Earlier this year, reports began circulating that PS5 would have an “unusually expensive” cooling system, and recent details Sony revealed about the console’s hardware have certainly been in line with previous rumors (and first impressions suggested that the investment will pay off.).
Sony recently talked about how the drive to cut costs was one of the reasons for using one large fan with the PS5 instead of two (which is what led to the console’s large size). Similarly, the company has made cost-based decisions in other areas of the cooling system as well, as PS5 ‘s head of mechanical and thermal design team Yasuhiro Otori explained in a recent interview with 4Gamer.
The liquid metal cooling of the PS5, for example, was chosen to reduce the overall cost of the cooling system. While an insulated liquid metal thermal interface material (TIM) is more expensive, it is effective enough for Sony to use cheaper components elsewhere.
” The main reason is the cost, ” Otori said when asked why Sony decided to use a liquid metal TIM with PS5. ” The standard for thermal design is to spend money near the heat source. As an analogy to general thermal design, let’s assume you have a system cooling structure that costs 10 yen for a TIM and 1000 yen for a heatsink. If switch to a 100 yen TIM, you can get the same cooling effect even if you use a 500 yen heatsink. In other words, the total cost can be reduced. “
Otori also talked about the difficulties in the production process. Liquid metal TIMs usually go hand in hand with certain problems and, according to Otori, Sony spent two years finding solutions to the most common ones.
” I’ve always wanted to use liquid metal,” he said. “However, because the liquid metal is conductive, the spill could cause short circuits. Most importantly, it is highly corrosive to aluminum used for parts such as heat sinks. To handle such materials, measures must also be taken for manufacturing equipment. It took more than two years to prepare ourselves well to solve these problems. “
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