Sony's revised PS5 model has a smaller, lighter heatsink

But is the console worse as a result?

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Jon Fingas
August 29th, 2021
Sony PlayStation 5 with Xbox Series X in background
Aaron Souppouris/Engadget

Sony recently introduced an oddly lighter revision of the PlayStation 5, and it's now clear just why the console is that much easier to carry. YouTube creator Austin Evans has posted a teardown that shows the revised PS5 Digital Edition (that is, the no-disc model) is using a smaller, likely lower-cost heatsink. While this shaves a whopping 0.66lbs off the weight, it also raises the exhaust temperature by a few degrees. This may not be a major issue, as Evans did not measure the temperature of the system's internal components. Should that exhaust temperature indicate higher operating temperatures, though, it would be worth noting if you upgrade your SSD or plan on stuffing your system into a crowded media cabinet.

There are subtler changes as well, including an easier-to-use stand screw and tweaked connections to the WiFi chip, although it's not clear if or how the wireless changes make a practical difference. It's also uncertain how many of these changes translate to the disc drive version of the PS5.

The company hasn't officially explained its design choices for the updated PS5. As Evans speculates, however, the refreshed PS5 may be a cost-cutting measure that reflects lessons learned in the several months since the machine's debut. Now that Sony knows how well the cooling and other components perform, it knows where it can afford to use cheaper, simpler parts.

The timing is apt. In its first-quarter earnings briefing, Sony told investors it was no longer selling the disc-based PS5 at a loss — this latest design could make the Digital Edition profitable that much sooner. While the choice won't thrill gamers with bitter memories of overheating Xbox 360s (however unlikely a repeat might be), it might play an important role in Sony's long-term health.

Update: This article was changed after publishing to clarify that the new model's exhaust temperature was higher, rather than the temperature of the components inside the system.

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