A hot potato: We recently reported on a new PS5 hardware overhaul and how units with a new model number showed up in Australian retailers about a week ago, as well as speculation about how the lighter weight was achieved. Now it appears that “removing unnecessary materials” was successful, at least, if Sony counts a significant amount of the cooling package as unnecessary materials.
YouTuber Austin Evans was able to obtain one of the new CFI-11 series PlayStation units imported from Japan for compare with a launch model (see below), and although it sported a lighter weight and a new hand-adjustable support screw as expected, a cursory test so found that rear exhaust temperatures were consistently 3-5 ° C higher on the new model.
After opening the console, the reasons quickly became apparent: in addition to the change in fan design, the fin stack was significantly smaller in the revised version and the heatsink appeared to have changed from copper to aluminum.
Other components may have been changed as well – Evans noticed a difference in Wi-Fi antenna setup, although the two models weren’t tested on that front, but the difference in cooling setup was substantial.
Sony recently shared that the standard edition of the PS5 had reached profitability, but also stated that the all-digital edition (the model Evans bought) was still selling at a loss, and it appears the company is looking to trim whatever fat it can to cut back. production costs.
It’s worth noting that the thermal tests conducted by Evans were quite limited – a thermal camera aimed at the exhaust does not compare to the more robust tests conducted by Gamers Nexus when scream the PS5 release for already having a weak cooling fix, and they were able to identify their memory modules as a problem. Still, less fin surface area with a less conductive heatsink is generally not a recipe for better thermals.
Either way, it feels a bit mercenary for Sony to skimp on cooling this way; Since the PS5’s processor is variably boosted based on headroom (unlike fixed-frequency Xbox series consoles), you could end up simply reducing performance to mitigate heat issues caused by undercooling.