Microsoft has issued a semi-heated response to the German sprockets who wondered if a curious piece of foil on the 360 heatsink may be the cause of the console's much-discussed toaster oven issues. From Gamerccore Blog (run by Xbox employees):
The video and photos posted by German blog GameStore24.de show thermal interface pads that are not installed incorrectly. They are installed per specification. This foil eliminates the need of a protective liner, which simplifies the final assembly process and minimizes shipping concerns and contamination issues.
The manufacturing team pointed me to the exact part we used.
The part in question can be found here at Chromerics.com:
THERMFLOW T558 is recommended for applications where rework and ease of disassembly are important. This new material provides the high performance properties typical of free-film phase change materials with the added benefit of easy removal. T558 is the same phase material as T557 which has been coated on one side of a conformal metal foil carrier. It is easily attached onto a heat sink or heat spreader, leaving the metal foil surface exposed. This foil eliminates the need of a protective liner, which simplifies the final assembly process and minimizes shipping concerns and contamination issues.
Note the spec sheet above that refers to gray/silver foil. The Xbox-Scene forums have some interesting discussion on the matter.
So were the Germans off base? Is MS off the hook? Is it possible some 360s got the T558 and some the "foil-free" T557?
[Previously: Achtung! Xbox 360 overheating explained!]