After Microsoft showed what the inside of the upcoming Xbox looks like, Sony has followed suit. Actually, there are no more secrets when it comes to the innards of the PS5 – but the company is still good for a surprise.
So-called “teardowns”, i.e. the targeted dismantling of devices, is popular in the tech community. Like no other method, it can be used to find out what is actually in a device. There are also references to the decision-making process and the design philosophy – and the PlayStation 5 is full of them.
The full video on how to dismantle the PlayStation 5 is a good seven minutes long. All those who want to check it out can find it here:
Disassembly reveals Sony’s attention to detail
Responsible for the disassembly in the video is , Vice President of Hardware Design at Sony. Right at the beginning of the approximately seven-minute video, you notice how big the console is compared to the previous PS4 – but also to the upcoming Xbox.
Ootiro begins the dismantling with a very typical Japanese detail: the storage compartment for the screw in the base of the console. If you set up the PS5 horizontally, you have to unscrew the stand and can store the screw in the compartment. With a twist of the foot, the screw disappears under a cover. In the compartment there is even a small rubber plug that closes the lock, in which the screw is otherwise located.
PS5 owners can work on the console themselves …
Users can remove the side panels themselves. To do this, it is enough to lift the upper edge and slide the panel to the side. Below that, on both sides of the now open console, you can see the huge air inlets for the single, large fan. Sony also shows two dust channels in which sucked dirt is collected. PS5 owners can simply vacuum up the dirt that can impair the supply of fresh air with a vacuum cleaner.
PS5 owners can also expand the memory of their console themselves. This was already possible with the PS4, but modern technology is used in the new console. Under a small cover secured with a screw, there is a slot for an SSD hard disk in M.2 format, which has been used in laptops and desktop PCs for some time. The slot in the PS5 uses the super-fast PCI Express standard version 4.0 as an interface. This means that an M.2 SSD in the console can achieve significantly higher transfer speeds than conventional 2.5-inch SSDs.
… but only in a limited form
However, that is where the consumer-accessible part of the PlayStation 5 ends. Sony specifically points out at the beginning of the video that users will void the manufacturer’s warranty if they take their console apart. (Note: The two-year warranty required in the EU remains unaffected. However, users must be able to prove that any damage was not caused by their intervention. Only the additional warranty, which Sony grants, expires when the console is disassembled.) Also warns Sony from injury by laser (only in the PS5 version with optical drive), electric shocks or other.
Huge fan and first look at the board
Next, Ootori removes the 120 millimeter fan, which, with a thickness of 45 millimeters, is twice as wide as a conventional CPU fan in desktop PCs. A separating plate in the middle allows the fan to suck in air from both sides of the case and discharge warm air through a duct on the back of the console.
After removing a large plastic cover, the Blu-ray drive follows, which comes out of the console as a single unit. Also under the cover are the fine antenna cables that are connected to the modem that is responsible for Wifi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1.
This is followed by a large layer of metal, the so-called heat shield. The layer makes contact with the components on the mainboard and uses its large surface to radiate heat more effectively. The video clearly shows the contact points where the shield touches the various chips and capacitors. The spots can be seen from the remains of thermal paste.
AMD chip with a sophisticated cooling system
After Ootori has turned the mainboard over in the video, we see the real heart of the console: the CPU / GPU combination from AMD. As TECHBOOK already reported , the CPU (the “processor”) consists of 8 cores (16 threads), which are based on AMD’s Zen-2 architecture. The cores reach a clock frequency of up to 3.5 gigahertz (GHz).
The Radeon GPU (the “Graphics Card”) is based on AMD’s new RDNA-2 architecture. It has a clock frequency of up to 2.23 GHz and a theoretical computing power of 10.3 TFLOPs (10.3 trillion floating point operations per second). For comparison: this corresponds to around 7 percent more performance than the Nvidia Geforce RTX 2080 Super for laptops – the most powerful laptop GPU on the market to date. The first AMD graphics cards with the RDNA-2 architecture are due to hit the market at the end of October, so Sony will not be the first manufacturer to shine with them.
Elaborate cooling system
The direct integration of CPU and GPU on one chip requires a sophisticated cooling system in order to contain the development of heat. Sony therefore uses an extremely efficient heat conductor that transfers the waste heat from the chip to the cooling block. We are talking about “liquid metal”, which has a very high thermal conductivity.
Some PC enthusiasts use liquid metal in high-end computers instead of traditional thermal paste. However, the use of liquid metal harbors great dangers because, unlike most thermal pastes, it conducts electrical current. If it comes into contact with open contacts – of which there are a large number on each board – it creates a short circuit. Extreme caution is therefore required when applying. Sony is aware of this and has therefore placed two seals around the contact surface to prevent the metal from overflowing. This is an impressive feat of engineering and, in our opinion, the first time that a mass-produced consumer device has made use of this high-end component.
No less impressive is the huge cooling block (“heat sink”), which radiates the collected heat so that the fan can dissipate it. The cooling block uses conventional “heat pipes” – small copper tubes filled with liquid that can very effectively conduct heat from one end to the other. Microsoft has already shown us the cooling block of the new Xbox, which uses a new type of “vapor chamber”. This is based on the same principle as heat pipes, but is much more effective in the same space. But due to the sheer size and arrangement of the heat pipes, the cooling block of the PS5 should achieve the same cooling performance as a vapor chamber according to Sony.
Massive and fast storage
The system has 16 gigabytes (GB) of GDDR6 main memory available, which achieves a bandwidth of 448 GB per second. The GPU can use 8 GB of this as video memory (VRAM).
The console’s 825 GB SSD mass storage device is firmly soldered to the motherboard. With an adapted SSD controller, the memory achieves a data transfer rate of up to 5.5 GB per second, according to Sony. That makes even fast M.2 SSDs look old! Games should load many times faster than gamers are used to from the PS4.
Finally, there is the built-in power supply, which has an output of 350 watts. This means that the PS5 consumes significantly less power than modern high-end gaming PCs, where around 600-700 watts are now standard.