PlayStation 5 memory gets toasty under load, early testing finds

Shawn Knight

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Staff member
A hot potato: Sony’s PlayStation 5 is one of the hottest gifts this holiday season, and not necessarily in terms of popularity. Gamers Nexus recently took an in-depth look at Sony’s next-gen console and uncovered a particularly concerning hot spot. How will this play out in the long term?

The team first tested the PS5 in its stock configuration – that is, with both side panels in place. Temperatures across most components were well within reason given the ambient room temperature but the bottom memory module measured around 94 C (201.2 F).

“In a hotter ambient environment, this could have memory running right up against its thermal limits with potential long-term downsides or even short-term memory abnormalities,” the publication said.

With the right side panel removed (exposing the intake blower fan), the bottom memory module ran a tiny bit cooler at 93 C (199.4 F). With both panels removed, the memory fell to 88-89 C (190.4-192.2 F).

The issue, it seems, is that the memory in question “barely has a heatsink at all” while the other components make direct contact with the main heatsink / heatpipe assembly.

Keep in mind that this is an early look at a brand new platform from a single publication. It does, however, bring up some potentially serious concerns. How will the PS5 respond in warmer ambient environments? What happens if you stuff the console in an enclosed television stand? How will adding additional storage via the expansion slot impact temperatures?

For reference, Micron rates its GDDR6 at an operating temperature up to 95 C (203 F). Samsung and SK Hynix also make GDDR6 although I was unable to find operating temperatures for either.

Sony’s PlayStation 5 launched in several major markets including North America on November 12, 2020. The digital version retails for $399 while the model with a Blu-ray disc player commands $499.

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I guess the benefit to all the people who won't be able to get PS5 or Xbox initially this year is that when they finally can get them, they'll actually be designed properly.
It is also likely that the fans on the PS5 will increase their RPM if they detect a higher temperature, negating this entire issue. It will be interesting to see the long term effects.
 

nnguy2

Posts: 230   +447
It is also likely that the fans on the PS5 will increase their RPM if they detect a higher temperature, negating this entire issue. It will be interesting to see the long term effects.
Even at 100% fan, IF the ps5 is in an enclosed environment then all you're doing is recirculating hot air which leads to throttling or shutdown due to thermal limits.
 
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redhat

Posts: 132   +138
Thanks for @JohnSmithESP as I missed between VRM and VRAM temperature,
I searched for Vram benchmarks but couldn't find one. hope somebody can find us a list of some GPU vram temperature.
@Maxiking not need to be rude if somebody did not notice A between VRM and VRAM
 
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Vulcanproject

Posts: 1,295   +2,211
Just needs to have a little more contact with the pressed metal heatsink. It looks like it uses paste for the memory which has a high heat conductivity, but it only contacts the memory chips in a centre circular area where more of the chip needs to contact the metal.

Might benefit from a set of high end thermal pads. The thermal paste is amazing if you have full contact but if you don't a quality pad that covers the chip's full surface area might be better.
 
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bviktor

Posts: 315   +572
I rest my case. Sony just can't build machines. Even after all the deniers attacking me in the previous article, the numbers just don't lie. Even with big @ss fans they're way too hot *and* loud. I mean at least have one or the other, but not both.
 

Maxiking

Posts: 139   +156
I dont think it is too high relative to other GPUs of course. On Toms hardware there is Round up GPUs for rx480 and gtx 1060 and the Vram results are similar.



Maybe learn to read, VRM and VRAM are two different things.
 

JohnSmithESP

Posts: 25   +13
I dont think it is too high relative to other GPUs of course. On Toms hardware there is Round up GPUs for rx480 and gtx 1060 and the Vram results are similar.



I see your mistake, VRM is no VRAM, it looks prettty similar now I read it
VRM stands for Voltage Regulator Module, and are related to power delivery
While VRAM stands for Video Random Access Memory, aka, grpahics memory
 
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OortCloud

Posts: 501   +334
Surely given the lessons of the past this generation of consoles were tested to destruction before they shipped out millions of them?????

Slightly (completely!) off topic... anybody else getting weird issues with the back navigation in TechSpot? Backing out from any article to the main page causes it to render incorrectly for me.
 

KaitouX

Posts: 9   +6
It is also likely that the fans on the PS5 will increase their RPM if they detect a higher temperature, negating this entire issue. It will be interesting to see the long term effects.
I doubt they use the VRAM temperature to control the fan speed, the APU will be okay even if it's hot as the fan should ramp up to avoid it passing the temperature limit like you said, but the memory will likely cause issues, as some people are already claiming to have artifacting issues which could very well be due to the memory overheating while using the console in less ideal conditions.
 

Plutoisaplanet

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Puiu

Posts: 4,232   +2,984
TechSpot Elite
I rest my case. Sony just can't build machines. Even after all the deniers attacking me in the previous article, the numbers just don't lie. Even with big @ss fans they're way too hot *and* loud. I mean at least have one or the other, but not both.
So you are saying this while having done tests yourself? Or are you just saying it based on this being the first "bad" thing you've managed to cling to? You should know by now that the PS5 isn't loud and that this is something all reviews of the console have pointed out.
 

Hardware Geek

Posts: 288   +272
Every console that has been produced has had issues of one kind or another. That's the reason they have revisions that come out subsequent to the launch. It won't be too long before we have other publications tearing apart consoles and finding internal changes to the design. Eventually, If sales are sustainable, they will come out with a pro and/or slim version. That's a good thing. I'm waiting to see how quickly they make revisions to the design internally assuming an external modification isn't necessary. If it does need to change the design of the enclosure, we'll, good thing they seem to have had very limited supply at launch.
 
It is also likely that the fans on the PS5 will increase their RPM if they detect a higher temperature, negating this entire issue. It will be interesting to see the long term effects.
The tests detailed in this article were done while the PS5's cpu was under full load, and the fans were at the full speed they are programmed for. Thus, there is a serious problem for the PS5 in this instance.