Custom watercooled PlayStation 5 is less than an inch thick

Shawn Knight

Posts: 14,343   +166
Staff member
In brief: Sony's PlayStation 5 is one of the largest consoles the company has ever produced. The Japanese gaming giant historically launches a slimmer revision a few years into a system's lifecycle but one modder didn't want to wait that long and took matters into his own hands.

Matt from DIY Perks recently dismantled the still-in-short-supply PS5 and set about shrinking its footprint. The standard PS5 measures 4.1 inches thick but Matt wants to get it down to less than one inch (0.79 inches, to be exact). Key to accomplishing that goal will be to totally revamp the cooling system and relocate the power supply.

Much of the PS5's girth is necessitated by heatsinks designed to keep the system's various components from overheating. Once these are stripped away, you'll find that the PS5's motherboard is actually quite thin. Of course, those components still need to be cooled else they'd go up in smoke within seconds of powering on the system.

For that, Matt turned to water cooling. But even off-the-shelf components won't cut it here as they require too much headroom for this particular application, so Matt had to fabricate a custom three-layer water block out of copper to keep everything cool.

His method may seem a bit crude and the final product – even after a quick polish – doesn't look as pristine as something you'd expect from a retail manufacturer, but the cooling loop is air / water tight and that's all that really matters. Spacers and thermal glue were positioned on the cooling plate to help remove heat from secondary chips that also get warm. The SoC got a new coat of liquid metal, and the original bracket was used to hold the plate in place.

A handful of other chips also received spacers to dissipate heat to a separate lid. The VRMs, however, needed beefier cooling, so Matt modified the PS5's original heatpipe to connect it to a secondary liquid channel he made into the copper sandwich water block.

Another hurdle Matt had to tackle was the power supply. Sony mounted the PSU inside of the PS5 but doing so here would more or less defeat the purpose of the project given its size. Matt instead went with an external power supply, which is where things became a bit less aesthetically pleasing.

Matt opted for a computer power supply and mounted it in a long, rectangular case that also accommodates the water cooling system's radiator and pump.

A custom cover was fabricated to match the rest of the aesthetic before it was all buttoned up and polished. After a bit of a scare, the system eventually fired up and was ready for thermal testing to see if it was at least as efficient as a stock PS5. But then, disaster struck.

Matt inadvertently blocked the intake on the radiator, which led to the system overheating and seemingly kicking the bucket. Fortunately, he had a spare PS5 on hand and was able to do a quick transplant of its internals to get back up and running. This time, he added thermal probes to easily check temperatures at key locations, and there were no issues.

Temperatures with the water cooled PS5 were far superior to a stock PS5, but that was to be expected. Best yet, the chassis measured in at just 1.9cm (0.75 inches) which is even thinner than anticipated.

Permalink to story.

 

Vulcanproject

Posts: 1,554   +2,843
The sandwich style copper heatsink was really interesting and the polished copper cover does look cool.

Of course one slight issue as mentioned is the massive three foot long case housing the water pump, radiator, cooling fans and power supply to make it work. Takes up way more space and volume than a regular PS5 or even ones I have seen modded with different water cooling. I get it's not the point of the project but it's amusing all the same.
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 2,223   +4,274
The gigantic power supply/cooler sorta defeats its purpose imo but neat video nonetheless.
My exact same thoughts specially how it bricked one PS5 board because of how unpractical it is. Like I'm not opposed to it being stationary and requiring installation but there's no good reason why he wouldn't just grab something like a sandwich ITX case or copy that design to just run a standard 280 rad along with a standard SFX PSU.
 

Goamist

Posts: 52   +90
The final product looks really nice. But seeing how the overheating killed the first iteration of this slim beauty, I have to wonder - why aren't these chips protected against it, via throttling? I mean we have this for CPUs and GPUs on our computers...
 

Q Wales

Posts: 48   +11
Excellent job. Sony should be employing you and paying you a large sum of money to head their design department.