It's very likely that you or someone you know has already suffered from the dreaded yellow light of death or red ring of death on Xbox 360. Although the YLOD is far less of an issue, it has the same root cause as the RROD, overheating. Whilst the new PS3 and the Xbox 360 S are options to get away from these issues, they are not 100% fail-proof. There have been issues of RDOD (Red Dot of Death) on the new Xbox 360 S, and although I haven't heard of an overheating issue with the new PlayStation 3s, I'm sure that it is still possible. Here are 5 ways you can try to prevent YLOD or RROD.
5. Let your console breathe
The most likely cause of a console overheating is if it isn't placed in a sensible area. Whilst we may have been able to place things on top of our PS2s, the PS3 and Xbox 360 are not so durable. Try keeping your console in open space to allow it to get some air. Also, if possible, make sure the console is placed on a hard surface, and not something like carpet, which will retain the heat, making it more likely that your console will overheat.
4. Keep it horizontal
When the PlayStation 3 was released many people expected that keeping the console in the vertical position would allow it to vent heat out like a chimney. However, an independent test confirmed that keeping it horizontal actually kept the PS3 cooler. Whilst this may not exactly be the case for the Xbox 360, I'd suggest you keep it horizontal because it is a little less stable in the vertical position. So, it's easy to knock it over, and if you knock it over, it'll also leave a nasty scratch all around the disc.
3. Clean it out regularly
This is possibly one of the biggest reasons why consoles overheat; people do not take good care of their consoles. Make sure you vacuum the vents (compressed air tends to work better but can damage the PCB if not used correctly) of your console frequently, and if necessary cover them with a dust cover or cloth overnight. Before you do this though, make sure the console has cooled down a little. If you are out of warranty, you can also try and open up your console and clean it out. Trust me, however clean the console looks from the outside; there WILL be a thick layer of dust around the most crucial areas on the inside.