A lot of people might be aware of the infamous Red Ring of Death or even The Yellow Light of Death. These were overheating issues that plagued the first generation of Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3 respectively. Fixing these usually meant a costly repair back then, and it wasn’t exactly something that everyone could easily do. This translated to a full replacement at times.
They were built with a unique architecture that could usually only be taken apart by licensed console repairmen with custom tools. Even cleaning up dust required workarounds involving vacuum cleaners or other equipment. Even then, it wasn’t as beneficial with how closed the system was at times.
Which is why I believe that Sony hit it out the ballpark with their Playstation 4’s modular design, which made it super easy for anyone to take apart bit by bit completely. If you have been gaming on a PS4 for long, the chances are that you know someone who has already taken one apart to either re-apply thermal paste or deep clean their systems. You might even have done it yourself!
I had to open up my launch PS4 as well, since it kept shutting down due to high temperatures. In my case, it needed both the thermal paste reapplying and one of the fans replacing as the wire connection for it had snapped somehow. It was such a seamless task that was easily accomplished by getting the right tools and ended up costing me less than £50 overall. When I asked about the same repair elsewhere, they were quoting me a lot more!
I have a feeling that if this was a generation ago, not only would you have had to pay more for an official technician to fix the issues, but would also be left waiting weeks for it to be done due to highly custom parts. Sure the slim versions of the PS3 could also be taken apart by consumers, but a lot of the time Sony designed them in awkward ways, making you rely on custom tools.
Sony seems to be heading in the same direction with the Playstation 5 as you may have seen in their recent teardown video. In it you can see the technician effortlessly take apart the console hardware, showcasing how multiple parts were fitted together.
From the design of this, it does feel as if it won’t quickly overheat due to the massive cooling fan and substantial heatsink, which gives a lot more space for heat to be absorbed and dispersed. I am a bit curious to see how effective the cooling is on the backside of the PCB, where the memory and MOSFETs for the VRM seem to be located.
Still, this sort of convenience is great for consumers, and like my example above can potentially save tons of money in repair if you know what you are doing. Fortunately, we have great outlets like youtube, where you can quickly figure out what to do, even if you have never attempted a console repair before.
Other than repairs, it will make it easy for users to maintain their consoles due to the ease which with they can be taken apart and clean. I doubt you would have to do that in the first few years, but it becomes a vital step to ensuring a longer life for your console down the line.
If you are investing in a Playstation 5 this gen, be sure to give that teardown video a look, as it is beneficial getting used to the workings of your system in case it ever needs maintenance. It is also always a good idea to keep a reference video handy when attempting repairs at home for the first time.
I have a reasonably confident background in repairing consoles before, where I used to fix Playstation 3 and PSPs commercially. Funnily enough, it’s the PSPs that I have fixed a lot of, especially with their joystick problems and cracked screens. Despite that background, I still looked at a youtube video to ensure I didn’t accidentally snap something in my Playstation 4(which you totally can if you are not careful).