PlayStation 5's rumored heat issues should be solved in final console

Sources say the PlayStation 5 runs hot, but Sony should compensate with a powerful cooling solution.

Published Thu, Apr 2 2020 3:27 PM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 11:44 AM CST

UPDATE: Jason Schreier, who has close ties with developers in the games industry, says the overheating rumors aren't true.

Why hasn't Sony showed the PlayStation 5 yet? Rumor has it the system runs so hot that Sony still hasn't locked down a final design for the console. This doesn't seem 100% accurate though, especially considering how important PlayStation is for the company.

PlayStation 5's rumored heat issues should be solved in final console 7 |

New reports suggest Sony is currently wrangling PS5 overheating issues. Supposed unnamed dev sources tell reporters like Windows Central's Dan Rubino and Jez Corden that the console is simply belting out too much heat for the cooling array to handle.

Everything from the 7nm AMD SoC to the ultra-fast 5.5GB/sec PCIe 4.0 SSD are apparently generating pretty substantial thermals, and Sony's solution may not be on par with the Xbox Series X's huge 130mm fan and vapor chamber cooler. The PS5's variable GPU scaling adds another potential layer of worry to the heat management issues, especially since the console will scale its GPU power on a game-by-game basis.

The heat problems may force Sony to redesign system's current cooling and chassis design. Reports say current PS5 design is failing due to overheating and compare it to the Xbox 360's dreaded RRoD thermal issues. Now we understand why the PS5 devkit has massive ventilation.

This is probably a dramatic overreaction, though. It may be true the PS5 gets hot, and some units might be failing, but we have absolutely no solid info on the system's design yet. Until we get it, this will be hearsay at best. Also remember that PlayStation represents over 20% of Sony's quarterly earnings. They have a lot riding on the PS5 and it's unlikely they'd ship a product that runs so hot.

Previous PS5 concepts show a strange X-shaped case with side ventilation, but this may be inadequate. It's possible Sony's next-gen console could look more like the Xbox Series X's Mini-ITX tower design that pulls heat from the bottom up.

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Read Also: Understanding the PS5's SSD: A deep dive into next-gen storage tech

With great power comes the need for great thermal dissipation and cooling solutions. Any enthusiast PC gamer knows all about proper push-pull configurations, CPU cooling, heat sinks--the works. Without proper cooling, your components aren't going to last long belting out 4K resolution gaming, especially 1080p 120FPS with ray tracing and other effects turned on.

In the past, Sony has gotten away with passable cooling solutions for its consoles--the PS4 Pro still sounds like a jet engine--but the PlayStation 5 will require something much more specialized to dissipate heat from the 10.3TFLOP GPU, 8-core Zen 2 CPU, 16GB of GDDR6 RAM, and especially the M.2 NVMe SSD.

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Read Also: PlayStation 5 specs: 10TFLOPs Navi RDNA 2 2.23GHz GPU, 3.5GH Zen 2 CPU

Apparently Sony has made a special cooling design for the PS5 that'll drive up costs. The overheating reports clash with other past reports of the PlayStation 5's cooling system.

Sources told Bloomberg in February that Sony is spending extra on a more powerful and efficient cooling solution for the PS5. The rise in per-unit manufacturing costs is making it harder for Sony to pinpoint a final consumer pricetag for the console.

If the reports are even half-true, Sony could buy itself some time by delaying the PS5 due to the coronavirus outbreak. The company was careful not to make strong commitments to shipping the PlayStation 5 in 2020 and warned investors COVID-19 could interrupt and delay key first-party PlayStation exclusives.

There's a chance the reports aren't true and it's just another bit of gas for the fiery console war that's raging. It still begs to question why Sony hasn't revealed the PlayStation 5 yet...especially this late in the game. Manufacturing of the console is undoubtedly underway as we speak and I doubt Sony would ship so many systems knowing a good portion of them would fail due to overheating. But then again, they did ship the PS3 with the Yellow Light of Death.

The PS5 will release in Holiday 2020, and it may cost $499.

Check below for more info on everything we know about the PlayStation 5 so far:

PlayStation 5 specs and details:

  • Custom SoC with second-gen Navi GPU, Zen 2 CPU
  • 8-Core, 16-thread Zen 2 CPU at 3.5GHz
  • Navi 2X GPU with 36 CUs on RDNA 2 at 2.23GHz
  • Ultra-fast 825GB SSD with up to 9GB/sec speeds
  • Support for 4K 120 Hz TVs
  • Ray-tracing enabled
  • 8K output support (for gaming)
  • Plays PS4 games, BC is on a title-to-title basis
  • Separate games that ship on BD-XL Blu-ray discs
  • New controller with extensive haptic and tactile feedback

PlayStation 5 Coverage:

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Derek joined the TweakTown team in 2015 and has since reviewed and played 1000s of hours of new games. Derek is absorbed with the intersection of technology and gaming, and is always looking forward to new advancements. With over six years in games journalism under his belt, Derek aims to further engage the gaming sector while taking a peek under the tech that powers it. He hopes to one day explore the stars in No Man's Sky with the magic of VR.

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