Today I’ve read about the PlayStation 5’s Liquid Metal. A substance used to help disperse heat from the system-on-a-chip to the heatsink. This means that the PS5 was designed to expel heat quickly and help maintain the PS5 cool and quieter.
I remember, before we knew about this innovative solution, many had doubts that the PS5 will be good in dispersing heat due to its design compared to the Xbox Series X.
Of course, little we know about the internal design of the PS5.
Sony had put a video on the official PlayStation channel on YouTube that shows an up-close look at the console’s hardware—with all the inner parts.
At minute 3:34 you can see that the PS5 features two large 120mm diameter, 45mm thick, double-sides air intake fans. These fans are designed to draw in the relatively cool air and reduce the temperature inside the PlayStation 5.
The air is exhausted from the back, from the entire rear side of the console. This is of course the ideal place for it. You wouldn’t want hot air coming towards you as you play.
Keep in mind that that the PS5 measures 390mm (15.4 inches) tall, 260mm (10.24 inches) deep, and 104mm (4.09 inches) wide. As you can also see in the video above, it’s pretty large in size. This means that although it’s slim, it compensates for that with a large exhaust port so the air can be channeled quickly and efficiently towards the outside of the console.
In fact, due to its slim design and having large intake fans, it will act like wind passing through a narrow street. The air will move out very fast and help reduce heat buildup inside the console.
Liquid Metal Cooling System
Now the most important and unique aspect of the console’s design, in terms of its cooling system is the Liquid Metal.
The PS5’s SoC runs at such a high clock rate speed, which produces lots of heat that need to be channeled out of the console. Sony needed to come up with a solution to significantly increase the performance of the thermal conductor (TIM). This is a substance that sits between the SoC and the heat sink.
Usually, on your computer, you’ll probably have a thermal paste that needs to be reapplied every 5 years or so, in some cases even longer. Basically, it might be there for the entire lifetime of your computer. If it was to be replaced, it would probably be at the time where you get your computer checked or cleaned for dust.
Now instead of going with a thermal paste, the PlayStation 5 utilizes liquid metal as the TIM. This was done to ensure long-term, stable, and high cooling performance according to Sony. Aside from that, it looks really cool!
Sony spent over two years preparing the adoption of this liquid metal cooling mechanism. I think this is part of the system that nobody knew existed and that came to me as a big and pleasant surprise.
When I saw it for the first time, I had my thoughts of this being vaporized or leaked. But of course, Sony engineers worked to make sure that it’s well sealed. I just not used to see liquid metal inside a computer, that’s all :).
The Heatsink itself is huge. The heatsink will carry out the heat generated by the SoC and will be channeled out by the cool airflow coming from the two big intake fans. Sony mentioned in the video that because of the shape and airflow, the heatsink achieves the same performance as a vapor chamber.
So although the PS5 doesn’t use a vacuum-sealed metal enclosure like a vapor chamber, the way it’s designed, it’s effective as one in terms of heat dispersion performance.
PS5 Temperature Benchmark
Everything looks great right? It looks like Sony engineers has put a great deal of effort to make sure that the PS5 will remain cool and quiet doing heavy CPU and GPU loads.
I’m sure that soon enough, once the PS5 is released, we’ll get to see some temperature benchmarks. So we can see where most of the heat is located and it’s flow using a thermographic camera and see how it compared to the Xbox Series X in that aspect.
Overall, I am very impressed with the design of the PlayStation 5 and the great focus on the quiet and cool operation of the PS5 on heavy load.
Image credit: Sony