I picked up this gem of a console for repair. Looks like a refurb Xenon with extended GPU heatsink. A real mess (flux caked everywhere, hopefully that's not the issue here), but factory sealed.
Anyway, the description of the problem was lagging and freezing of games after a short while of playing. Also, games were detected as DVDs - only after 10-20 reinsertions of the disc, would it see them as games. I had asked if there were any issues playing from the hard drive, whether installed from disc, or arcade game, and received a resounding "no." This is not quite the case.
I swapped the drive out with another sammy. The lagging issues and disc detection problem subsided, but the freezing remained. Most games will not last more than five minutes. (The story of my life) They will often freeze at the same spot each time. These discs are in pristine condition, and work flawlessly in another Xenon using one of the same disc drives. An original AND backup of the same game will freeze at the same spot.
While arcade games seem to run fine, installed full games are useless. Upon trying to run a freshly installed game (which installs without a hitch), the audio briefly stutters, and either a DRE pops up, or the console freezes. One install just froze at a black screen immediately after trying to load the game. Something, somewhere, it seems, is corrupting the installs, and a little differently each time they are installed, not each time they are run. Each unique installation of a game reacts slightly differently from the others. When running the same install multiple times, it will act the same each time. (Hopefully that makes sense)
I have now tried two other drives - a BenQ and Lite-On. These produced no changes. I've tried alternate sata cables. Nope. Two different hard drives, both with freshly cleared cache. Also with no hard drive. The customer requested I do an x-clamp fix - I wondered if this may help. It did not. I'm 98% sure the console is not overheating, and have extra cooling on it just in case.
My only other thought is the southbridge having issues. I've tried weighing it down a bit, but again, no changed result. I'd prefer keeping a SB reflow as my very last option.
ANY input at all is greatly appreciated. This thing has me stumped.
MY apologies if this post is a bit.. unorganized and scattered.