There’s some evidence that the PlayStation 5 may get very hot in one specific place while gaming, and while this seems to be causing no problems at the moment, gamers who live in hot climates and/or lack air conditioning should pay attention.
According to the PS5 device teardown at Gamers Nexus, most of the device temperatures are excellent in all cases, though temperatures drop moderately if you remove both plates from the device. This is scarcely surprising, as even well-ventilated PCs will typically also show slightly improved temperatures if you run them case-open. None of the temperatures GamersNexus recorded at any point on the PS5 raised any eyebrows, with one noteworthy exception:
The RAM temperature at the bottom of the machine is positively scorching, and this only improves modestly with the panels removed. The problem here is that the bottom module isn’t in contact with the PS5 heatsink. This explains the thermal differential between the bottom VRAM and the rest of the system.
Unknown. Maximum operating temperature of the relevant GDDR6 module, according to Micron, is 105C. At the very least, we’d say that the PlayStation 5 is walking perilously close to the maximum safe operating temperature. Companies also do not necessarily guarantee that a product run at or near maximum safe operating temperature year after year will have exactly the same lifespan as products that are not run at these temperatures. High, sustained operating temperatures are harder on all electronic devices, not just the PlayStation 5. This is one of the reasons that PC gamers tend to pay a lot of attention to temperatures — dust build-up is a not-uncommon cause of gaming PC instability, especially if there are no signs of hardware failure or driver conflict.
The ambient temperature of GamerNexus’ test room was 21.9 – 23.2 Celsius. At 30C (about 86F) you’d be as close to the operational limit of Micron’s GDDR6 as you ever really want to get without specific assurances that a given chip is intended to operate for long periods of time at the temperature in question.
It’s worth being aware of this if you are forced to set your PlayStation 5 in an area with poor ventilation or higher-than-ambient temperatures, possibly due to sharing the space with other electronics. Any device will destabilize if it exceeds its safe operating temperature, and the bottom RAM chip on the PS5 is close enough to its safe operating range that it’s conceivable for room configuration to create a problem, particularly once we start considering the long-term impact of dust.
I don’t want to make it sound like PlayStation 5’s are going to start dying. But I have no idea if Sony was aware of this and found no problems with the configuration, or if the company made a mistake. It’s the kind of problem that might be correctable (or at least ameliorated) with a very small heatsink mounted to the VRAM chip itself, but I do not know if that kind of aftermarket modification will even be possible given the construction of the system chassis and its internal clearances. It seems odd for Sony to bother cooling one RAM module and not the other, but the company may have found that both ICs were actually running at safe tolerances and only cooled one of them because there was no practical way not to, given where it was placed relative to the other PS5 components.
I can tell you that I would not be happy to discover that my PC’s RAM or components ran this close to their manufacturer-defined safe temperatures, but not whether this represents a material flaw that will impact the longevity of the console.
Hat tip to NoteBookCheck for surfacing this.