Sony’s new PS5 model weighs less because it has a smaller heatsink

A new PS5 model appeared in Australia, Japan and parts of the US earlier this month, featuring a new standard design and a mysterious weight reduction. Thanks to a teardown video from YouTuber Austin Evans, the mystery is now solved: Sony has changed the heatsink that helps cool the PS5.

The new heatsink is significantly smaller than the original and makes up for the total weight reduction of 300 grams (0.6 pounds), Evans said. It’s not clear why Sony switched the heatsink so early in the PS5’s life cycle, but Evans does note that it made his particular unit run hotter – with exhaust temperatures at the back about 3 to 5 degrees higher. However, this may be due to production deviations.

The old PS5 heatsink (left) versus the new PS5 heatsink (right).
Image: Austin Evans (YouTube)

Sony uses this heat sink to cool the PS5, and the console has a heat pipe with a shape and airflow designed to create the same level of performance as a vapor chamber. The heatsink, hard copper plate, and aluminum dissipation fins all take up a significant amount of space in the PS5 and contribute greatly to its overall size. It’s interesting to see Sony shrinking the size of this part, and I hope it could be the first sign of the company working on a smaller PS5 model. The PS5 is the largest game console in modern history.

Evans does conclude that the changes make the PS5 worse, because of the extra heat it absorbed. That could well make the launch of PS5s more appealing, if it’s something we’re seeing replicated elsewhere. “I don’t think there’s any argument that this is a worse console, at least for thermals and for cooling,” Evans says. “As far as I’m concerned, I’d rather have a launch PS5.”

The review comes just as Sony reveals it’s no longer selling the $499 version of the PS5 at a loss, and after reports last year suggested Sony was struggling to keep PS5 costs down, thanks in part to its expensive cooling solution. Evans has only opened a Digital Edition version of the PS5, so we’re not sure if Sony also changed the cooling unit on the model with a disc drive.