KEY POINTS

  • To address overheating and similar issues, Sony will use player data to update the PS5
  • Sony Interactive Entertainment VP Yasuhiro Ootori discussed how liquid metal factored into this development
  • A balance between performance, safety and cost is what the Sony team sought to address

As a response to the criticism over the PlayStation 4 cooling system, Sony plans to update the cooling fan of the PlayStation 5 based on game-specific player data.

Early purchasers of the PlayStation 4 criticized Sony for how loud and hot the consoles would run when playing games that required more resources. Some units actually overheated. But Sony has made it a point to learn from those mistakes in its next-gen console.

In an interview with 4Gamer, Sony Interactive Entertainment vice-president of mechanical design Yasuhiro Ootori discussed several technical aspects of the PlayStation 5, including the giant fan inside its shell and the proprietary liquid metal cooling system.

"PS5 has three temperature sensors on the main board to control the fan speed based on the internal temperature of the APU [Accelerated Processing Unit] and the highest temperature of the three temperature sensors," Ootori revealed.

"Various games will be released in the future, and data on the APU's behavior in each game will be collected. We have a plan to optimize the fan control based on this data," he added.

He went on to reveal that their team spent more than two years working on getting PS5 to adopt liquid metal. He cited the cost as the main reason behind the team's insistence on using this material.

"I've always wanted to use liquid metal. However, since liquid metal is conductive, if it leaks to the substrate side, it will be short-circuited. Above all, it is highly corrosive to aluminum used for parts such as heat sinks," Ootori said. "In order to handle such materials, it is necessary to take measures for manufacturing equipment as well. We took more than two years to prepare well to solve these problems."

“As a general thermal design metaphor, let's say you spend 10 yen ($0.095) for a TIM [Thermal Interface Material] and 1,000 yen ($10) for a heat sink in the cooling structure of a certain system. If you change to a 100 yen ($1) TIM, you can get the same cooling effect with a 500 yen ($4) heat sink. In other words, you can reduce the total cost," he explained.

The difficult task of finding a balance between performance, safety and cost is something the PlayStation team has been attempting to accomplish since the issues that the PS4 faced. The result is that performance data on the games that cause heavy loads on PS5 will be sent to Sony, and the internal fan can be adjusted accordingly.

On the heels of last week’s news that the PlayStation 5 might listen in or record voice chats, this update regarding hardware addressing a long-standing issue in PlayStation history should come as a relief for prospective PS5 buyers.

PlayStation 5 console Sony released this picture on June 11 of its upcoming PlayStation 5 console, without revealing pricing or a launch date. Photo: Sony Interactive Entertainment Inc.