the approach is working; while they are the underdog coming out of this generation, there has been an overwhelming amount of confidence in the hardware (and how recent events will affect the launch), even if it means launching without a flagship game.

Xbox Series X is launching Holiday 2020; despite previous rumors that it would .come out November 2020, an exact date is not known. In any case, keep your eyes on DualShockers for all the latest next-gen coverage.

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