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Sony engineer unveils the ‘functional beauty’ of the PS4’s cooling system

A Sony engineer reveals the extensive logistics of the PlayStation 4’s cooling system at the Japan-held INTERNEPCON conference, showcasing detailed slides and data on the console’s heat mitigation.

PS4 lecture 15

At the 43rd INTEREPCON conference in Japan, Sony’s Engineer Director Yasuhiro Ootori took the stage to deliver an incredibly in-depth lecture on the dynamics of the PS4’s heat mitigation solution.

During the presentation Ootori showed off a substantial offering of slides, displaying reams of data and statistics on the console’s integral cooling unit, as well as side-by-side comparisons of the performances of previous PlayStation consoles.

Two accounts of the lecture were previously covered by Famitsu and Inside Games, coverage that revealed some new info on the PlayStation 4’s heat management suite.

PS4 lecture 10

The translations render interesting facts about the PlayStation 4, and Ootori’s lecture gleaned a host of tidbits on how the console’s cooling unit was designed by Sony. As Director of Engineering, Ootori serves as one of the major forces that sculpted the PS4’s internal works.

Heat mitigation is a huge aspect to any high-powered device, especially a console with a beefy APU; too much heat can leave the sleek trapezoidal box a smoldering mess. Sony had to design a viable cooling solution to keep its new console at a stable rate–especially with the inclusion of an internal power source–and Ootori’s influence helped achieve this goal.

The presentation delved into how Sony built the PS4’s cooling unit, utilizing the best solutions from past consoles like the PS3 and even the PS2. Specifically the PlayStation 4 makes use of a mix of the G and N iterations of the PS3 for heat mitigation, airflow, heat sinks and cooling fan mechanisms.

PS4 lecture 24

As for specifics on the airflow, Ootori explains that the PS4’s intake splits airflow between the bottom and top of unit. The air then passes through the heat sink, cooling the console’s power solution and exist via the exhaust port. Positive and negative pressure from the unit’s fan uniformly spreads the airflow, and Sony keeps the “eye of the storm” or “snail shell” design to maximize efficiency.

Everything from the fan’s shape (which has been shaped to reduce noise) to the motor that powers it (a three-phase unit that efficiently handles power consumption) has been specifically tailored to the PlayStation 4’s cooling system. Ootori also revealed that the console has an internal sensor that rates the ambient temperature of the air that’s expelled via the exhaust port, affording for moderation of external temperatures.

The engineer also highlighted comparisons between the PS4 and its previous systems. As far as power requirements, the PlayStation 4 consumes significantly less power than every model of the PS3; the PS4’s fan, for example, only uses a fraction of the console’s overall power allocation–10 W out of the total 250 W.

Fan noise is also equivalent to the PS3, even during strenuous gameplay, despite the disparities in resource-heavy game loads.

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At the end of the presentation, Ootori delivered a thoughtful quote while comparing the console to a Formula 1 racer:

“‘A fast machine is beautiful’ and not ‘a beautiful machine is fast’,” he said. Words that aptly describe the PS4’s internal components. and represents the functional beauty of the system–functionality which has been gleaned by Sony’s pursuit of technology.

It’s interesting to see one of Sony’s most prominent engineers highlight the PlayStation 4’s cooling system, as any console owner can readily see the curious–and rather stylish–array of vents that ride the system’s perimeter. This feature has stuck out to many, and certainly enhances the visual allure (as well as overall functionality) of Sony’s PS4.

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Furthermore it’ll be interesting to see how Sony further changes the PlayStation 4 for future models, and if the Japanese console maker will opt in for different internal components as “new” PS4’s roll out.

For a closer look on how Sony’s newest console regulates heat, be sure to check this gallery of thermal PS4 images captured with a FLIR camera. One has to wonder if Ootori would be proud of those temperatures–which seem quite suitable for any higher-end computing device.

Via Famitsu, Inside Games, DualShockers

Derek Strickland
Derek is an avid fan of gaming and everything geeky, and is compelled to make his mark in the field of games journalism. When he's not gaming on a console (everything from SNES to X360) you can find him reading about ancient civilizations or enjoying a fantasy epic or two.

One thought on “Sony engineer unveils the ‘functional beauty’ of the PS4’s cooling system

  1. We had been thinking about this a lot.

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