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360 crashes explained?

PSU must be kept cool.

Just days after the Xbox 360 launched in the US, the Internet has been awash with reports of consoles crashing or freezing - but it seems gamers themselves could be to blame for the problem.

According to reports, many Xbox 360 owners are attempting to hide the console's power supply unit out of sight, and placing it in areas where there is not enough ventilation as a result.

Just as when a PC crashes if it gets too hot and there's a risk of fire, the Xbox 360's PSU apparently then shuts down - which means you should be leaving plenty of space around the power pack so that air can circulate and the two built-in fans can do their job.

One Xbox 360 owner found a particularly inventive solution to the problem - as detailed on the GameSpot forum.

The poster, "goldeneyemaster", claims his Xbox 360 was crashing "like once every 20 minutes," so he suspended it in the air with a bit of string - which did the trick.

He also found that perching the PSU on a box worked just as well: "I left the console on for seven hours without crashing (I finally decided to turn it off)."

Microsoft declined to comment on whether or not it's definitely the PSU overheating which is causing the crashes, with a spokesperson simply telling us: "Because Xbox 360 has three powerful processing cores, customers may notice that it runs a bit warmer than other game consoles, but this heat output is well within the acceptable and safe range for a CE device of this type and has passed all applicable safety certifications.

"There is no systemic issue with Xbox 360. Each incident is unique and these customer inquiries are being handled on a case-by-case basis."

Rumours that future Xbox 360s will come bundled with a bit of string are completely made up.