The first hardware revision of the PS5 looks like a step backwards

Soupreme

Posts: 36   +2
Staff
A hot potato: We recently reported about a new PS5 hardware revision and how units with a new model number popped up at Australian retailers about a week ago, as well as speculation over how the lighter weight was achieved. It seems now that "removing unnecessary materials" was right on the mark -- at least, if Sony counts a significant amount of the cooling assembly as unnecessary materials.

YouTuber Austin Evans was able to get one of the new CFI-11-series PlayStation units imported from Japan to compare it with a launch model (watch below), and while it sported a lighter weight and a new hand-adjustable stand screw as expected, a cursory test also found that temperatures at the rear exhaust were consistently 3 to 5°C hotter on the new model.

After opening up the console itself, the reasons were quickly made evident: besides the change in fan design, the fin stack was significantly smaller on the revised version and the heatsink seemed to have been switched from copper to aluminum.

Other components may have also been changed -- Evans noted a difference in Wi-Fi antenna setup, although the two models weren't tested on that front -- but the difference in cooling setup was substantial.

Sony recently shared that the standard edition of the PS5 had reached profitability, but it also stated that the all-digital edition (the model bought by Evans) was still being sold at a loss, and it looks like the company is looking to trim off any fat it can in order to lower production costs.

It's worth noting that the thermal testing conducted by Evans was fairly limited -- a thermal camera pointed at the exhaust doesn't compare to the more robust testing conducted by Gamers Nexus when they called out the launch PS5 for already having a weak cooling solution, and were able to identify its memory modules as an issue. Still, less fin surface area with a less conductive heatsink generally isn't a recipe for better thermals.

Either way, it feels a little mercenary for Sony to be skimping out on cooling like this; since the PS5's processor variably boosts depending on headroom (as opposed to the fixed-frequency Xbox Series consoles), it might end up simply throttling back performance in order to mitigate heat issues brought on from inferior cooling.

Permalink to story.

 

QuantumPhysics

Posts: 5,446   +6,236
I managed to get three PS5 units - two for my cousins, one for myself.

I never imagined the scalper insanity would last this long, but sure enough, the manufacturers haven't adapted and even the Halo consoles of XBOX will be scalped.

It occurred to me that most people's first PS5 will end up being the revision.
 

3volv3d

Posts: 415   +215
Oh Sony, I had a PS4 Pro and it was really loud, when are you going to learn?

Yeah but that just needed the thermal paste reapplied and possibly a better fan, though I think it was more about the paste. /s.
Fixed mine ty YouTube.


I agree though this is a stupid move. No one wants less cooling. All we want is less problems and more storage. I want 2tb minimum. Or no storage, and let me go buy the drive I want running my games, while receiving a nice discount of the initial box.

They could tube that heat sink. 2 holes each side leading out. Then a possibility to sell an after market external rad for water cooling.
 

Nobina

Posts: 3,410   +3,521
Guess people will have to figure out how to improve PS5 cooling by themselves. I find simple modding like this fun, though what Sony has done is stupid and people shouldn't expect to figure out cooling on their own.
 

Tom Yum

Posts: 132   +297
Either way, it feels a little mercenary for Sony to be skimping out on cooling like this; since the PS5's processor variably boosts depending on headroom

My understanding is that this is incorrect. The PS5 processor varies based on power draw in order to maintain a consistent TDP, it does not vary by temperature (unless to protect itself from overheating). If there is no evidence of thermal throttling then performance shouldn't be affected by the change in cooling.
 

Adi6293

Posts: 931   +1,308
Yeah but that just needed the thermal paste reapplied and possibly a better fan, though I think it was more about the paste. /s.
Fixed mine ty YouTube.


I agree though this is a stupid move. No one wants less cooling. All we want is less problems and more storage. I want 2tb minimum. Or no storage, and let me go buy the drive I want running my games, while receiving a nice discount of the initial box.

They could tube that heat sink. 2 holes each side leading out. Then a possibility to sell an after market external rad for water cooling.

That console was loud straight out of the box, Sony just doesn't give 2 shits, I had the original Xbox
One, my wife had the S,I upgraded to the X and now the Series X, they were all really quiet, in fact Microsoft actively tries to make them quieter each time they bring one out while Sony is skimping on the cooling.....
 

Adi6293

Posts: 931   +1,308
I managed to get three PS5 units - two for my cousins, one for myself.

I never imagined the scalper insanity would last this long, but sure enough, the manufacturers haven't adapted and even the Halo consoles of XBOX will be scalped.

It occurred to me that most people's first PS5 will end up being the revision.

I don't understand what you getting 3 PS 5's have to do with Sony changing the cooler?
 

3volv3d

Posts: 415   +215
That console was loud straight out of the box, Sony just doesn't give 2 shits, I had the original Xbox
One, my wife had the S,I upgraded to the X and now the Series X, they were all really quiet, in fact Microsoft actively tries to make them quieter each time they bring one out while Sony is skimping on the cooling.....

Yeah I agree, Sony aren't good at anything. And the console is their best and butter. I don't rate their other products, they aren't a brand I'd ever chose.
But I'd always get a PlayStation over an Xbox because I've never thought the Xbox controller was as good as the PS for GTA and the games were usually better. I had an original Xbox, loved halo, NHL hits, great for hanging with mates, but the 360, I turned it on, but like 30 hours actual play time.
Unfortunately neither side give 100%. And both the ps3 and 360 had the rings of death BS. Both failed that season.
 

Vulcanproject

Posts: 1,435   +2,567
Oh Sony, I had a PS4 Pro and it was really loud, when are you going to learn?

When mine was out of warranty I repasted it and put on quality thermal pads. The stock thermal pads were much smaller than the actual size of the chips. Was an awful lot better afterwards. Easy to do, but I wouldn't do it until the warranty had expired.

As for the PS5 it's a predictable measure to try and find ways to reduce manufacturing costs as soon as possible. I wouldn't expect truly significant revisions until they update the SoC. I have read a few times they will port to 6nm TSMC as soon as early next year. It's a little less involved than a full shrink onto a new node like 5nm.

I am not sure they will revise the form factor with that port. They went through a few die shrinks on PS3 before they slimmed the machine down. With PS4 they waited three years and a major shrink to introduce the slim. I don't think we will see a slim until they got onto 5nm and the TDP of the machine closer to 100 watts. Mid 2023 at the earliest my guess.
 

kiwigraeme

Posts: 650   +498
If the exhaust is 3-5°C hotter on the new model then is it not throwing more heat out?

actually not so simple - you are implying the older machine is failing to get it out- and it's stuck in there .

It's an interesting thought process - both machines should produce the same heat - but are the chips the same , the PSU etc , the software controller is modified to new hardware- are their less vents . what is the volume of air being moved etc etc

No need sustained testing
 

Adi6293

Posts: 931   +1,308
Yeah I agree, Sony aren't good at anything. And the console is their best and butter. I don't rate their other products, they aren't a brand I'd ever chose.
But I'd always get a PlayStation over an Xbox because I've never thought the Xbox controller was as good as the PS for GTA and the games were usually better. I had an original Xbox, loved halo, NHL hits, great for hanging with mates, but the 360, I turned it on, but like 30 hours actual play time.
Unfortunately neither side give 100%. And both the ps3 and 360 had the rings of death BS. Both failed that season.

I did prefer the PS3 over the X360 but in the last gen Microsoft's controller was just so much better, I didn't try the new design from Sony so for now I will say that for there isn't a better controller to play on than the ones from an Xbox
 

longjohn119

Posts: 7   +9
My understanding is that this is incorrect. The PS5 processor varies based on power draw in order to maintain a consistent TDP, it does not vary by temperature (unless to protect itself from overheating). If there is no evidence of thermal throttling then performance shouldn't be affected by the change in cooling.

Power draw, voltage and temperature are related, to boost a clock you also have to boost the voltages and it's not linear ..... A 10% boost in clock speed can easily equal a 30% increase in current draw and temperatures .... Anyone that has overclocked a PC GPU (or CPU) can tell you how it works
 

Mr Majestyk

Posts: 928   +821
Scratch PS5 from buy list. What a totally d!ck move and becoming the norm in the tech industry. Cost cutting but just for the manufacturer, not the consumer.
 

Watzupken

Posts: 378   +351
If there is a revision of the SOC where it got a node upgrade, I.e. to 6nm, then may be the cut back in cooling makes sense. In this case, I think the lost of a significant % of surface area for cooling is likely to impact performance to some extend. From the looks of it, we did not just lose 10 to 20% surface, but I think likely around 30 to 40% surface with the heatsink shrink just by visual assessment. So they use liquid metal to quickly transfer heat away from the SOC, but end up with a bottleneck with the heatsink. So to not make a loss, they are cutting corners to get there.
 

Tams80

Posts: 82   +54
I'm glad the all digital version isn't working out so well for Sony.

We aren't yet in a world ready for such gaming devices.
 

Tom Yum

Posts: 132   +297
Power draw, voltage and temperature are related, to boost a clock you also have to boost the voltages and it's not linear ..... A 10% boost in clock speed can easily equal a 30% increase in current draw and temperatures .... Anyone that has overclocked a PC GPU (or CPU) can tell you how it works
As someone who has been overclocking since the 386 I get that...but the point is the PS5 SoC doesn't 'boost' in the traditional sense, it adjusts clocks to keep a set power draw, not temperature. A lower temperature may reduce leakage current slightly, but to a negligible amount into the context of a SoC at full power draw.

Our experiences with PC overclocking isn't relevant, because we aren't trying to maintain a set power draw like the PS5, but rather maximise clocks within a thermal limit set by our cooling (and if that doesn't hold us back, the limits of the silicon). Modern boost behaviour models what traditional overclocking aims to achieve, which is why Zen3 PBO for example rewards good cooling. But again, that isn't relevant for the PS5, because that isn't how its power management and clock behaviour works.
 

longjohn119

Posts: 7   +9
As someone who has been overclocking since the 386 I get that...but the point is the PS5 SoC doesn't 'boost' in the traditional sense, it adjusts clocks to keep a set power draw, not temperature. A lower temperature may reduce leakage current slightly, but to a negligible amount into the context of a SoC at full power draw.

Our experiences with PC overclocking isn't relevant, because we aren't trying to maintain a set power draw like the PS5, but rather maximise clocks within a thermal limit set by our cooling (and if that doesn't hold us back, the limits of the silicon). Modern boost behaviour models what traditional overclocking aims to achieve, which is why Zen3 PBO for example rewards good cooling. But again, that isn't relevant for the PS5, because that isn't how its power management and clock behaviour works.
Again Power, voltage and temperature are interrelated and you cannot affect one without affect the others ..... If you allow the power draw to be the same while putting a smaller less efficient cooling solution on it the temps are going to skyrocket ..... I guarantee they also use thermal throttling, if not these things aren't going to last very long (Plus thermal throttling is built into the Zen 2 architecture)

I base that on 27 years experience as an electronics engineer and 35 years experience on the x86 platform which is what a PS5 is now
 

envirovore

Posts: 328   +648
TechSpot Elite
Yeah, I'll wait until an actual review is done with proper thermal coupling in a controlled ambient environment over some dude pointing a thermometer at it and calling it a day.

If only for science, don't have plans on buying one, but hardware is interesting none the less.