How would you best describe what a PlayStation 5 looks like? I personally would call it two whale fins arched in a painful rigor mortis attached to a car battery, making a pain to lay on its side even with the disk-like stand it comes with. As much as I would like to see a more compact PlayStation 5 shell than the current version, Sony seems to be looking more to the heart of the machine to try and cut down on the console’s overall heft.
Tech YouTuber Austin Evans has previously taken apart the 2021 release of the PS5 and found a much more streamlined heatsink. However, it seems the 2022 version is a much more radical change overall. Eagle-eyed Australian tech writers first noticed the CFI-1202 versions of the gaming console are lighter than the 2021 versions by around .4 pounds (.3kg). The latest versions are a little more than a whole pound lighter than the original CFI-1000 versions. Without hands on with the tech, there was no way to determine what Sony Interactive changed to make the console slightly less brick-like.
The answer is that Sony has redesigned whole aspects of the console’s internal hardware. The company has installed a new motherboard that’s 2 inches shorter than previous editions and added a completely redesigned heatsink.
From the get-go, there are variations to the inner black shell and fan compared to the older versions, but once inside it’s clear just how much has changed. The heat sink fins are completely redesigned, and Evans pointed out there’s a heat pipe running down the outer portion of the plate. While earlier versions of the PS5 had metal shielding running along the heatsink, the new version has gotten rid of that altogether.
“They’ve essentially redone the entire PS5 design,” Evans said in his video. He claimed that through testing, they saw the PS5 was using 20 to 30 watts less during stress versus previous editions, though they didn’t see any reduction in noise or heat output.
The changes become especially clear when looking at the designs side-by-side where Sony send to have been slimming down their bulky console, at least internally. Developers have axed the cutout around the fan system, which makes for a less lengthy design overall. The CMOS battery is now covered by the heatsink instead of sticking on the other end of the motherboard in previous versions, meaning it would be that much harder to replace if needed.
It also leaves quite a lot of space at the top end of the console around the fan, which does leave the door open for a slimmed down version of the console coming for the future.
And even though it seems like the PS5 has been trying to reduce excesses in design, those changes have not resulted in reduced prices. Sony revealed last month that practically all worldwide markets save the U.S. would be seeing price increases for both the digital and disk version of their premier console. In that case, Sony blamed inflation rates and “adverse currency trends.” Of course, Sony is suffering like many tech companies in a 2022 slump partially due to supply and chip shortages.
Executives for the Japanese tech giant have made major promises of blasting past these issues to ramp up production. These changes could also be a move toward making production cheaper overall. Sony announced this week that Masayasu Ito, the former exec who headed up designing the hardware architecture of the PS4 and PS5, was leaving the company. This latest change in the PlayStation 5’s internal architecture may be the last project the 26-year company veteran saw to release in his full executive role.