With the onset of a new generation approaching, the gaming community has had a number of questions for Sony and Microsoft alike regarding their new hardware. In some cases, consumers have been so vocal as to practically force Microsoft to reverse some of their initial Xbox One policies. There is one issue that hasn't really seen much coverage, however. What steps has Microsoft taken to vanquish the infamous Red Ring of Death that has plagued many Xbox 360s of late?
Last week, Gizmodo spoke with Leo del Castillo, the Xbox General Manager of Console Development. Thankfully, Microsoft faced such a nightmare with overheating in the past that they weren't about to go through it for another eight years. As the article suggests, the Xbox One's shape is such that people are inevitably going to stack other devices on top of it, whereas the Xbox 360 was curved just enough to deter this (for the most part). This invites even more debilitating heat insulation than is generated when the console is running normally.
"We can't prevent misuse," admits del Castillo, "but we can certainly anticipate it."
Borrowing techniques from PCs, the Xbox One is able to detect when it begins running too hot and employ a few different cooling methods. With normal use, the console's ventilation fan runs almost silently, but was designed so that it may increase speed automatically. Of course, del Castillo says Microsoft does not intend for the console to ever need to utilize this functionality, but in the realm of hardcore gaming players could go for days on end without giving the Xbox One a break.
If a fan isn't enough to keep the console running cool, likely at the expense of performance, the Xbox One can scale back its power usage to practically nothing in an effort to prevent a complete meltdown. "We had a little less flexibility with the 360," says del Castillo, "And so basically, if we couldn't dissipate the heat, there wasn't a whole lot of leverage we could pull to keep the heat from being generated, so we had a limited amount of time before it just shut down." Again, Microsoft hopes that the added noise from the fan at max-speed is enough to "self-correct the condition" by alerting the user of the issue before further action is required. In addition, del Castillo alluded to a visual cue to notify a player that things are getting a little heated. As Gizmodo's Kyle Wagner puts it, "That means pop-up or banner alert, probably, which sounds annoying, but it's better than your Xbox melting to death."