Last week, Sony finally unveiled the teardown of the PlayStation 5 console, fulfilling the first promise made by Mark Sorny in its own Road to PS5 presentation six months ago. Effectively the hardware is a preliminary outline of the makeup, we finally got to see the basic building blocks of the Sony Hulking console, but the philosophy behind the remarkable design was somewhat revealed. Take us? This is a slightly more conventional design than the Xbox Series X and the key challenges faced by designers are answered by perfect real estate.
Yahoohiro Otori, VP of Mechanical Design at SIE, is the stockik presenter of Sony’s Teardown – and he’s the real deal, with multiple console patents to his name (recently PS5 Dev Kit) and he must have hosted the PS4 Teardown video in 2013 The unit starts with the basic basic outline of the port – a USB Type-A and 10 Gbps Type-C on the front of the unit, two rear, LAN ports and HDMI 2.1 output with two 10 Gbps type. We hope that ensuring 10GB of bandwidth in USB should allow for some faster storage media options for back-compact headings, perhaps surpassing the results we showed in the Xbox Series X. Meanwhile, in the case of revealing the rear ports, the sheer size here points to the scale of the thermal solution of the lift.
Otori seems to have ‘peeled off’ almost back on both sides of the console before removing the white panels. There, we can see the dual blanks for the custom 120mm main fan. Of course, 120mm is a standard when it comes to making PCs but the 45mm depth of the custom unit is something else. This was a major setback for the PS4 and contributed to the increasing heights of time and it is better to address this without breaking the unit and canceling the warranty – as was the case with the PlayStation 4 and PS4 Pro.
Once the WiFi and Bluetooth antennas are removed, the welding is removed and we get our first look at the mainboard – a significantly simpler setup than the Microsoft Series X equivalent, which actually splits the whole design into separate processors and Southbridge boards. With the PS5 having only one board, the memory system is less complex and rarely seen comparing the boards. The main ‘brain’ of the system – this is where we get our first look at the SOC (chip on system). Otori himself described it as a small, but highly clocked processor using a liquid metallic thermal interface to ensure optimal transfer of heat between a chip and the cool assembly. It launched another significant update about the PS4 and Pro, both of which were rarely renowned for their thermal grease quality
The size of the SOCT is attractive and often indicates design aspects such as transistor calculations – not to mention large costs involved. Some online discussions offer a 308mmD Chip, chip in the base compared to the GDDR6 layout seen around the main processor. There is no square-on look at the chip, and no direct comparison point is clearly proven, finding a lock on the processor field is challenging, but some of the 305mmD 320 mmD Compared to the Xbox Series X, it probably seems like here we have a completely annotated die shot and a definite field – 1 comp counting unit and a few GDDR6 memory controllers must have left us in that ballpark. The whole setup and memory here presents a significant cost savings compared to the processor compared to the Series X.
The teardown draws attention to the SSD – the controller chip built into the motherboard is surrounded by a NAND flash module. 5.5 GB / s of raw bandwidth (even before the extra boost provided by hardware decompression) is now a matter of record – my only concern is that the repair and durability of SSDs is still a question mark. A faulty console SSD basically makes repairs impossible, leaving the unit out to Sony. The M2 Storage Expansion Betty has also been released – this is the latest generation of PCI 4.0.0 NVM drives to have the bandwidth needed to match Sony’s internal solution, adding off-the-shelf SSD for additional storage. The upgrade process looks simple enough, but these drives can get hot and I wonder how the system can cool them – it’s not clear from this video how it was achieved.
The teardown will end with a look at the Genermas Heatsink and a fleshy 350W power supply (hopefully the actual power drawing will be much lower). It’s pretty clear what Sony’s strategy here is with hardware design: to make costs manageable with a smaller processor, but blast it with a higher level of power to increase performance, diverting to CPU and GPU frequencies as needed. I almost don’t consider the Toyota National Philosophy – the heat-reducing wheel at all – not for wheel renewal (Microsoft probably has a Series X) but for relying on what works and adding some extra development where needed. The price we’re paying comes in terms of sheer volume: it’s obviously going to be a huge console, comparatively speaking, but the advantage for Sony is a substantial reduction in build costs.
Influential people in Japan have been united with the system and commented on its silent nature – and I would certainly be interested to see how it all stacks up if we join hands with the hardware. Hopefully, it won’t take long now …