Sony PlayStation 5 Teardown Reveals PC-Like Development

Sony revealed the internals of its upcoming PlayStation 5 console with an official synopsis posted on the company's YouTube page on Wednesday. A senior designer removes every component in the console's massive, beautiful body, and the internals reveal good news – along with similarities to modern personal computers.

The side walls are a very PC function

Let's start with the side walls. These simply peel off each side of the case in a motion instantly familiar to anyone who has worked with a $ 50 steel PC case. There are no thumbscrews here, but it's still an easy-to-open device. This makes custom PS5 case mods a breeze.

The dismantling also showed a traditional cooling arrangement: air comes in from the front and is expelled from the rear. This also applies to most PCs.

There is one notable exception, however. Unlike most PCs, the PlayStation 5 has a relatively thick fan that handles both the inlet and the outlet. Even so, the fan seems easy to remove as it is held in place by four screws and powered by a 3-pin Molex connector (though the tear-off video isn't sharp enough to be sure).

While it's as easy to repair as a PC, it could cost more

Unlike most PCs, removing the PlayStation 5's side panels does not immediately reveal most of the internals. One more layer of plastic has to be removed. Fortunately, a screwdriver will take care of it quickly. The video from Sony shows that a piece of tape was removed to access these screws. This piece of tape is a warning. Delving into the guts of the PS5 will void your warranty.

The PS5 offers a distinct upgrade over the Xbox Series X in terms of upgradeability thanks to a user-accessible PCIe 4.0 M.2 hard drive slot that is empty when the console is shipped. While Sony's approach is slightly less accessible than Microsoft's proprietary Xbox series X / S storage, which only plugs into the back of the console, it offers a broader upgrade path as it comes with the M.2 Slot in a PC is identical. The M.2 slot is accessible without removing the second layer of plastic shielding from the PS5.

When you remove that second layer of plastic, you see a motherboard that is both very familiar and very different from a PC. Known for being similar in size and shape to the PC motherboard. The difference is that all key components are directly connected to it. This includes RAM and primary system memory.

Accessing the mainboard seems easy. I could imagine that most PC enthusiasts could easily fix a broken PS5 at home if a new motherboard were sent to them, although I doubt Sony would be ready to do that. My only concern is a ribbon cable that got disconnected during the teardown. Ribbon cables can be fragile and sometimes not easy to replace. The video went by too quickly to guess how durable the cable will be, or how easy it will be to detach and replace.

In some ways, the PS5 may be even easier to repair than a PC. You have to remove several components to replace a PC motherboard. Not so with the PS5. Only a few connections need to be removed. Even the front and rear connections are soldered to the mainboard and exposed directly through the case, so that overall there are fewer fussy cables. Replacing the motherboard on the PS5 just might be easier if it includes a handle and thumbscrews.

The disadvantage? With so much soldered onto the motherboard, the cost of repairs will be higher if a particular component fails. The Xbox Series X integrates fewer components directly on the motherboard. The Microsoft console seems more difficult to repair, but it is more modular, which can result in lower repair costs.

The PlayStation 5 is closer to a PC than you think

That shouldn't scare anyone, because we're not talking about massive play towers. The PS5 is approximately 15.3 cm tall, 10.2 cm deep and 4.1 cm wide. This is very close to the Falcon Northwest tiki, which is 13.5 inches deep, 13.25 inches high, and 4 inches wide. Digital Storms Bolt and Origin & # 39; s Neuron are also similar in size, albeit slightly larger overall.

These and similar PCs like the PlayStation 5 use various tricks to reduce their footprint. You are using PCIe riser cards or cables to change the orientation of the graphics card. You add custom storage bays to support additional hard drives. They rely on unusual power supplies and customer-specific cooling solutions in order to achieve and dissipate the required power.

Falcon Northwest Tiki (2015)Bill Roberson / Digital Trends

From the looks of the Sony video, ripping off a Falcon Northwest Tiki or a Digital Storm Bolt is no easier than ripping off a PlayStation 5. That's good news, though. While the Tiki and Bolt are more difficult than a standard tower PC, they are much easier to open, modify, and repair than most game consoles. The PS5 tumbles over a bar that most consoles don't even try.

The similarities in size and form factor between the PS5 and small PCs suggest another piece of good news: the PS5 won't be a howling banshee. Small PCs are already way beyond what Sony is trying to do with its new console. A high-end Falcon Northwest Tiki can contain a 16-core AMD Ryzen processor and an Nvidia Quadro RTX 8000 graphics card connected to a 650-watt power supply.

Does the tiki get loud? Certainly with demanding workloads. That's not always the case, however, and the PS5's 350-watt power supply (which suggests a maximum power draw just south of that number) is tame by comparison. It's reasonable to believe that the PS5's thick fan and chunky heatsink are up to the challenge.

PlayStation fans should be pumped

The demolition of the PlayStation 5 suggests that it is fairly easy to fix, and that's always good news for superfans. It is you who push this system to its limits and may have to break it open if something goes wrong.

It also opens the door to modding. Enthusiasts will surely replace the side panels, and of course the hard drive is easy to replace. I'm sure fans will express themselves with fancy custom panels and the largest hard drives they can hold.

All of this makes for a promising start for the PS5 hardware. It's true that most gamers will never turn a single screw, but the console's design will be a boon to both PlayStation superfans and PC gamers interested in giving a console a chance.

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