Five Nice and Not-So-Nice About the PlayStation 5 (As Seen From the Teardown)

With the Holiday season drawing close, both Microsoft and Sony are upping their marketing for their upcoming Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 consoles, respectively. Microsoft made a bold move recently by sending their consoles to a couple of prominent YouTubers like YongYea to give their unbiased take on their experience with the Xbox Series X. Sony did do no such thing, sadly. Instead, they did do something rather unheard of as they put out a video tearing down the PlayStation 5!

Yup! Instead of waiting for the release of the console and then waiting for someone else to dismantle and take apart the PlayStation 5 to see what makes it tick, the folks at Sony did it themselves! I will admit, the teardown looked impressive but that’s because it was in a controlled environment and we have Yasuhiro Ootori, someone who helped build and design the darn thing, do the teardown. It’s much easier when you have someone who know’s what he’s doing instead of someone who’s trying to figure out how another person put it together.

During the PlayStation 5 teardown video, I did notice some things I thought were nice but some things that weren’t so nice. So, let’s go look at what they are!

#1 The Teardown Video Itself

Nice: It makes it seem like the PlayStation 5 will be easy to repair by anyone

One of the reasons why I do like watching teardown videos is that I do get an idea of how easy a console will be easy to open up and repair myself. Sony has had a good track record of making their previous PlayStation consoles easy to delve into their innards. But the PlayStation 5 teardown video made it look sooooo easy!

Look how neatly everything is laid out at the end!

Now, we didn’t really see Yasuhiro Ootori mention that any specialize screwdrivers will be needed to disassemble the PlayStation 5 but that doesn’t mean he didn’t use any. Also, like I said, he helped design the layout of the console so he knows exactly what he’s doing. He didn’t need to fumble around and look what could be snapped off; he knew exactly what could. But the point is he made it look like a very easy process and it makes me think I can pop the PlayStation 5’s hood and perform some very minor repairs or, at the very least, a thorough cleaning.

Not-So-Nice: No teardown video of the controller

Remember way back when and Sony announced they were in the process of putting together the PlayStation 5 and they didn’t reveal the actual console? Instead, they showed us the DualSense, the new fangled controller that will come with the PlayStation 5? Yeah, that was a weird time, revealing the controller instead of the system instead. Ah, good times.

Well, why didn’t we get a teardown of the DualSense? I know opening up controllers isn’t all that popular but I really want to see what the thing looks like inside. This holds true especially today with newly designs controllers, like the Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons experiencing issues with drift. I would want to see if the DualSense is also going to be easy to take apart and clean.

#2 The PlayStation 5’s Appearance

Nice: Faceplates are easily removed and possibly mod

I will say that I’m not a big fan of the PlayStation 5’s space-taco design. I dunno. It looks a little too sleek and stylish for its own good. The asymmetrical look also peeves me a little bit. Oddly enough, the biggest issue I have with it is the color design. I get the black-and-white with blue trim lights makes it look all futuristic and whatnot. But I do prefer my consoles to have a more uniform color scheme. Thankfully, it looks like Sony will make it possible to mod the faceplates since you can take them off easily.

Hopefully it’s as simple as the teardown video proclaims.

While it wasn’t shown in the teardown video, the mere fact that the faceplates are rather easy to remove, it does suggest the possibility. Even if they don’t make any alternative faceplaces available, removing them would make it much less of a headache to color if you’re handy with a paintbrush. That just means you don’t have to drag your entire system into the garage with a can of spray paint and risk damaging the PlayStation 5’s innards!

Not-So-Nice: It’s honking huge

It used to be that it was Microsoft who would make the huge honking consoles. Well, it looks like it’s opposite day as the Xbox Series X and, more specifically, the Xbox Series X will have a smaller footprint this upcoming console generation. Even if this wasn’t the case, you can clearly see how huge the PlayStation 5 is since it’s roughly as long as Yasuhiro Ootori’s torso!

Chonk!

He did mention that the size is to facilitate a lot of the cooling necessary to keep the PlayStation 5 in good working order as well as to limit the amount of sound it’ll emit. I guess that’s a good reason. But still, I can’t get over how freaking large it is! Honestly, it’s making me really think about waiting for Sony to make the PlayStation 5 Slim in the future before getting one.

#3 Cooling System

Nice: Placement and size of Heat Sink

As mentioned above, the PlayStation 5’s size is to help with keeping its circuitry cool enough so it won’t malfunction. Which is why I do appreciate the super large heat sink design as well as its placement. While it may not be as high tech as the vapor chamber Microsoft’s systems will be sporting, the chunky heat sink the PlayStation 5 has looks like it’ll work out fine for Sony’s upcoming console.

There’s something oddly reassuring about seeing a heat sink as large as that.

The PlayStation 5 uses an appropriately large heat sink as well as heat pipes to ensure you’re PlayStation 5 doesn’t overheat. It’s also very strategically placed. If you look closely during the teardown, you can clearly see the PlayStation 5’s large fan is positioned in front of the heat sink and the heat sink itself takes up most of the real estate at the back. This should ensure a steady airflow through the heat sink.

Not-So-Nice: Liquid Metal can be problematic to work with

As cool as the heat sink is, I have some reservations with Sony using liquid metal instead of “traditional” thermal paste. Now, the teardown makes it seem like liquid metal is some revolutionary new cooling method Sony invented just for the PlayStation 5. It’s not and liquid metal cooling has been around for a while now. In fact, it’s supposed to be much more effective than thermal paste at transferring heat. So why am I still rather nervous about Sony using it?

Insert Terminator T1000 joke here

Well, that because liquid metal is a conductive substance and, if it does leak out, there’s a high chance it’ll short out the board. Also, some liquid metal isn’t that durable and could dry out, making the entire “liquid” part of the phrase a lie. So it might require a reapplication in the future and it can be difficult to apply for beginners because of it being conductive and all. Oh, and some liquid metal compounds can corrode other metals! That’s not good. That’s not good at all!

It does look like Sony took these issues into consideration. The surrounding area seems to have some foam to avoid the liquid metal from seeping out into the components and the amount used looks really substantial. It also looks like they’re using copper for the heat sinks so most liquid metals won’t cause corrosion of any kind. But I really want to see what early consumers have to say first.

#4 The PlayStation 5 Stand

Nice: It’s a universal stand for both positions and is forward thinking

I personally like putting all my consoles in the horizontal position. It just feels more secure that way to me. Also, I don’t like to get a separate stand just so I can have my system standing up straight. Sony is going to alleviate that issue of mine as the PlayStation 5 will come bundled with a stand. The nice thing about it is it’ll work for both horizontal and vertical positions!

Yeah, it’s not the best shot of the stand but it’s the best one I got!

Another great thing about the stand is how it gives you storage for the screw that holds the PlayStation 5 securely to it in a convenient storage bin in its underside. I also like how they even provide a little nub just in case you really anal and have to fill in the screw hole at the back of the PlayStation 5. It’s neat little touches that makes me feel Sony really thought of the niggling issues people might have with the stand.

Not-So-Nice: Clip for Horizontal positioning can break and may cause scuff marks

I did mention that the stand works in the horizontal position and I do have an issue that I will actually need the stand to place the PlayStation 5 in that position. I mean all previous PlayStation consoles didn’t need one but it’s something I’ll have to live with. However, what I really don’t like about it are the clips you have to fasten to the bottom faceplate.

So… not a screw?

Using clips instead of something as secure as a screen does make me feel nervous for several reasons. The plastic might look thick but, after some time, the stress on the hooks may take their toll and snap off. Worse, they can even cause damage to the bottom faceplate if they’re on too tight. A part of me wishes they used the same screw system to lock it into place but I guess Sony didn’t want to put a screw hole in the bottom faceplate as that’ll destroy the look.

#5 Storage and Memory

Nice: RAM chips have a cute design

The PlayStation 5 will have a good amount of RAM at a total of GDDR6 16 GB. While that’s nice, I have to really applaud Sony doing something aesthetically pleasing with the placement of the chips as they sort of surround the main CPU in a neat circular pattern!

“Look, it makes a flower!”

While it might not seem like how they’re placed makes a whole lot of difference and, in the long run, it really doesn’t. But even the layout does kind of make sense from an engineering standpoint. Putting them in this ballooning pattern makes them very easy to identify and, since they’re oriented in this specific manner, all the RAM chips are at the same distance from the CPU, making sure that all of them will send and receive data at the same speed to the processor.

Not-So-Nice: The chips are soldered into the board itself

Sony has been touting that the PlayStation 5 will have the fastest load times in games ever. This is due to their custom controller as well as the onboard SSD storage the system will have out of the box. I actually like how the SSD memory is laid out but why did they make them permanent fixtures of the main board?

Permanently soldered to the main board?

I guess this is to facilitate all the quick transfers to the custom controller and output the fastest possible load speeds. But I’m worried about what would happen if one of the SSD chips is damaged. Would the PlayStation 5 simply cease working? If that were the case, fixing any of the previous PlayStation systems would be as simple as replacing the HDD. You can’t do this with the PlayStation 5 as the SSD is affixed directly into the board! This could cause a lot of headaches in the future and definitely not something you can fix on your own if you’re a beginner.

Have you seen the Sony PlayStation 5 teardown video? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments section below!

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