Location Is Everything
Just about the worst thing you can do is stuff your Xbox 360 into the back of an enclosed entertainment center or TV stand. There is nowhere for the heat to go, and there is usually a lot of dust back in these dark corners that can significantly shorten the life of your system. So where are we supposed to put a game system? There are quite a few solutions to choose from, and I recommend taking a look at PriceGrabbers TV Stand Listings so you can find one that not only performs well, but looks nice also.
I suggest a TV stand with an open back and/or open sides. This makes it easier to clean as well as lets the heat move away from your game system. If you arent concerned about looks, like if your system is set up in a game room or bedroom, you could also try a simple wire frame A/V rack as that would definitely allow for maximum airflow.
My personal game system storage solution is a TV stand designed for a 20 TV (I got it for $20 at Wal-Mart). I have older game systems hooked up on the middle and bottom shelves, and my Pelican System Selector Pro, DVD player, and Xbox 360 stacked up one on top of the other on top. That is a key thing to consider, because many DVD players, stereo receivers, system selectors, and that sort of equipment have a standard footprint and they are designed to stack. Take advantage of this. It looks surprisingly nice, and your Xbox 360 can get all of the air it needs to function properly.
Even after you have the location picked out, you still have to dust and make sure things are clean every once in a while. It is also recommended that you take a look at the vents on your game system and clean them as well if need be. Dont use compressed air to blow the dust out, because that will just blow it into the system and likely cause a new problem. Instead, you can use a small handheld vacuum to pull the dirt out. Doing this every six months or so can save you a lot of heartache later.
- Dont store game cases or other stuff on top of your Xbox 360. It can reflect the heat back into the system and cause the system to not function properly. I did this a while back and it caused graphical artifacts to appear on the screen. I removed the DVD case, let the system cool for a little bit, and the system has been working fine ever since.
- Dont leave wired controllers strung out all over your living room. The last thing you want is for the family dog, or young kids, or your dumb friends tripping over them and yanking your game system onto the floor. The Xbox and Xbox 360 have breakaway controller cables so this hopefully wont happen, but preventing it from happening in the first place is the only protection you can count on.
- Keep your systems clean. Dust is the mortal enemy of electronics. Fight it any way you can. My first PS2 only lasted 15 months because it got too dirty, but the replacement has been running strong for a good 3 ½ years because I keep it clean.
- Keep your systems cool. Use TV stands and/or entertainment centers with open backs. This lets the air circulate so your system doesnt get too hot.
- Dont panic if something goes wrong. Your Xbox 360 gives you error messages and ring of light errors for a lot of reasons. Check your power cables, check the AV cables, make sure it is properly ventilated, make sure there isnt anything on top of it. If these are all fine, then you can panic.
- Dont throw away the box the system came in. They are a handy way to transport the system if you need to since you can keep everything organized and in one spot. Plus, you can impress your friends when you open a closet and show them something like this.