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In context: One of the more surprising things discovered during Sony's PlayStation 5 teardown video shown earlier this month was the console's massive heat sink and fan. The intake fan itself is 120mm wide and 45mm thick.
Aside from its titanic size, the cooling system in the PS5 will have software controlling it that Sony says will improve its performance over time based on data collected from individual games. Yasuhiro Ootori, PlayStation 5's chief architect, told Japanese website 4Gamer that the PS5's fan would be controlled by software monitoring the console's accelerated processing unit (APU).
The APU in Sony's next-gen console is the custom AMD CPU/GPU revealed back in March when the company unveiled the specs. Software will gather data from several temperature sensors placed throughout the PlayStation 5 and correlate it to how the APU is performing. The fan's speed can then be adjusted on a per-game basis.
Pro tip: If your PS4 sounds like a jet engine, try opening the case and blowing out the dust. Both my PS4 and PS4 Pro run near silent after a thorough dusting.
"Various games will be released in the future, and data on the APU's behavior in each game will be collected," said Ootori-san. "We have a plan to optimize the fan control based on this data." [translation via ResetEra]
The design chief also revealed that his team tested and optimized the cooling system by running it in a PS5 with a transparent case. The team used dry-ice vapor to observe airflow and to see the effects on internal temperatures.
Some users have voiced concerns about the fan's size, noting that the PS4 sometimes sounds like a jet engine taking off and that the PS5 might even be worse. Ootori-san notes that because of the fan's enormous size, it will generally run at slower speeds than the PS4 fan, thus producing less noise. Additionally, this smart-fan will theoretically operate at optimized speeds based on the game currently running. For less demanding titles, the tech should reduce fan noise significantly.
Image credit: Aldeca Productions