Despite Being Nearly Silent, the PS5's Cooling Leaves Much To Be Desired

PS5 all-digital edition
(Image credit: PlayStation)

Now that the PlayStation 5 is in the hands of consumers and reviewers worldwide, those who have gotten their hands on the console have been happy with its performance. However, Gamers Nexus's recent deeper look into the console has raised some concerns about the PS5's cooling capabilities.

The outlet recently conducted several tests on the PS5 and cracked open the console to check out the thermals, power consumption, and noise. Their findings are alarming, to say the least. 

I highly recommend watching the full video, as there's a lot of important information, but my own concerns involve how long it takes the console to cool down once it is no longer in use, and just hot warm the memory and VRMs get. That's a crazy amount of heat and could pose some issues when more graphically-demanding titles are released.

A couple of points to take away from the video:

  • The memory cooling could be better - this is a huge concern
  • The PlayStation 5 runs cooler with both side panels removed
  • Power consumption is exceptional
  • Noise isn't noticeable
  • The fan could possibly run at higher RPMs to improve cooling at the cost of increased noise

Memory temperatures are a huge concern for anyone with a PS5, and there is the potential for artifacts. This isn't just hearsay, as we've already seen plenty of examples reported on social media of PS5's exhibiting this tendency.

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Interestingly enough, before the launch of the PlayStation 5, there were rumors that Sony had an issue cooling the console. While this was never proven and Sony doesn't respond to rumors, the results of the recent testing are alarming. 

I'm sure that Sony is aware of the results that Gamers Nexus has brought to light and has conducted many tests on their own. I doubt that the company would release a console that has been so eagerly anticipated without doing due diligence to ensure that the console or its components wouldn't fail due to heat issues, but it might need to take a second look at the design. 

As an owner of the PlayStation 5, I can attest that even after many hours of Demon's Souls, the console has remained cool to the touch, and I haven't noticed any loud noises. It's been immensely quieter than my experience with the PlayStation 4 Pro, a console that sounded like a jet taking off anytime I fired up a demanding game.

How this plays out over time is anyone's guess. For now, I haven't heard of any PlayStation 5's having issues due to overheating issues. But we're still early into the console's life, and these heating concerns could become an issue later down the road. The memory running warm is concerning and is a sign that Sony does have some work to do regarding cooling the console. I'm sure that updated versions of the PS5 will feature some sort of revision that changes this. 

Outside of what Gamers Nexus observed, it's worth mentioning that PS5 owners can help reduce heating concerns by playing their console in a location where airflow isn't restricted. Like a computer, the PS5 needs to breathe, so placing the console in a place where the hot air has nowhere to go isn't a good idea – you'll run the risk of overheating the unit.

Keith Mitchell

Keith Mitchell is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He is an IT professional during the day, and a passionate lover of video games and tech after his 9-5 grind. He has a weird affinity for Soulsborne games and plays them non-stop.

  • warezme
    You would think all they need to do is remap the main fan settings. Personally I don't care how loud my computer is as long as it stays cool. If you want an appliance that's different but computers are not appliances.
  • keithdmitchell
    There's a delicate balancing when it comes to noise on consoles. Unlike most computers, consoles are front in center in living rooms, and it can become a distraction depending on the noise and placement of the console. Points to the PS4 Pro.

    I wouldn't mind seeing a bump in the fan speed and new side panels with slots in them. Here's to hoping someone creates some 3D printed versions so we can see if it helps.