Jake Metcalf from 8Bit Joystick has been talking to an “inside source” at Microsoft and got the following:
“RROD is caused by anything that fails in the "digital backbone" on the mother board. Also known as a core digital error. CPU, GPU, memory, etc. Bad parts, incompatible parts (timing problems) bad manufacturing process (like solder joints), misapplied heat sinks or thermal interface material, missing parts, broken parts, parts of the wrong value, missed test coverage.”
“MS was so focused on beating Sony this cycle that the 360 was rushed to market when all indications were that it had serious flaws. The design qual testing was insufficient and incomplete when the product was released to production. The manufacturing test equipment had major gaps in test coverage and wasn’t reliable or repeatable. Manufacturing processes at eall levels of suppliers were immature and not in control. […]Whenever something failed and there was a question about whether the test result was false, they would remove that test, retest and ship, or see if the unit would boot a game and run briefly and then ship. 360 is too complex of a machine to get away with that.”
Incidentally, Metcalf had also predicted the Microsoft – Bungie split back in October, so there’s good reason to believe he has solid sources at the Redmond company. Still, don’t forget to take this with the proverbial grain of salt.