So yesterday I got a phone call from my brother (He's an amazingly brilliant grad-student with a masters in electrical engineering.) about some very sad news. It turns out that his Wii has recently overheated and the graphics chip in it is fried. My brother, being the brilliant person he is, decided to do a whole lot of research on this issue. He then sent out an e-mail to all the people he knows who have Wii's with the proper information. Read his e-mail (edited to keep any personal information out) below.
"Fellow Wii owners and those who often play Wii and/or are possibly interested in buying a Wii:
As some of you already know, I am sending my Wii into Nintendo for Warranty repair. It overheated and fried the GPU (Graphics Processing Unit, which is an integrated ATI Hollywood graphics chip). I have attached multiple links, including pictures and YouTube video of the exact problem. From what I can tell, most people are saying the root cause of overheating is having Wii Connect 24 turned on and leaving the Wii in standby mode all the time (which I have done pretty much since I bought my Wii in December �06. Luckily Nintendo is offering a 90 day warranty extension if you register your Wii on their website, otherwise, my Wii was already out of warranty. Some websites are also saying that there was a bad group of the Hollywood chips shipped out by ATI, so if this is true, it�s most likely your Wii will be just fine and mine happened to have a bad chip to start out with. Many people are recommending that you buy the 3rd party Wii Chiller. It�s a stand that has some extra cooling fans and stuff and plugs into one of the USB ports on the back. Anyway, just thought I�d fill you all in. I have noticed a problem for a long time now, but just procrastinated getting ahold of Nintendo. The plus side is that their customer service is amazing! Anyway, let me know if you have any questions.
Also, for those of you who have my Wii address, Nintendo may end up replacing my system all together. If this happens, then I�ll have to hook you up w/ my new Wii address. For now, don�t send me any Wii mail, cuz I won�t be getting it.
Please forward this on to any Wii owners or potential Wii buyers that you know"
I will save you some time by posting the links/videos in a more user friendly way than he chose to do. This YouTube video shows EXACTLY what my Wii was doing. Notice the vertical lines of pixel artifacts. The pixels appear �black� but they�re really multi-colored and show up in vertical lines that are junked out but don�t go the entire length of the screen. Another similar example
Here's a quote from the website
that has this picture on it.
"Nintendo called me back. They said it was a problem they are aware of. They think the video cards are overheating and getting damaged. The only problem is that my Wii has never been in an enclosed space. It was under my entertainment center on it's side for a while, but the back fan was unobstructed. Also, I've started hearing about more and more people having this problem. This could turn out to be a big expense for Nintendo as it is a major "fix." I live in Seattle so I'm going to just take my Wii and get it swapped out for a new one (they have a machine that transfers all the virtual content and other stuff).
Remember, your warranty is 90 days after the first year ends. . . if you start noticing this problem be sure to call BEFORE February 17 (or Feb 15 if you got it pre-release from friends at Nintendo).
Also, it appears that some people don't believe you are having a problem with your Wii when you only show virtual console games . . . for them"
This is a short article
that i highly recommend you read if this Wii issue concerns you in any way.
Here's a post specifically singling out the Wii version of Resident Evil 4
So has anyone else experienced any problems with this? It'd be interesting to know how many people are actually being affected by the Wii issue. I've had my Wii on since launch day and still haven't come across any of these issues. I think it is possible that ATI sent out a bad "batch" of graphics chips to Nintendo among the first weeks of the Wii's life. I also think that it is possible for Wii Connect 24 to permanentally damage the Wii. What do you think? Is there a deeper issue here?
-If you're curious-
Also, my brother said that Nintendo's tech support was extremely nice and it only took them about 30 seconds to answer the phone. He said that the whole process of shipping the Wii to Nintendo and having it replaced will only take about 15 days.