Last year we talked about the attempt to reveal Microsoft Xbox 360 “Red Ring of Death” root cause and it was believed to be due to component overheat and platform thermal design issue. No further confirmation from Microsoft since then until yesterday when Bryan Lewis, the chief analyst of Gartner Inc disclosed further that it was due to graphic chip overheat issue during the Design Automation Conference.
As according to Bryan, the main root cause for the issue is due to its own designed graphic chip overheated when under normal operation. Although it didn’t cause any catastrophic to end users but Microsoft had decided to recall all the affected products at its own cost. Instead of trying to save up to few million dollars by designing its own graphic chip, it ended up spent more than $1 billion to recall all the entire problematic Xbox consoles. Bryan further revealed that Microsoft went back to its original ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit) designer, believed to be ATI Technologies to re-design the graphic replacement chip. Apparently, if Microsoft were to follow normal route to sub-con the graphic chip development to external design house, it would have able to avoid such a huge recall.
Similarly for this time, Microsoft has refused to comment to this statement and continues keeping it a mysterious bug to public. Anyway, we should continue to see the ASIC design houses to be actively engaged with system OEM since they are the one specializing and having expertise on it.