Well I had a few game saves that weren't backed up in the past week (Usually do so on the weekends) so I stopped by Home Depot for a $22 heat gun (400C) and Radio Shack for some Arctic Silver 5 Thermal paste $10 and had myself a nice little Sunday.
Taking it apart was rather easy, and the construction of these old 60GB's is rather good. Nothing force clipped in, nothing too out of the way to make it breakable, even the screw holes are mostly labeled. Good plastic and a good chassis. It's filled with dreaded ribbon cables, but they're placed well and it's almost impossible to break one in this device.
One thing thats obvious from just looking at it is the cooling and heatsink system is not up to snuff, especially for the heat these original models pump out. Once giant fan, two small aluminum heatsinks and a little bit of copper running through them to radiate heat out. Heat is also dissipated through the chassis protecting the Mobo with other minor components, which to me seems like a bad idea.
Did the heatgun fix, applied the thermal paste and put her back together.
She works perfectly!
Which means the YLOD was in fact the RSX or CELL chips solder joints (90% of the time thats the case). No idea how Sony is getting away without a class action lawsuit on this one, as it's a known defect in the design, and happens quite a bit. I'll chalk it up to Japanese hubris, much like their real world IT security disaster, and their self made PR
disaster that followed.
Got my game saves, and currently backing her up. How long will she last? Who knows. But when she goes, Sony's getting an earful. They should be offering a exchange program for all of their early adopters IMO, who supported them with some serious cash when others were laughing at the price tag. Funny enough, the fan is running super quiet now with the new thermal paste (applied appropriately). Whoever put the old thermal paste on made a mess and it looks like way too much was applied, which could have been a factor leading to a YLOD. As for dust, my system was practically dust free. A few dust bunnies here and there around the vents, but the mobo was spotless, the fan wasn't bad, and all the other electronics were dust free. So dust doesn't seem to be a factor IMO, which is disheartening for those who think keeping it clean will keep their system running strong (I was one).
For those who still have one that's works (out of warranty of course) I do recommenced taking her apart, giving her a good cleaning if need be, and applying a good grade thermal paste. It's probably the only way you might
mitigate the solder problems.
Lesson learned here, next Gen I'll be sitting on the sidelines and waiting it out a year or two to make sure they have their act together, and I'll grab a 3rd party 5 year warranty too. MS and Sony seem to be cutting corners to drive down costs, and not properly designing these things with cooling systems on par with modern PC's. Hopefully by next gen they learned a little something.