Modders improve Sony's PS5 design by adding a water block and LED lighting

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 2,912   +762
Staff member
Cool (pun intended): The first thing that most people want to do after receiving their extremely hard-to-get PlayStation 5 is hook it up and try it out. Modding Cafe had another idea for its unboxing. The Vietnamese modding team had a plan from the start to rig up the world's first water-cooled PS5.

Modding Cafe started its project by completely disassembling the PS5. Pretty much everything not soldered to the motherboard went in the trash bin. Then the team designed a custom Mini-ITX chassis and water block.

"It take a long time [sic]," the designers remarked about the CAD process.

Although Sony insisted that liquid metal was necessary to maximize heat transfer in the PS5's design, Modding Cafe ditched the liquid metal (staining its workbench in the process) and used standard PC thermal paste. The overall final chassis ended up being significantly smaller than the stock PS5 since they were able to trade-in that huge 120x45mm fan and gigantic heatsinks for two lower profile fans.

Adding some wickedly altered faceplates and some LED accents gave the final design a look wildly different from Sony's concept. Best of all, the water cooling not only worked but also ran quieter for obvious reasons.

If you have some skills, Modding Cafe's start-to-finish video (above) can get you started on creating your own water-cooled design. The rest of us, will have to wait until the team releases the commercial kit it has in the works.

Permalink to story.

 

Lionvibez

Posts: 2,260   +1,751
Interesting mod but does the ps5 run that hot that it needs water cooling.

There is no mention of maintenance which is always required when water cooling, which has a technical learning curve. Cool product for techie's for the average console player I think it will be difficult to keep one's head above water :)
 

Nobina

Posts: 2,990   +2,778
I guess PS5 being hideous has its benefits. It got attention of the modding community.
 

Burty117

Posts: 4,066   +2,059
There is no mention of maintenance which is always required when water cooling
I mean, if you've gone to the effort of putting this all together, replacing the water every few years isn't a massive maintenance cost.

Gotta say, I usually pull my consoles apart and do stuff with them to make them faster, cooler and usually live longer, but I've never gone to this extreme, kinda want to try it out, if I had the money to throw away in-case I ruined a perfectly good PS5.
 

Hardware Geek

Posts: 338   +354
I mean, if you've gone to the effort of putting this all together, replacing the water every few years isn't a massive maintenance cost.

Gotta say, I usually pull my consoles apart and do stuff with them to make them faster, cooler and usually live longer, but I've never gone to this extreme, kinda want to try it out, if I had the money to throw away in-case I ruined a perfectly good PS5.
I've been getting into console mods and love these kinds of projects. My ps5 is definitely hotter than I'd like it to be and am very interested in the commercial unit when the release it.
 

QuantumPhysics

Posts: 4,726   +5,137
A Closed Loop water cooler with two 120mm multi-bladed fans would do a far better job cooling the PS5 and Xbox than anything else and it would be quiet.
 

sorten

Posts: 80   +119
TechSpot Elite
Interesting mod but does the ps5 run that hot that it needs water cooling.

There is no mention of maintenance which is always required when water cooling, which has a technical learning curve. Cool product for techie's for the average console player I think it will be difficult to keep one's head above water :)
Interesting. I was wondering the same thing. Admittedly I haven't read up on the PS5 for a few months, but early reports were that it was very quiet and ran cool.
 

Tom Yum

Posts: 86   +205
The PS5 is no masterpiece, but that is ugly and unnecessary. Unlike the jet engine PS4 Pro, the PS5 is really quiet in my experience, and unlike computers, it isn't designed to thermally throttle (it throttles to maintain constant power draw, not temperature, though I'm sure it has thermal protection). So cooling it further doesn't improve performance.
 

Daniele 00

Posts: 91   +77
Business wise, a reason why Sony did not implement water cooling is the maintenance of the console for the average user. Usual persons who buy consoles dont want to have any thinking or problem when playing. They just turn on their console and play. Its nothink like "pc enthusiasts". Its another realm.

About the object of this topic, I'm not surprice a modder wanted to try out something new.
 

Thretosix

Posts: 68   +82
With the variable frequencies that the PS5 has I would think extra cooling very well could have some benefit allowing it to run at higher frequencies pushing slightly higher resolutions in games that have variable resolutions, perhaps less dips in framerates as well not that there are many. I believe VRR isn't enabled yet, but there should be a benefit when it is. Worth the money, probably not. At some point just spend the money on a custom PC. I'd be tempted to buy a kit if they are available and aren't too expensive. Noise isn't an issue. Really cool mod, props to the modders.
 

Burty117

Posts: 4,066   +2,059
With the variable frequencies that the PS5 has I would think extra cooling very well could have some benefit allowing it to run at higher frequencies pushing slightly higher resolutions in games that have variable resolutions, perhaps less dips in framerates as well not that there are many.
I thought so as well but the PS5 doesn't really work like that, it's actually all based on the power limit, the console has a set amount of power it can use and it reduces GPU clock or CPU clock depending on which one is needed the most, Temperature doesn't actually factor into the clock speeds this generation.

The more I thought about it, the smarter I realize this way of thinking is, By limiting the power, you know exactly how much heat you'll have to deal with, and by dynamically moving the power between the CPU and GPU depending on load, developers could use the CPU to it's max and know the scene would need to use slightly less GPU, for example, they could put 100 AI bots running around, causing a lot of stress on the CPU, but if they lowered the resolution a bit or lowered the quality slightly to take the load off the GPU, that power can be put into the CPU to allow you to run your 100 AI while maintaining the framerate.

Don't get me wrong, I like these console mods and I absolutely would still do this, I just like the peace of mind that the components aren't near their temp limits or anything, but I don't think you'll get any performance advantage this generation unfortunately.
 

Hardware Geek

Posts: 338   +354
I've had mine since November and I cant say I have ever heard the fan.
You must have done better than I did in the silicon lottery. Mine definitely runs the fan after playing for a while. To be fair, I expected it to be louder, but it is definitely noticeable. What I have read about the memory running hot is mostly what concerns me.
 

Roboyt0

Posts: 6   +3
You must have done better than I did in the silicon lottery. Mine definitely runs the fan after playing for a while. To be fair, I expected it to be louder, but it is definitely noticeable. What I have read about the memory running hot is mostly what concerns me.

I believe maximum operating temperature for GDDR6 is 100C. Even with a modest heatsink, thermal materaial and marginal airflow, it isn't that difficult to keep temperatures safely under this value.

For example:

I removed reference cooler from my RX 5700 and installed an Arctic Accelero Extreme III. Normally you are supposed to use thermal adhesive included with the kit to attach heatsinks to the VRAM, but it can really be a PITA to remove. Instead I used some thermal tape from Junpus:

https://www.performance-pcs.com/tim...us-thermal-tape-t180-0-4mm-jp-t180-0-4-d.html

This tape has a relatively low thermal conductance of 1.8 w/m-K, especially when compared to other thermal pads that are available; and most likely in use in the PS5. With the fans set to a constant 50%, this was enough to keep VRAM temperatures at a max of the mid 70's. I found I had to set a constant fan profile in order to properly cool the VRAM since the Arctic Xtreme III is massive & does a phenomenal job of cooling the core with an undervolt. Problem was that the airflow when allowing the GPU to choose fan speed was insufficient to properly cool the VRAM because it adjusts fan speed according to core temps. Setting the flat fan speed really isn't a problem since the fans are still silent at that speed.
 

Hardware Geek

Posts: 338   +354
I believe maximum operating temperature for GDDR6 is 100C. Even with a modest heatsink, thermal materaial and marginal airflow, it isn't that difficult to keep temperatures safely under this value.

For example:

I removed reference cooler from my RX 5700 and installed an Arctic Accelero Extreme III. Normally you are supposed to use thermal adhesive included with the kit to attach heatsinks to the VRAM, but it can really be a PITA to remove. Instead I used some thermal tape from Junpus:

https://www.performance-pcs.com/tim...us-thermal-tape-t180-0-4mm-jp-t180-0-4-d.html

This tape has a relatively low thermal conductance of 1.8 w/m-K, especially when compared to other thermal pads that are available; and most likely in use in the PS5. With the fans set to a constant 50%, this was enough to keep VRAM temperatures at a max of the mid 70's. I found I had to set a constant fan profile in order to properly cool the VRAM since the Arctic Xtreme III is massive & does a phenomenal job of cooling the core with an undervolt. Problem was that the airflow when allowing the GPU to choose fan speed was insufficient to properly cool the VRAM because it adjusts fan speed according to core temps. Setting the flat fan speed really isn't a problem since the fans are still silent at that speed.
I don't know if Sony has put any type of heatsink on the memory in the more recently produced units, but I plan to keep it for the next couple of decades and would like to put it in a custom case in an attempt to prolong the longevity of my system.
 

Hardware Geek

Posts: 338   +354
Not a very attractive looking mod...
It would be better without the rounded edges on the front. I'm not in love with the current design but don't hate it either. I do like the idea of water cooling the APU and adding various heatsinks to the warmer spots. Along with increased airflow, I'd love to have customizable LEDs that I can turn off when desired.
It's not perfect but it bodes well for the future of custom cases and aside from a few ascetic issues that look mostly ornamental, it's a hell of an impressive effort.
 

NoLifeDGenerate

Posts: 22   +8
Interesting. I was wondering the same thing. Admittedly I haven't read up on the PS5 for a few months, but early reports were that it was very quiet and ran cool.

Nowhere near as quiet or cool as the Series X. Look around online. there was some testing that revealed the RAM in PS5 runs at like 95C, which is the maximum its rated for. I expect to hear about some melted PS5s come summer. Anyone without AC is likely to be in trouble.