Over the last few weeks, much hay has been made about the PlayStation 5, specifically a new revision of the Sony console that includes a smaller heatsink. Early reports criticized this change for leading to increased temperatures during operation, but fears that this would impact performance have mostly been put to rest by more thorough breakdowns courtesy of Digital Foundry and Gamers Nexus.
First, let’s go over some technical stats just to get the boring shit out of the way.
The new PlayStation 5 model—which we’ll refer to as the CFI-1100 as opposed to the CFI-1000 series launch model—is 300 grams (or a little over half a pound) lighter than its predecessor due to some internal changes. The heatsink—a piece of hardware that dissipates heat away from other vital components—is much smaller in the CFI-1100 model, and a large, copper backing plate from the CFI-1000 model is missing, but the revised setup also includes a fan with much larger blades.
Oh, and the stand comes with a new screw that makes attaching it to the console by hand much easier, which is great but probably doesn’t have much bearing on performance.
The controversy about the revised PlayStation 5’s heatsink began with an Austin Evans video entitled “The New PS5 is Worse 😬”. Evans, a popular YouTuber with a history of hardware breakdowns, came to this startling conclusion after noting that the CFI-1100 consistently ran several degrees hotter than the CFI-1000. And while he was criticized for recording external temperatures (i.e. the console’s exhaust) rather than the temperatures of the internal hardware, this was enough to set off a firestorm of complaints that Sony was scaling back on the PlayStation 5’s build quality to finally make a profit on the console.
As such, it was up to the detectives at Digital Foundry and Gamers Nexus to tear the console apart and see what the fuss was about in new videos released earlier today. Their conclusion? None of this really matters and there’s no reason to seek out one model over the other, especially with how hard it still is to find any model of PlayStation 5 in the first place.
“The bullet point takeaways from days of testing are relatively straightforward,” Digital Foundry’s Richard Leadbetter explained on Eurogamer. “[T]here’s an improvement to temperatures on the voltage regulators, memory temperatures are better in some respects and worse [in] others (but still only a few degrees difference overall), and while the main processor may well [get] a few degrees hotter, there is no evidence that this presents anything worth worrying about, assuming you are keeping your PS5 in a well-ventilated area.”
If you’re a fan of technical breakdowns (or just want to see a couple of PlayStation 5s completely gutted and remixed like some kind of Frankenstein’s monster), I highly recommend checking out both of the videos we’ve included above. Digital Foundry and Gamers Nexus are two of the most highly respected outlets for these kinds of explorations, and it’s great to finally see this issue put to bed by folks who do more than cursory overviews of this complex technology.