Anyone who owned an Xbox 360 knows what the Red Ring Of Death is. Typically shortened to The RROD, the hardware failure was sudden, fatal, and happened to a massive number of Xbox 360 systems prior to the “slim” model’s introduction. While it’s always been speculated that the failure, which effectively meant the console was only good as a paperweight going forward, was caused by its poor thermals, the documentary Power On: The Story of Xbox has revealed that that’s only partially true.
According to Leo Del Castillo, who has been a member of Xbox’s hardware engineering group since 1999, the Red Ring Of Death was caused by connectors inside the components of the console breaking.
While the reason behind the components–soldering balls used to adhere the GPU to the motherboard–breaking was thermal, high temperatures inside the Xbox 360 were not the lone issue. Instead, according to Todd Holmdahl, Xbox’s head of hardware from 1999 to 2014, the problem was the temperature of these balls going from hot to cold so often.