We finally know why the new PS5 model is lighter, and it’s not good news
Journalists and tinkerers have been able to get their hands on the “new” PS5 model which has been spotted recently in various retailers across the world, and which has been reported to be significantly lighter than the launch models.
What they found out is a bit concerning:
New PS5 Model lighter because of of smaller heat sink, concerns arise about overheating
Youtuber Austin Evans reports (video below) that the new PS5 model is 300g lighter because Sony has made the heat sink smaller. In his tests, the new PS5 is running significantly warmer (3°C or more) than the original model. This might not seem to be much, but as some testers mention, this could get much worse as heavier games demand more of the console in the future.
Additionally, as mentioned in Austin Evans’ video below, Sony have a history of their consoles overheating, so this move does not inspire confidence. It is clear that their engineering teams have concluded that a smaller heatsink will not dramatically impact performance or longevity of the console, and overall things should be “fine” with these new models. But it is unequivocally a “downgrade” of the PS5: you’re getting a lower quality product compared to the original models.
— Tom Warren (@tomwarren) August 29, 2021
Is the new PS5 overheating, or actually better at dissipating heat?
Now, it is worth mentioning that the way Austin is measuring the heat on the PS5 is not extremely rigorous. As some people mentioned, just because the outside of the console is warmer doesn’t mean there’s any issue. Actually, it could mean the opposite, that the new model is better at dissipating heat. More heat outside = less heat on the CPU? Austin Evans disagrees:
Couple people mentioning higher exhaust temps COULD mean the cooler is doing a better job dissipating heat. The thing is, Sony removed a SIZABLE amount of the heatsink on this new model. With fewer fins and smaller heatpipes it simply isn’t as efficient at moving the heat out of the console.
Think about it as if it were a PC. If I remove a large CPU heatsink in favor of a smaller one the exhaust coming off my system would be hotter as the overall system temps are higher since the weaker cooler can’t cope. That’s exactly what’s going on here IMO.
Is the new PS5 model a sign that a PS5 slim is coming?
According to The Verge, such minor modifications of the PS5 could mean Sony are hard at work looking for ways to reduce the size and weight of the PS5, the heaviest and bulkiest console in recent memory.
Sony uses this heatsink to cool the PS5, and the console has a heat pipe with a shape and airflow that’s designed to create the same level of performance as a vapor chamber. The heatsink, hard copper plate, and aluminum dissipation fins all take up a significant amount of space inside the PS5, and contribute greatly to its overall size. It’s interesting to see Sony reduce the size of this part, and I’m hoping this could be the first sign of the company working towards a smaller PS5 model.
With concerns around this new revision of the PS5, more and more people on social media are saying they would now rather wait for a “Slim” version of the PS5, rather than buying a “downgraded” version of the current PS5.
Why did Sony remove parts of the heatsink in the new PS5?
This new PS5 model has been seen in retailers in Australia, the UK, Japan, and the US. And there is no doubt that it will progressively replace the launch models in retailers as original inventory sells out worldwide. If you are concerned about getting one versus the other, this can be checked on the SKU number on the box. Older models got by CFI-10*, while newer “downgraded” models start with CFI-11*.
As to why Sony made that decision, it is pretty obvious. With copper price almost doubling in the past year, this was most likely a cost-cut decision, designed for Sony to not take a huge loss on their PS5 hardware. Sony recently announced they’re now making a profit on their PS5 hardware sale, and this manufacturing cost reduction will most likely help in this direction. Ironically, it seems that if you want to get the best bang for your bucks (or at least, give less of a margin to Sony), the digital edition of the PS5 is the way to go: they sell those at a loss.
That is, if you’re able to find a place that actually has PS5s to sell, of course.