Late last year, Sony Interactive Entertainment released the latest iteration of the videogame console line that solidified their position as a pillar of the gaming industry: the PlayStation 5. It seemed the company managed to put in all tech advances they felt the new console needed right when it came out, including shipping a basic model with optical disc drive and a cheaper Digital Edition variant. Aesthetically speaking the PS5 has an artistic bent in it shape, revealed to contribute somehow to its heat dispersal. That turns out to be relevant to the slight hardware upgrade that went into the release of a new PlayStation 5 that weighs slightly less.
According to Engadget, there is indeed a hardware-related reason for why the Sony PlayStation 5 consoles that have arrived in Japan, Australia and some US States since early August felt just a bit lighter when carried. At first, the design alteration seemed to be only some improved screws for the base stand accessory that can be inserted without using a screwdriver. But YouTube creator Austin Evans felt there was more to that. So he took apart a new-model PS5 Digital Edition unit to see what was up, and he found a changed internal heat sink.
Overheating has long been the bane of videogame systems, one that has only become high-priority as consoles become more powerful. The PS5 heat sink cools the system’s interior in conjunction with the console’s outer casing, which has a shape functionally similar to a vapor chamber. The original heat sink took a significant share of internal space in the PlayStation 5, while the replacement component in Evans’ torn-down new model was visibly smaller. All told, the new heat sink reduced the console’s overall weight by 300 grams, and is probably cheaper for Sony’s cost-cutting manufacturing purposes.
Having a lighter PS5 is all well and good, but as a savvy person can tell, there is a catch. The smaller heat sink means it is not quite as strong in cooling power. A comparison sees the new-model console’s running temperature to be around 3-5 degrees Celsius hotter than an original-run unit with the old heat sink. The difference is not that game-breaking, so to speak, but new-PS5 buyers better consider where they put their unit, or weigh the merits of upgrading the SSD. Then again, this was only the Digital Edition that Austin Evans examined. Whether the same holds for the PS5 optical-drive variant remains to be seen.
Cutting costs with making the PlayStation 5 seems just right for Sony’s strategy. They originally sold optical-drive PS5 models at a loss since the November 12, 2020 release date then announced this early August that they have stopped doing so. This coincides with the introduction of the lighter, hardware-revised versions.
Images: Forbes and The Verge