In reality there’s no 100% sure way to tell if you’re Xbox 360 is going to break, but you can find out if you’re machine is one of the consoles likely to go sour.
Here’s how it breaks down: In response to a staggering rate of failure for the 360, Microsoft decided to fix the heat sink issue with its console. The earlier Xbox 360s tend to lack the new heat sink, and the older Xbox 360s tend to have the new heat sink.
If you’re console doesn’t have the new heat sink, there’s a good chance you’re going to witness the red ring of death soon, but, if you’re curious as to whether your 360 has the new heat sink, BenHeck.com has the deets on how to tell without voiding your warranty:
1. Stand your Xbox 360 vertically and turn it upside down.
2. Take a digital camera with the flash turned on and, as Ben Heck says, “Stick your camera up in that hole…” Your camera should focus around the holes in the grate.
3. Check the picture. If you can see straight through to the side of your DVD drive, than you’re Xbox doesn’t have the new heat sink. If you can’t see your DVD drive, than you’ve got the new heat sink and your machine probably won’t break.
Unfortunately for Ben Heck, his 360 doesn’t have the new heat sink, as you can see below.
Unfortunately, I can’t tell you how to fix this issue, but at least you’ll know if your Xbox 360 will take a trip back to Microsoft HQ.