It would appear that Xbox #3 is heading for the great scrap heap in the sky.
This past weekend, I decided to play some Project Sylpheed. I was playing fine for quite some time. I started one mission, got about 15/100 of a second into it (I only know this because there's a mission timer), and the game froze. I rebooted, started the game back up, launched the same mission, got just over one second into it, and froze again. I rebooted, started the same mission a third time, and played through without incident. I noticed that the 360 was cool to the touch, so I didn't directly suspect overheating, although I had been playing a while (it was Labor Day, I played a lot).
Tonight, I watched a couple streaming video features from the Marketplace, and then I played through the arcade releases. When I got to Pirates vs. Ninjas Dodgeball, I played through the tutorial fine. When I started a match, though, as the CPU threw the first ball, it froze. I rebooted, started it again, got to the exact same point, and it froze again. I hoped for some buggy code, and then I went into Halo.
I started off with a game of Swat, which was unremarkable except for this annoying habit of Swat where it seems to let me kill people with one shot at the beginning of the game, and then suddenly lets people take five or six full bursts without dying. (I've watched the saved films from some of these games; I'm definitely hitting, they're just not dying.) After that, I accepted an invite and joined a game of Assault on Standoff with 7 other Geezers against another team of 8.
It was a grueling battle. The bomb went back and forth, bodies went flying everywhere. We even managed to plant the bomb a couple times, only to have it disarmed quickly as they attempted to do the same.
The announcer said "Five minutes to go." I had the bomb and was within the glowing safety dome of a bubble shield, when a tango decided to invade my personal bubble. I clicked the stick to swing the bomb. I heard a crunch and an "Oof!"... and the screen went black. I waited a few seconds for some feedback — the scoreboard, a respawn timer beep, anything — but nothing came. It was frozen solid.
The next several minutes were spent removing and reattaching peripherals to the 360 and rebooting, trying to see if it would boot up. Sometimes it would freeze before the boot animation would finish. Sometimes, it wouldn't freeze until the first popup clicked on. Once, I managed to boot up to the Halo title screen before it froze.
Not once did I get any error code, except for the four red lights when I powered the console with the A/V cable unplugged.
The only remarkable thing is that Project Sylpheed happened to be the game I was playing when my last 360's video processor went on the fritz. Very suddenly, the screen had a red tint, and the framerate dropped dramatically. I exited to the dashboard and everything looked fine, even booted up Shadowrun and played fine, although it was spotted, almost like I was looking through a screen door. But when I powered off and back on, one red light and "E 74" on the screen.
I don't think the game is to blame, though. Both last time and even now, I can recall random lockups happening leading up to the error. They were just sporadic, not happening every day.
Of course, the console is well beyond its one-year warranty.
It is, I believe, also beyond the Best Buy replacement plan (although I might be able to check on that).* And since it refuses to give me any error lights at all, it is of course excluded from the three-year coverage on the Red Ring of Death.
And this is just as my copy of Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise is being shipped, with a Fable 2 and a Banjo Kazooie preorder on the way later this fall...
*Update: Turns out, Xbox #1 died in November of 2006, which I replaced with a Best Buy replacement plan. Since I had to purchase a new plan at the time, my current plan expires in November of this year. Looks like I might be getting my hands on a new 60GB Pro system soon...