PlayStation 5 Refresh Boasts New 6nm AMD Oberon Plus SoC

PS5 hero
(Image credit: Sony)

Sony refreshed its PlayStation 5 console about a month ago. Gaming tech enthusiasts have revealed little by little, the underlying changes delivered with the CFI-1202 consoles on the web and social media. The critical difference that precipitated the new compact cooling system and lighter build is Sony’s shiny new Oberon Plus processor inside the refreshed consoles.

The first two revisions of the Sony PlayStation 5 used the same AMD semi-custom processor. Then, what we in the PC world would describe as the ‘APU’ in the PS5, was dubbed Oberon and was fabricated on TSMC’s N7 process. According to Angstronomics’ report, backed up with refreshed APU comparison imagery, the new Oberon Plus is present in the CFI-1202 models, mass-produced by TSMC on the N6 process. It is easy to spot differences in the chip packages, and the source calculates that the newer processor has a die size of below 260mm^2 - quite a reduction from approximately 300mm^2 for the Oberon.

The new Oberon Plus brings practical benefits to the PS5 CFI-1202 models with its die shrink. Officially (opens in new tab), TSMC’s N6 “delivers 18% higher logic density over the N7 process,” as well as being fully design rule compatible with previously produced N7 chips for more straightforward migration. However, TSMC’s linked press release doesn’t mention some of the associated benefits of moving from N7 to N6; as well as the smaller die, a processor can see lower power consumption with better thermals. It is particularly true where the chip designer doesn’t re-spec other aspects of the chip, like its clock speed. This aspect of the CFI-1202 was part of the teardown video earlier in September. The revised PS5 reportedly used 10% less power for the same gaming experience in that video. We have also seen that the 2022 revision had more reductions in cooler system bulk and overall system weight bringing down Sony’s bill-of-materials (BOM).

Unlike many device makers who would have submitted a flurry of design improvements alongside the order for a new batch of N6 SoCs, the console industry is peculiar in that it might steer away from overt performance improvements within the same generation. So Sony was happy that the die shrink allowed it to reduce its BOM, as described above, and didn’t have any further ambitions for it. Indeed, the 10% power saving when gaming isn’t a benefit they will be advertising, but it is welcome nonetheless. Lastly, it is good to know that Sony PS5 consoles didn’t lose up to 600g of mass over the last two generations to any real detriment to the system (but some say the 2021 revision ran a little hotter than the original).

Lastly, Angstronomics also observes that the PS5 is the first of the big three current-gen consoles to get a 6nm chip and that Sony is getting nearly 50% more PS5 chips per wafer than Microsoft with its Xbox Series X processors. Even so, Sony, with its cheaper silicon bill and new lower BOM, recently pushed price hikes worldwide (except in the U.S.).

Mark Tyson
Freelance News Writer

Mark Tyson is a Freelance News Writer at Tom's Hardware US. He enjoys covering the full breadth of PC tech; from business and semiconductor design to products approaching the edge of reason.

  • thisisaname
    Odd Sony is being quiet on the benefits of the new system refresh?
    Reply
  • RedBear87
    thisisaname said:
    Odd Sony is being quiet on the benefits of the new system refresh?
    The benefits are mostly for their bottom line, why should they care? I mean, maybe Europeans might benefit from the lower energy consumption, energy prices here are getting crazy, but it's just a 10% energy save for an appliance that isn't very energy hungry to begin with.
    Reply
  • watzupken
    thisisaname said:
    Odd Sony is being quiet on the benefits of the new system refresh?
    I thought they typically don't. People usually figure out that there's a node upgrade because of changes like the size and cooling solution, and they went to investigate. In this case, there is no benefit to the end user in my opinion. The PS5 still looks massive, though it shed quite a lot of weight. The weight is not a metric that people will consider when buying the PS5 anyway. The PSU is built in, so the end user won't see a difference as well.
    Reply
  • Mandark
    RedBear87 said:
    The benefits are mostly for their bottom line, why should they care? I mean, maybe Europeans might benefit from the lower energy consumption, energy prices here are getting crazy, but it's just a 10% energy save for an appliance that isn't very energy hungry to begin with.
    No, what’s for their bottom line is the hundred dollar increase in price. There’s no quality updates.

    The PlayStation five is a huge clunky system next to the Xbox series X. We’ve got them both and I can’t stand the PlayStation. The operating system totally sucks next to the Microsoft operating system, and their online abilities are still weak by comparison.
    Reply
  • gggplaya
    thisisaname said:
    Odd Sony is being quiet on the benefits of the new system refresh?

    They only do that when there's a slowdown in sales, then they can make a small refresh to get people to upgrade or generate hype to buy the "new" one. But as it is now, PS5's still sell out and can't be kept in retail shelves. So why bother with the additional marketing costs?
    Reply
  • RedBear87
    Mandark said:
    No, what’s for their bottom line is the hundred dollar increase in price. There’s no quality updates.
    Because 6nm is denser they're getting more chips from the same wafer, also like they've mentioned in the article, a cooler chip requires a less complex cooling, which should cost less to manufacture. Sony did something similar with the PS3, the process node was changed several times, but it was never announced with much fanfare because the performance was identical and it only brought a reduction in power consumption (and in some instances, for unrelated reasons, you were actually getting less features, the first node reduction from 90nm to 65nm for the CPU was done with the 3rd gen PS3, which was the first version without any PS2 compatibility).
    Reply
  • spongiemaster
    watzupken said:
    The PS5 still looks massive, though it shed quite a lot of weight. The weight is not a metric that people will consider when buying the PS5 anyway.
    Sure it is. Sony is pulling the same garbage that food producers are. Rather than raising prices, they stealthily reduce the amount of product you get for the same cost. People buying this new PS5 revision are getting ripped off. If I'm looking for a PS5 today and spending $500 on it, I'm definitely looking for the older heavier version, because I want the maximum the amount of material for my dollar.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    thisisaname said:
    Odd Sony is being quiet on the benefits of the new system refresh?
    They probably don't want to create a situation where retailers have trouble moving the old models and have to resort to discounting. Besides, for most gamers, they probably shouldn't notice.

    Sony's previous consoles have gone through multiple rounds of cost-reductions. The only time they were actually marketed is when it enabled smaller, lower-cost form factors like the slim models. However, there were other rounds of cost reductions & chip die-shrinks that went unnoticed by the general public.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PlayStation_3_technical_specifications#Configurations
    Reply
  • bit_user
    RedBear87 said:
    the first node reduction from 90nm to 65nm for the CPU was done with the 3rd gen PS3, which was the first version without any PS2 compatibility).
    Because of this, I actually spent $540 on a 1st gen PS3 60 GB, back in the day.

    So, at least I wouldn't be spending more on a PS5. Take that, inflation!
    :-/

    spongiemaster said:
    Sony is pulling the same garbage that food producers are. Rather than raising prices, they stealthily reduce the amount of product you get for the same cost.
    I know you're joking, but the context is that costs are going up for everyone. My employer was too slow to raise prices on our products, and it really hurt our bottom line because our suppliers are charging more. If Sony can save enough money in the respin that they can merely hold US prices constant, that's not insignificant.
    Reply