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PS5 teardown video offers first look at the console’s guts

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Sony’s official video breaks down the PS5 in detail

With just over a month to go until the PlayStation 5 launches, Sony has finally given us a detailed look at the internal components of its next-generation console in a teardown video posted Wednesday on the PlayStation YouTube channel.

“Our team values a well thought out, beautifully designed architecture,” said Masayasu Ito, executive vice president of Sony Interactive Entertainment’s hardware engineering and operation division, in a PlayStation Blog post introducing the video. “Inside the console is an internal structure looking neat and tidy, which means that there aren’t any unnecessary components and the design is efficient. As a result, we’re able to achieve our goal of creating a product with a high degree of perfection and quality.”

The exterior of the PS5, with a two-tone color scheme and a curved shell that makes the console look like an alien spacecraft or a giant cable modem, is a strange and eye-catching design. But the interior of the system, as revealed in the teardown video, is more conventional when it comes to electronics equipment like gaming consoles. That’s not to suggest that the PS5’s internal layout isn’t innovative or impressive, but it’s not like the unique design of the Xbox Series X, with its split motherboard and stacked assembly of components, which an Xbox engineer described to Digital Foundry as a “sort of 3D Tetris game.”

a Japanese man sitting at a white table with a disassembled PS5, with all its internal components arrayed on the table
Sony’s Yasuhiro Ootori with a fully disassembled PS5.
Image: PlayStation/YouTube

The teardown was conducted by Yasuhiro Ootori, vice president of the mechanical design department at Sony Interactive Entertainment’s hardware design division. In the seven-minute video, Ootori indeed tore down the PS5 entirely, showing off and commenting on its components as he disassembled the console.

“The size is larger than PS4, but resulting in a dramatic improvement in performance in terms of processing power and quietness,” said Ootori. Sony revealed the PS5’s dimensions last month, confirming that it is the largest video game console in modern history: In its vertical orientation, the standard console measures 15.35 inches in height and 4.09 inches in width — the discless Digital Edition is just under half an inch narrower — with a depth of 10.23 inches.

Sony includes a stand with the PS5, and it’s got a very neat design. When you want to stand up the console, you use a single flathead screw to secure the stand to the bottom of the unit. When you want to lay the console down horizontally, you remove the screw and store it in a special compartment in the stand, which also holds a piece of plastic that you can use to plug the screw hole on the underside of the console. Then, you rotate the stand (to close the compartment) and clip it onto the rear of the PS5.

Both of the curved white panels that comprise the sides of the console — or the top and bottom, if it’s sitting horizontally — are removable by users. You can just pop them off to get to the interior of the PS5.

There, you’ll see the large double-sided system fan, with a diameter of 120 mm (4.72 inches) and a thickness of 45 mm (1.77 inches), which draws in air from the intake vents along the console’s two front channels and spits it out through the back of the system.

“The entire rear side is its exhaust port,” said Ootori. This design makes sense, considering Sony’s goal of limiting fan noise in the PS5, after the PlayStation 4 and the infamous jet-engine volume levels that it sometimes reaches.

If the easily detachable side panels themselves didn’t suggest that Sony wanted to make it easy for PS5 owners to access the interior of the system, another feature certainly does: The top of the console (in its horizontal orientation) features two small nooks that Ootori called “dust catchers.” Users can vacuum out dust that collects in these areas, said Ootori. (This is curious, since most PC gamers will tell you never to bring a vacuum cleaner near your gaming rig, because it can cause a buildup of static electricity that could fry your computer; blowing dust away with compressed air is the safe, preferable cleaning method. But perhaps Sony has accounted for this with the shielding inside the PS5.)

a man pointing to one of the dust catchers in the PS5
Ootori pointing to one of the PS5’s two “dust catchers.” The other one is the triangular hole floating near the centerline of the console.
Image: PlayStation/YouTube

On the other side of the console — for those keeping score, that’s the bottom (horizontal orientation) or right (vertical orientation) — you’ll see a rectangular piece of metal in the upper half of the unit, near the system fan. This is the cover for the PS5’s storage expansion bay. Removing the panel’s single Phillips-head screw grants access to an M.2 slot for a PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD, allowing users to add to the console’s 825 GB of internal storage.

The SSD slot is on the same side of the PS5 as its 4K Blu-ray drive, which Ootori said is “completely covered with a sheet metal case and mounted with two layers of insulators to reduce drive noise and vibration when the discs spin.”

a close-up of the SSD slot in the PS5
Sony has to certify individual PCIe 4.0 SSDs for compatibility with the PS5, both for performance and for size — not all SSDs will be able to fit in the PS5’s expansion bay.
Image: PlayStation/YouTube

Ootori removed the disc drive, a plastic shell, and a piece of metal shielding to get to the main hardware of the PS5. The motherboard features the console’s 16 GB of GDDR6 RAM arrayed in eight modules around its system on a chip (SoC), which contains an eight-core AMD Ryzen Zen 2 CPU and a 10.28-teraflop AMD RDNA 2 GPU.

“The PS5’s SoC is a small die running at a very high clock rate,” said Ootori. “This led to a very high thermal density in the silicon die, which required us to significantly increase the performance of the thermal conductor, also known as the TIM, that sits between the SoC and the heat sink. The PS5 utilizes liquid metal as the TIM to ensure long-term, stable, high cooling performance.”

That liquid metal conductor transfers heat away from the SoC to the PS5’s massive heat sink, which takes up much of the upper (horizontal orientation) or left (vertical orientation) half of the unit. Most of the rest of that section of the PS5 is occupied by the system’s 350-watt power supply.

The heat sink relies on the standard heat pipe design — it’s not a vapor chamber cooling solution, like the Xbox One X and Xbox Series X use — but, according to Ootori, “the shape and airflow have made it possible to achieve the same performance as a vapor chamber.”

And there you have it! The PlayStation 5 will debut Nov. 12 in North America, Japan, and other select regions, with a European release to follow on Nov. 19. The standard console will cost $499.99, while the Digital Edition will go for $399.99.