PlayStation 5 may use vapor chamber cooling, new Sony patent suggests

A new Sony patent hints the PlayStation 5's heat sink will be similar to the Xbox One X, hinting at possible vapor-chamber cooling.

Published Apr 23, 2020 4:35 PM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 11:44 AM CST
2 minutes & 30 seconds read time

Sony's latest heat sink patent just went public, and it could hint at the PlayStation 5's powerful cooling solution's capabilities.

PlayStation 5 may use vapor chamber cooling, new Sony patent suggests 35


  • 11 - Heat conduction path
  • h2 - Through-holes for heat conductor
  • 10 - Circuit board PCB (console's motherboard)
  • 5 - Integrated circuit (in this case the 7nm SoC)
  • 5a - Heat conduction pad (thermal pad)
  • 21 - Heatsink
  • 9 - Extra components

The latest heat sink patent from Sony outlines a solution that's noticably different than the PS4's current design, and could lay out part of the PlayStation 5's cooling system. The patent describes a heat sink with internal conduction paths that allows heat to pass directly from the SoC to the dissipation system. This will ensure optimum cooling without dramatically transforming the console's shape.

The other half of the heat sink design is similar to the Xbox One X. The heat sink has conductors that pass through holes on the PCB and connect to another thermal solution on the other

side. The Xbox One X has a similar layout with the heat sink on one side, and the thermal regulating X-clamp on the other.

PlayStation 5 may use vapor chamber cooling, new Sony patent suggests 46PlayStation 5 may use vapor chamber cooling, new Sony patent suggests 45

<em>The Xbox One X's dark green cylindrical heat sink conductors (left) are synonymous with the patent's described conductors. The conductors pass through the PCB and connect to the X-clamp on the back (right), which serves as a secondary thermal solution. Photo credit: TronicsFix.</em>

Below you can see the Xbox One X's heat sink being pulled off of the console's PCB and exposing the conductors (dark green) and the holes they pass through. Think of these conductors as a kind of secondary pipeline for heat.

Heat flows from the SoC through the channeled heat pathways to the heat sink's fins, and pushed through the system's fans through the exhaust vents. There's no mention of any kind of fan solution, however.

The PlayStation 4's current heat sink design lacks the conductors that connect to the other side of the PCB. The PS4 Pro's heat sink is attached to the SoC by a kind of hole-punched metal shelf with thermal compound sandwiched between it and the SoC. There's no conductors passing through the heat sink to the X-clamp on the other side.

PlayStation 5 may use vapor chamber cooling, new Sony patent suggests 7

<em>The PS4 Pro's heat sink design (Photo: IFixit)</em>

PlayStation 5 architect Mark Cerny asserts <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><strong>fans will be quite happy with the console's cooling solution</strong>, and promises a full teardown of the system is coming soon.

"PlayStation 5 is especially challenging because the CPU supports 256-bit native instructions that consume a lot of power. These are great here and there, but presumably only minimally used...or are they?

"If we plan for major 256-bit instruction usage, we need to set the CPU clock substantially lower or noticably increase the size of the power supply and fan.

"So, after much discussion, we decided to go with a very different direction on PlayStation 5."

"As for details of the cooling solution, we're saving them for our teardown. I think you'll be quite happy with what the engineering team came up with."

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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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