updated 09:25 am EDT, Tue April 14, 2009
MS Covers X360 E74 Errors
Microsoft today quietly acknowledged ongoing problems with the Xbox 360 and posted a warranty extension for consoles affected by failures accompanied by the E74 error message. The game system producer now considers these the same as the 3-red-light issue (commonly known as the "red ring of death") and will fix or replace systems affected by E74 under the same 3-year warranty extension, which triples the normal repair period. Those who have already paid for a fix before the extension will also get an automatic refund.
The error began appearing this fall for users who had upgraded to the New Xbox Experience (NXE), which produces the E74 code when it encounters the same overheating problems for the graphics chip as for systems with the original interface.
Microsoft tries to mitigate the scope of the problem by claiming that a "very small percentage" of customers will see the E74 warning, but the issue is known to potentially affect all Xbox 360s shipped before late 2008 due to a GPU design issues which frequently lead to the graphics chip gradually leaving its socket as repeated use creates persistent heat issues. The newer consoles, based on the Jasper internal design, use both a much cooler-running graphics chipset as well as redesigned cooling to likely eliminate the problem.