I was wondering if there was any empirical evidence that placing the xbox horizontally/vertically facilitates better dissipation of heat w.r.t the other orientation? What is the best strategy (apart from not using it heavily or using external cooling) to ensure the console does not overheat

  • Got a thermometer? You can get your "empirical evidence" pretty easily for yourself... :) W.r.t. managing temperature, the factors to control for are the amount of "exposed" surface area, the temperature of the ambient air and the amount of air you can have moving around it per unit time. You can totally ignore the unit analysis and just use common sense to maximize the cooling effect. For instance, if you lay it horizontally and use small stands at each corner to raise it about 1 or 2 inches, that might give you all the benefits of vertical (surface area) + horizontal (reduced scratches)!
    – weiji
    Jul 27, 2010 at 9:03
  • @Erick: You have to troll in both answers and comments?
    – Beska
    Nov 14, 2011 at 19:32

4 Answers 4


The vents on the Xbox 360 are on the sides, when it is sitting horizontally. You'll get the best airflow if you have it sitting horizontally. That being said, the heat is largely generated on the bottom of the machine, when it is horizontal. For best heat dissipation, you'll want to have it sitting horizontally, with it propped up slightly so the bottom can breathe.

Another side effect of standing it vertically is that it has a greater chance of scratching disks. You'll mitigate that by having it sit horizontally.

  • Its worth noting that the new Xbox have a more angled shape on the bottom for better air flow.
    – tzenes
    Jul 27, 2010 at 3:58
  • 3
    +1 for vertical = scratched discs. I nailed my copy of MW2 and it still didn't work after having it skimmed a couple of times. It does work when the game is installed on the hard drive though...
    – ck01
    Aug 3, 2010 at 18:54

A system that I use is to leave it horizontal, but raised up on four small feet (anything small that you can place under the four corners will work.)

No side is butted up against a surface this way, and air can cool all sides.


I can't add comments yet so I am going with an answer. I think Michael Herold meant to say It is best to have it sit horizontally with it propped up so the bottom can breath. I also recommend this setup. Also if you have a TV stand with shelves I would recommend not putting it on a shelf as the pocket of the shelf also accumulates heat. Set it on top of the TV stand or on a table/stand beside the TV stand so it is in an open area.


I don't think the orientation is as important as how much it can 'breath'. Make sure that heat can plume up and away and a cold draft be drawn in. Dont put it in a container with just a cable hole in the back. Ideal is an upper opening and a lower opening so that the heat generation can create a natural convection current.

  • If it mattered, side/flat, Microsoft would note this everywhere
    – ccook
    Jul 30, 2010 at 11:40

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