Microsoft Responds to Foil on Xbox 360 GPU Heatsink-- Posted by XanTium on March 10 22:35 EST
Microsoft has issued a reply via the GamerScore Blog (ran by Xbox employees) to the story about the foil found on some heatsink GPUs:
The video and photos posted by German blog GameStore24.de show thermal interface pads that are not installed incorrectly. They are installed per specification. This foil eliminates the need of a protective liner, which simplifies the final assembly process and minimizes shipping concerns and contamination issues.
Just a reminder that opening the Xbox 360 case voids the warranty. If your console is malfunctioning, call Xbox customer support. They can diagnose whether the system is malfunctioning, and will arrange for repair/replacement if necessary.
The manufacturing team pointed me to the exact part we used. More information on the material can be found here. Here is the way they describe the part, in case any of you want to buy more...(my emphasis):
THERMFLOW T558 provides the high performance properties typical of free-film phase change materials with the added benefit of easy removal. MULTIPHASE thermal interface pads are phase-change materials specially formulated for use in high performance devices requiring minimum thermal resistance for maximum thermal performance and component reliability. It provides the high performance of typical phase change materials with the added benefit of improved thermal stability over conventional phase change pads. It is a 0.005 inch (0.13mm) thick, inherently adhesive film that softens at device operating temperatures resulting in "grease-like" performance. T558 has been coated on one side of a conformal metal foil carrier. It is easily attached onto a heat sink or heat spreader, leaving the metal foil surface exposed. This foil eliminates the need of a protective liner, which simplifies the final assembly process and minimizes shipping concerns and contamination issues.
The original specification is included here. The Xbox 360 uses T558. Note the "gray/silver foil."
The guys over at kotaku.com also got a reply from Microsoft about this matter. It says the same as above including the usual marketing talk that there is no systemic issue, that the return rate is below the CE industry average of 3-5% and that all problems are being handled on a case-by-case basis.