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Thermalright Tr-360 Xbox 360 Gpu Heatsink - Review


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#1 dark_sat

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Posted 24 February 2011 - 11:04 PM

Hello everyone. I own the old Xbox 360 (Xenon motherboard) that has reportedly 3RL due to the GPU's bga issue, aggravated by excessive heating, present in these models.

I actually bought this recently from an college classmate, already with 3RL, he didn't wanted to fix it anymore so I offered him to buy it and he accepted.

With the heat gun, great care and patience, I fixed it. To avoid 3RL's again, I put in the coolers 12v, linked directly to the power supply and did the X-Clamp mod. So it's working almost two months without problems.

But as the problem is compounded by lack of GPU cooling, ThermaRright has released a heatsink specially for the Xbox 360. As soon as I saw it on the internet I decided i needed one. It's the TR-360 and it comes with the thermal grease "The Chill Factor 2, the amount of 4g.

This heat sink is available in nickel model (which I got and is this topic is about) and cooper model. I opted for nickel because although it does not conduct heat as well as copper, it does not lose performance, what happens to the copper over time, and don't get spotted, such as copper. This heatsink features four heatpipes. These heatpipes are placed around the CPU heatsink, so there's no need for any workaround to make holes to install extra coolers.

From what I learned until now, the Xbox 360 only reads the CPU temperature to control the coolers, CPU cold results in slow coolers, hot CPU results in fast coolers.
Since this heatsink removes much more heat than the original, it's position makes the heat spreaded to be sucked into the CPU heatsink, which increases (slightly) its temperature, causing the coolers spin faster, increasing the airflow, cooling it even more.

When I installed the TR-360, I decided to leave the coolers to be controlled by the console, so they run based on the CPU's temperature, increasing the speed automatically.

I do not have equipment to make temperature's measurements, but I can guarantee that the air expelled is warmer than before, so I left the coolers in default and undid the 12v mod, as I think it is unnecessary.

Below is some photos and a little description about the it's installation.

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Photo 1 - Well, in this photo, you can see the box, it is fairly large, more or less the size of a shoe box;

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Photo 2 - Here is inside the box, it perfectly acomodade the heatsink, next to a little box with the thermal grease. It does not feature any kind of instruction manual, but it is available on the manufacturer's website;

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Photo 3 - Next to the product has an sticker, I pasted in the corner of the console top cover;

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Photo 4 - This is a closeup of the underside of the heatsink. Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures when I removed the protective sticker, but the base is 100% mirrored, very well polished. Here you can see the 4 heatpipes coming out of the base.

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Photo 5 - In this photo you see how it is underneath;

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Photo 6 - Here begins the photos of the installation. On my Xbox, which is very very old, the first version, it has a capacitor that blocks the installation due a heatpipe. Pushing it aside would be enough to install, but I did not want risk damaging the heatpipe or the capacitor, so moved the cap, as can be seen in the photo below;

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Photo 7 - Capacitor moved;

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Photo 8 - In this photo you can see the heatsink installed. It does not cover the memory, so it is possible to install memory heatsinks, but for me it seems unnecessary. The best thing of this heatsink is that it does not disturb any of the other console's components. I've seen hacks where big CPU heatsink where installed on the GPU and they need to move the DVD out of the console. With this, it is not necessary;

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Photo 9 - Now, the motherboard is back to the console's case, everything fits perfectly. Note here note two heatpipes will be out of the air duct and two within the same (among them the largest);

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Photo 10 - I had a little difficulty placing the air duct because it won't fit. I took a closer look and noticed that one of the heatpipes (can be seen in photo 11) prevented the placement, to solve the problem, I pushed it a little backwards (bend a little, but did not damage anything) and it finally fitted;


Continue...


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Photo 11 - Heatpipe that prevented the installation of the air duct. If the barrel were shorter in the end, this problem would not have occurred;

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Photo 12 - Heatpipe slightly warped;

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Photo 13 - Console with the air duct. I had the feeling that it did not fit as it should, due to a heatpipe still touching him. I pressed down a bit, which has to feel a backlash, and saw no problem in leaving it this way;

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Photo 14 - Another angle of the photo 13;

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Photo 15 - Console complete, ready to close. Everything fits perfectly

Conclusion:

I felt a very good quality in this heatsink. As I noted earlier, even with the lack of measuring equipment, which would further enrich this review, I must emphasize that the air leaving the console is warmer than before, that means more heat is removed from the GPU.

And it's pretty obvious the fact that this sink has the ability to remove much more heat than the originally installed on the GPU, just look to it.
I believe I'll never have problems with 3RL again, and I commend those who have the consoles successors problem, that if you are willing to spend money, investing in this heatsink will keep the original appearance of your Xbox and will effectively remove more heat than extra GPU coolers, keeping 3rl far away from your Xbox 360.

Sorry if the text is a little hard to be read, I'm Brazilian, so I hope you got the point.

#2 masterofpuppets

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Posted 25 February 2011 - 05:43 AM

Just want to point out that its the solder under the chip that causes the error and not the heat. Because your xbox has been fixed with the x clamp fix and not been repaired by being reflowed or reballed that you can be expecting the rrod again, I just can't say when. Better cooling in your xbox is more rrod prevention, but if you are having to 12volt your fans to keep your xbox running for example maybe it runs for five minutes and then freezes but runs for hours with 12 volt isn't a repair its a fix. I would suggest even though your console is working fine now send it for a reflow and 12 volt the gpu fan which always runs and 5 volts if you really want to avoid the red ring.

#3 dark_sat

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Posted 25 February 2011 - 10:10 PM

QUOTE(masterofpuppets @ Feb 25 2011, 01:43 AM)  

Just want to point out that its the solder under the chip that causes the error and not the heat. Because your xbox has been fixed with the x clamp fix and not been repaired by being reflowed or reballed that you can be expecting the rrod again, I just can't say when. Better cooling in your xbox is more rrod prevention, but if you are having to 12volt your fans to keep your xbox running for example maybe it runs for five minutes and then freezes but runs for hours with 12 volt isn't a repair its a fix. I would suggest even though your console is working fine now send it for a reflow and 12 volt the gpu fan which always runs and 5 volts if you really want to avoid the red ring.


Well, I hope my fix doesn't need to be re-fixed any time soon. This Xbox ran from 2006 to 2010 without RRoD and without any modification. After I bought it and clamp moded it, the RRoD didn't came back, THEN I decided to do the 12v mod, just to make sure it would not annoy me again.

That's why I went back for the stock cooling system after the new heatsink, 12v isn't necessary anymore.

#4 turbocrow

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Posted 25 February 2011 - 11:30 PM

You need to do a reflow also and add a fan in front of the cpu because that heatsink raised the cpu heat by 10oc which is bad.

#5 Rhino61466

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Posted 01 March 2011 - 12:59 AM

Contrary to popular belief it is a combination of bad solder and over heating that causes rrod and e74. I have gotten rrod during the middle of a game which shows a problem with the stock cooling hardware rather than the cool down process which some believe warps the motherboard. If extreme temperatures are never reached you will not have a problem with the solder disconnecting. So theoretically if you get the operating temperatures low enough you will never have problems with the rrod or e74. I would not be surprised if this does work; however, I would switch back to the 12v fan. There is no such thing as unnecessary when dealing with a 360's cooling system or lack their of.

#6 dark_sat

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Posted 01 March 2011 - 03:11 AM

QUOTE(Rhino61466 @ Feb 28 2011, 08:59 PM)  

Contrary to popular belief it is a combination of bad solder and over heating that causes rrod and e74. I have gotten rrod during the middle of a game which shows a problem with the stock cooling hardware rather than the cool down process which some believe warps the motherboard. If extreme temperatures are never reached you will not have a problem with the solder disconnecting. So theoretically if you get the operating temperatures low enough you will never have problems with the rrod or e74. I would not be surprised if this does work; however, I would switch back to the 12v fan. There is no such thing as unnecessary when dealing with a 360's cooling system or lack their of.


I agree with you, but, i went back to stock cooling because this heatsink makes the CPU a bit hotter, which triggers the coolers to spin faster than with the stock GPU heatsing. In normal use, playing GTA 4 from the hard drive, the coolers spin at almost full speed, and running in idle it is quieter, since it doesnt heat so much. So, i judge as unnecessary the 12v mod with this new GPU heatsink. Until now it is running great.

#7 Rhino61466

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Posted 01 March 2011 - 05:45 PM

Keep us updated every few months and let us know if you have any problems. I know a lot of us are anxious to see if this will permanently work! You may want to think about sealing the exhaust fan shroud since it doesn't really fit well anymore. You could cover the gap between the shroud and the heat sinks with foil to help direct the airflow.

#8 dark_sat

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Posted 01 March 2011 - 07:13 PM

QUOTE(Rhino61466 @ Mar 1 2011, 01:45 PM)  

Keep us updated every few months and let us know if you have any problems. I know a lot of us are anxious to see if this will permanently work! You may want to think about sealing the exhaust fan shroud since it doesn't really fit well anymore. You could cover the gap between the shroud and the heat sinks with foil to help direct the airflow.


OK. I'll leave it the way it is, I don't think it's a big deal the gaps that the shroud have. The top cover of the console stays very cool while playing, so, the heat is being removed successfully. I'll try to update it every month.

#9 Rhino61466

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Posted 02 March 2011 - 01:52 AM

Yea I know for a fact the main issue behind all the GPU problems are caused by heat. I had a buddy that resoldered his GPU with lead based solder (much higher melting point than the solder microsoft originally used) and six months later he still got e74. So if this heat sink doesn't work I am going to fabricate something with liquid cooling.

#10 dark_sat

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Posted 02 March 2011 - 03:48 AM

QUOTE(Rhino61466 @ Mar 1 2011, 09:52 PM)  

Yea I know for a fact the main issue behind all the GPU problems are caused by heat. I had a buddy that resoldered his GPU with lead based solder (much higher melting point than the solder microsoft originally used) and six months later he still got e74. So if this heat sink doesn't work I am going to fabricate something with liquid cooling.


From what i know, the E74 is caused by the ANA or HANA, whatever it is called, but is that chip, not the GPU.

That the excessive heat is the cause of all BGA issues, is a fact, just look at those tons of HP laptops with nvidia gpus that had issues with BGA because of poor heat dissipation. And is not surprising that Xbox had those GPU issues with that tiny heatsink.


#11 Rhino61466

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Posted 02 March 2011 - 07:31 PM

QUOTE(dark_sat @ Mar 1 2011, 07:48 PM)  

From what i know, the E74 is caused by the ANA or HANA, whatever it is called, but is that chip, not the GPU.

That the excessive heat is the cause of all BGA issues, is a fact, just look at those tons of HP laptops with nvidia gpus that had issues with BGA because of poor heat dissipation. And is not surprising that Xbox had those GPU issues with that tiny heatsink.


Exactly, if you look at pc counterparts with the same high level gpu the heat sinks are twice the size and usually have a fan built directly on them. Not really sure what MS engineers were thinking when they put such a small heat sink on a gaming system gpu. It was doomed to fail from the start.

#12 tk_saturn

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Posted 02 March 2011 - 08:37 PM

QUOTE(masterofpuppets @ Feb 25 2011, 04:43 AM)  

Just want to point out that its the solder under the chip that causes the error and not the heat.

Then why doesn't the CPU fail? same solder, same package method, same x-clamps. It's known what the issue is, expansion and contraction of materials from changes in heat which can lead to fracturing of the solder joints. The higher the temps, the bigger the expansion.

A smaller heatsink means those expansion changes will be more rapid.

Edited by tk_saturn, 02 March 2011 - 08:42 PM.


#13 dark_sat

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Posted 02 March 2011 - 08:41 PM

QUOTE(tk_saturn @ Mar 2 2011, 04:37 PM)  

Then why doesn't the CPU fail? same solder, same package method, same x-clamps.


H! Different heatsink. The CPU's heatsink, I believe, can remove at least 4 times as much heat as the stock GPU heatsink.

#14 Rhino61466

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Posted 02 March 2011 - 08:46 PM

Good point tk saturn I have been trying to tell people that all along.

#15 ShadowGuy

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Posted 02 March 2011 - 11:18 PM

I've had this heatsink in my JTAGed jasper since mid-January. It never RRed or overheated prior to putting in the new HS. I did it more as a preventative measure and cause I sold off the XDK it was supposed to go into. I took mental note of the temps for 1 week prior to installation and every moment since, using the temp monintor built into FSD.

Another note is that I did this in conjunction with removal of the inner metal grill, so that also affected temp readings. I also reused the x-clamp from the original GPU, using some old MX TIM on that and the CPU was only shrouded, using original xclamps and TIM.

GPU dropped 10~15C and CPU dropped ~5C. Fans are set to auto and unless my house gets over 75F neither temp goes above 60~62C, no matter how much I play and check. Now there is of course a drastic drop in temps once the load has been removed from the time it takes to quit a game and load FSD, but the fans never 'spin-up' and are always just barely blowing while in-game.

If I put the fans at 100%, temps drop dramatically into the 30~40C range.

On the note of installation, this was a 'nightmare' installing, taking the case on and off 10+ times. The curve of the shroud pushes the set of fins directly in front of the fans (SF1) into the fans. After bending and adjusting the pipe leading to SF1 a dozen different times and not getting it to work, I figured out the key. You must break the tab on the shroud that pulls it into being flush with the fans. Keep in mind, I could bend the pipe so that SF1 didn't go into the fans with the shroud unaltered but as soon as the case was back on, it would be grinding again.

Overall, if you want to put the time into it, it's well worth it. Analyze it all you want over the Internet, but the real-world results are real. I don't have anything to gain from this, just figured I'd let everyone know, since not many people have one.

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