PS5 Liquid Metal issues: TheCod3r addresses some questions in new video
I’ll be honest, I didn’t expect our reporting on what I thought was an interesting anecdote, to blow up to such insane proportions*. Wololo.net usually doesn’t get that kind of attention, even on topics that I think we truly have expertise in (PS5 Hacks or PS4 Jailbreak among others).
Important update from Wololo: in the original version of this series of articles, we misquoted TheCod3r as stating the problem could impact consoles that had never been unpacked. This isn’t what he said. What he said was that the console in question had never been opened (as in, with screwdrivers), he did not say, neither did he mean, “the box”, but literally, the console. This led to significant misunderstandings of the issue, by us, and the larger community. TheCod3r has a new video up on his channel where he addresses this. This was a significant misquote, and, although the damage is already done, we apologize for this.
Vertical PS5 of Doom
We’ve been called names for this week’s article on PS5’s liquid metal problems, but more than us, it’s the professionals who called out the issue that are getting in the spotlight, and under fire for the wrong reasons. Whether it’s PlayStation fanboys or people who believe an issue just doesn’t exist because it never happened to them, I’ve seen a good share of weird comments over the past two days. But attacking the integrity or the hands-on knowledge of repairmen, when you yourself have no practical experience on the issue, is a bit of a low blow in my opinion.
In this context, TheCod3r, a youtuber and console repair shop owner, who we heavily mentioned in the original article, has posted a lengthy reply in the form of a Youtube video, where he answers some of the questions and comments. Scene member Logic68 was also interviewed by French news site Jeux Vidéos Magazines, where he confirmed his opinion on the issue.
The videos are down below and I encourage you to watch it, but I’ll try to summarize what these folks have said:
PS5 Liquid Metal leak
Bottom line, they stick to their words that the issue is real, but how widespread it is is not something they can easily comment on. TheCod3r in particular said Sony should come forward to address the issue, and possibly put the concerns at ease.
He explains precisely what he thinks is the design “flaw” that allows the liquid metal to spill and possibly damage the motherboard. Basically, the PS5 has two mechanisms to prevent this liquid metal from spilling: some tape/protective cover to protect the components around the APU, as well as a piece of foam to prevent it from spilling to other parts of the motherboard.
Under what conditions this liquid metal spills is still a bit unclear, but it is the hands-down experience of these repair shops that it does spill, and that these two protection mechanisms are not working as efficiently as they should (if at all). And when it does spill, if your PS5 happens to be standing vertically, it can spill more and further on the motherboard (a simple result of gravity), adding to the risk (liquid metal is highly conductive and cause short circuits).
TheCod3r acknowledges that he cannot 100% certify that these consoles have been handled properly during shipment. (update: we initially misquoted TheCod3r here as saying this happened on in-box, unopened consoles)
As for how widespread it is, he mention he overall is dealing with a small volume of consoles, so that he cannot judge the actual share of impacted devices on a wide scale, but that he’s seen a proportionally important share in his own tests. In other words: it’s possible a small share of PS5s are impacted by the issue, but when a PS5 has a hardware problem, it is often related to the liquid metal issue. To the point, he adds, that it’s “pretty much becoming a first check if we get a no-power issue“.
Logic68 says in his interview:
I’m witnessing that liquid metal has killed a few PS5s, is causing issues for others, and will keep impacting more PS5s.
as soon as I open it [Note from wololo: a damaged console that came to his shop], I know if it’s been sitting vertically
Logic68’s interview at 05:42 in the video below.
Liquid Metal Damage on PS5 – A Fake issue?
In response to the people who deny the issue exists, TheCod3r basically calls out the survivor bias from commenters. And I agree. Let’s imagine for a minute that this is impacting 0.1% of PS5 owners (this is a completely hypothetical number, again nobody knows the actual extent of the issue). You have a 99.9% chance of having no problem with your PS5. but that still means there are 30’000+ consoles out there with the problem. Relatively speaking, a small number, but in absolute, that’s quite big.
Console manufacturing history is littered with design issues or “cost-cut” measures that caused damages to the consoles. It’s interesting that so many people find it hard to imagine it could happen to this generation of consoles. As to why this is only being reported now, there are multiple possibilities. First of all, some of these repair shops have been calling on the issue for months, so it’s not a “new” issue, it just happened to become viral this week.
Secondly, it’s very possible that the issue gets more widespread with time, as it’s possible the damage takes time to happen in the console. After all, lots of tech sites recommend changing liquid metal every two years or so. However, gamersnexus say: “You should be more concerned about how well the liquid metal is applied than about its aging”. But unfortunately that is not something the user controls on the PS5
As we’ve mentioned in the previous article, most people will never experience the issue. So generally speaking, if you have no choice, it’s probably ok to have your PS5 stand vertically. But if it’s an option for you, and as long as Sony doesn’t address the question, better have it horizontally if possible.
* By the way as you probably noticed, the site has been hard to access over the past few days. Trying to solve the situation but it probably won’t get much better until this whole viral thing calms down a bit