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PlayStation 5 - Next gen is expensive


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1 minute ago, HarryBizzle said:

Hasn’t it been described as cold to the touch by people who weren’t allowed to touch it?

 

I'd heard the "cold to touch" stuff on Twitter, but there's a better sourced quote here:
 

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While playing Astro’s Playroom and Godfall, I didn’t notice the sound of the fan. When I was about to finish playing, I quickly confirmed, ‘is this a fan?’ Finally, when I touched the main unit, it didn’t feel hot.

 

https://www.ccn.com/xbox-series-x-stove-sony-ps5-cold/

 

 

1 minute ago, HarryBizzle said:

And I wonder what that’s based on. Touching the white panels is going to be cool. There’s no air flow under them and they’re not in main contact with the chassis. I expect the air coming out of the bottom will be warm. 

 

I think it's a given that the airflow will be warm and if it's been designed in a way to keep the heat around the fans and away from the outer panels, then that works for me. :)

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15 minutes ago, Robo_1 said:

 

Masayasu Ito, (EVP, Hardware Engineering and Operation) has said:

 

 

https://www.tweaktown.com/news/75545/playstation-5-uses-liquid-metal-compound-to-cool-soc-sony-confirms/index.html

 

I think it's clear that very early on in the design process, Sony decided to go with a high clocked system and so designed the cooling tech accordingly. Even this Smart Shift technology points to them choosing to push the GPU as hard as they could, very early on in the design process. I'm sure they've tried to squeeze all that tech into as small a box as they could and props to MS for what they have achieved, but anecdotal reports are that the PS5 remains "cold to the touch and silent" after multiple hours of play, so whilst it is indeed a big fella, I think they've been planning to build a hot machine which will need a lot of cooling from very early on in the process.

I just wonder, with the way chip prices generally go soon after release , is it indeed cheaper to have a huge heat sink and overclock or Is it better to just have more compute units and then cheaper chips in a couple of years.

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I'm sure that the original design for PS5 was to not run the chips so fast and have a smaller unit. But as it became apparent what was possible and what MS were doing they were forced to push the clocks much higher than planned, thus heat and power draw. That would have required a bigger heatsink and case and here we are. A bit like the way MS upped the clocks on the XBox One but done earlier in the process.

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Just now, Harrisown said:

I just wonder, with the way chip prices generally go soon after release , is it indeed cheaper to have a huge heat sink and overclock or Is it better to just have more compute units and then cheaper chips in a couple of years.

 

Yeah that's a good point. Sadly I can't quote anything verbatim, but I watched a Digital Foundry video not so long ago, where they said the scope for drastically reducing the cost of these machines in the future is smaller than it's ever been. I can't remember the specific reasons cited, but I guess there can't be too many die shrinks left that the laws of physics will still allow for. The cost of SSD's are expected to fall quite sharply over the coming years, so there's that and I suppose memory prices will trend downwards over time, but there might not be as much manoeuvre on the price of the CPU and GPU as there has been in the past.

That's where MS's Series S will come into its own I think. In fact I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if Sony come out with something similar in two - three years, if they can't knock at least $200 off the build cost.

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2 minutes ago, Robo_1 said:

 

Yeah that's a good point. Sadly I can't quote anything verbatim, but I watched a Digital Foundry video not so long ago, where they said the scope for drastically reducing the cost of these machines in the future is smaller than it's ever been. I can't remember the specific reasons cited, but I guess there can't be too many die shrinks left that the laws of physics will still allow for. The cost of SSD's are expected to fall quite sharply over the coming years, so there's that and I suppose memory prices will trend downwards over time, but there might not be as much manoeuvre on the price of the CPU and GPU as there has been in the past.

That's where MS's Series S will come into its own I think. In fact I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if Sony come out with something similar in two - three years, if they can't knock at least $200 off the build cost.

 

They can shrink the chips a bit more. The issue is that in doing so the cost per transistor is no longer dropping like it used to. So smaller chip is not cheaper.

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6 minutes ago, Capp said:

I'm sure that the original design for PS5 was to not run the chips so fast and have a smaller unit. But as it became apparent what was possible and what MS were doing they were forced to push the clocks much higher than planned, thus heat and power draw. That would have required a bigger heatsink and case and here we are. A bit like the way MS upped the clocks on the XBox One but done earlier in the process.

 

I mean maybe people better informed about this than me know better, but I struggle to see a scenario where Sony panic boost the clocks at the eleventh hour, redesign the casing and cooling solution of the PS5 at something like two months before they have to go into full production, just so they can eek out an extra few mhz of clock speed from the GPU.

 

When the design is finished and they're in final testing, I can see them tweaking clock speeds to see what the limit they can reasonably run these things at is, and adjusting speeds accordingly, but as an eleventh hour reaction to Series X, I just don't see it. Everything points to Sony designing PS5 to run fast and hot from the outset and that necessitated a lot of cooling and a bigger case.

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According to the teardown the airflow exhausts at the back of the console, so those feeling for warm air at the top/front where it may look like there is vents to expel hot air is really the intake. Maybe they didn't or weren't allowed to go near the back of the console where the hot air would be.

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1 minute ago, Robo_1 said:

 

I mean maybe people better informed about this than me know better, but I struggle to see a scenario where Sony panic boost the clocks at the eleventh hour, redesign the casing and cooling solution of the PS5 at something like two months before they have to go into full production, just so they can eek out an extra few mhz of clock speed from the GPU.

 

When the design is finished and they're in final testing, I can see them tweaking clock speeds to see what the limit they can reasonably run these things at is, and adjusting speeds accordingly, but as an eleventh hour reaction to Series X, I just don't see it. Everything points to Sony designing PS5 to run fast and hot from the outset and that necessitated a lot of cooling and a bigger case.

 

I agree, this wouldn't have been a last minute thing like the XBone was.  There was talk leaking out of devs a long time ago of performance in the 8TF range, which is what makes me think they upped it at some point.

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From the teardown video, we saw the unit has 2 USB ports at the back (finally) and one on the front. The video says both the ones at the back are 10Gbps, which I think is 1250MBps. So those are not going to be fast enough to run PS5 games off an external SSD which we already knew, but I guess will be fine for external storage and hopefully data transfers will be quicker than on PS4 (I’m no expert on these things but does that sound correct?).

 

The USB port on the front just says “Hi Speed”, so I infer from that, that the front port is primarily for charging controllers.  I’ve had a quick google for box contents and it just says USB cable, so I presume that means a USB-A to USB-C cable. I could be wrong of course and it could be USB-C to USB-C, but I haven’t seen anything to confirm that. 
 

So assuming everything above is correct, what is the USB-C port for? Again the video says 10Gbps for the USB-C port. My guess is that this is future proofing for PSVR 2 (I suppose 3 technically) which is going to have a single USB-C cable running to the console for power and video, and then use inside out tracking for position (or maybe the PS5 camera which would just be USB in the back). This future proofing is a little bit like us all looking at the light bar in 2013 and wondering what the point of it was, although USB-C is obviously a bit more useful. 
 

I might be completely barking up the wrong tree here, but it just seemed like a reasonable set of assumptions to me. 
 

 

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31 minutes ago, Gigawatt said:

So assuming everything above is correct, what is the USB-C port for? Again the video says 10Gbps for the USB-C port. My guess is that this is future proofing for PSVR 2 (I suppose 3 technically) which is going to have a single USB-C cable

 

There's two front facing USB ports, one type C the other type A, the type C will be for the controller.

 

Regarding PSVR, I think the main reason Sony went with Wi-Fi 6 is to support wireless steaming to PSVR2. The Quest already supports WiFi streaming and it works fine, using the much lower latency of Wi-Fi 6 would mean it should work flawlessly. My guess is PSVR2 will use inside out tracking and be cable free. 

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Worth a watch covers most things 'detective rllmuk' have, however points out some interesting details on BT 5.1 and it's ability to track connected devices like VR headsets and controllers. Seems Sony has made sure that the console is VR ready at the start this time.

 

 

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1 hour ago, rgraves said:

 

I'm not trying to make out the Series X is any more 'elegant', my comment really comes from: there is no way on earth Sony wanted it that big - it's that big because *(seeing the internals) they obviously hit a roadblock with cooling and had no choice in it. That being the case, it's not an elegant design - it's one born out of necessity that they've not been able to do much about even by throwing a lot of smart engineering at it. Yes some of the stuff inside is new and nice and fancy - but that doesn't make it an elegant solution as a whole unit - it makes me wonder how big the thing was before they bit the bullet on the cost of all that stuff (because, again, I bet you they did not originally set out wanting to have to use a heatsink that big or liquid metal for example).

 

Going back to MS - I actually bet you they were worried about the size of their box - I bet they thought it might be too big but just couldn't get it smaller. I bet they breathed a HUGE sigh of relief when they saw Sony had faced the same issue and not been able to do any better.

 

Fair enough. I think we probably are just getting mixed up on the macro/micro scale of things and making comparisons. I totally agree with you that the final unit isn't particularly elegant when taken as a whole, but I read your post as if you were saying there was nothing elegant in the engineering solutions they have come up with (which I disagree with, as per my reply).

 

I've no idea what the internal processes and wrangling were for both teams of designers, certainly they have both taken on very complicated tasks with significantly more heat involved than previous versions and both have put that as a priority of their solution design while trying to provide the raw grunt gamers want. I'm not sure I agree that Sony will have focused on building a system first and then panicked about the heat and slapped on the cooling as an afterthought, I think it was probably more that they got so burnt with complaints about both the PS4 - but more importantly the updated PS4 Pro which was arguably worse - having severe heat/fan noise issues they decided to attack the cooling issue head on while also trying to retain an "AV box" sort of overall shape/footprint (and the issues that presents laying the motherboard flat and also having space for the heatsink and fan made the box get bigger and bigger). I do agree though and can't see any Sony designer stepping back from it and rubbing their hands saying "nailed it" for their vision, it's definitely a compromise.

 

Microsoft's approach to split the motherboard, slot in a monster fan and the vapour chamber and stack everything up is their take on managing heat while providing power, and in fairness to them it's a pretty nifty solution (I did admit my comment was a bit reductive). They have also managed it with a bit more power in a smaller total volume which is impressive but with the compromise that overall it is a more awkward shape in the context of a traditional living room device. The horizontal thing is nonsense really, sure it works, but for me that looks like a total afterthought and really they want you to run it standing proud on a surface. Otherwise they would have worked more on solution for orientation over some rubber dots on the side and leaving the round base sticking out. It looks like the forgot to finish it. Although, as you say, I'm sure there was a collective sigh of relief when they saw the final dimensions of the PlayStation, there is now getting away from the fact that is a bit of a beast.

 

Ultimately I think its splitting hairs and both teams have done seemingly a good job in their own respective ways, with some clever little bits involved. Final judgments (if there needs to be any) will often be tinged with subjectivity and bias on your preferred solution. For me in my house the PS5 will (just by literally a few mm) fit into my existing slot for my PS4 (and I'm going to modify the furniture for more air), whereas the Series X literally won't fit at all if I want to retain my other existing devices like the SkyQ box, etc... I appreciate that is all only in my own context and some people will have zero issues with it, but as my wife categorically doesn't want either on show (as it doesn't work with the way we have designed the room) I've got to try and find a home for it somewhere and that is proving difficult even though it is technically a smaller box.

 

The Series S is an interesting one. I think that's a great looking little unit packing a proportionately decent amount of power in a tiny package even though it's using a more traditional layout. In some ways I sort of wish they had made the Series X just a more traditional big black version of that even if the dimensions were a lot bigger. But as I say that is because it would suit my situation better rather than being objective.

 

Anyway, overall I'm just quite excited about both consoles to be honest. We're going to be getting a lot of grunt to play with for the next few years as long as neither run into significant issues down the line, but seeing them I'm pretty confident both look like they will do their jobs well.

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18 minutes ago, FiveFootNinja said:

I do agree though and can't see any Sony designer stepping back from it and rubbing their hands saying "nailed it" for their vision, it's definitely a compromise

 

Yeah, that was my point.

 

Totally agree with you on all the other stuff - absolutely there is some smart gubbins in there, and it's clear they've had to tackle some challenges head on, and have made some bold steps in doing so. I bet there were some (excuse the pun) heated meetings on all of this stuff during development - I wonder just how hard battles were fought in the performance vs heat vs cost area.

 

You're bang on with the X as well - clearly they want it be to be placed vertically, it looks genuinely clumsy and not at all intentional when it's not.

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This is a cooling solution that is a deliberate RND investment to continue using across different consoles and chipsets. If it was a reaction to overheating they would just need to clock down but they've done the opposite and clocked up so high because of the cooling headroom. 

 

This means when new chipsets come in with higher CU counts or IPC gains, using the same cooling process will mean higher clocks and performance can continue to be achieved while keeping cooling balanced. This was clearly planned rather than reactive because of the latter there is a far simpler solution. 

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1 minute ago, Uzi said:

This is a cooling solution that is a deliberate RND investment ton continue using across different consoles and chipsets. If it was a reaction to overheating they would just need to clock down but they've done the opposite and clocked up because of the cooling headroom. 

 

They made a design decision to run fewer units at higher clocks - with that, the option to lower clocks in reaction to heat was taken away really - with even lower clocks their performance differential would have been even worse. They basically said 'we're going to run at that speed, so we need to deal with that heat', rather than 'we can deal with this heat so we'll run at these speeds'.

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If a PSVR successor was directly connected to the PS5 via Wi-Fi 6, wouldn't that mean the console couldn't connect to the internet via Wi-Fi at the same time?

 

Feels like asking people to either a) have a Wi-Fi 6 router, or b) connect their PS5 via Ethernet if they want to play VR online, is a bit much. I think a dedicated wireless dongle is more likely, especially as that would open the door to more straightforward PC support; if I was Sony I'd be looking to capture as much of the VR market as I could, especially given their tentative in-roads to releasing first-party games on PC.

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4 minutes ago, rgraves said:

 

They made a design decision to run fewer units at higher clocks - with that, the option to lower clocks in reaction to heat was taken away really - with even lower clocks their performance differential would have been even worse. They basically said 'we're going to run at that speed, so we need to deal with that heat', rather than 'we can deal with this heat so we'll run at these speeds'.

You design cooling around your intended push of hardware rather than as an afterthought. Everything here suggests it has been done this way as it doesn't just benefit the 36CU chipsets they are using from AMD but can continue doing so in the future. If they suddenly realised late in that heat wouldn't be manageable they wouldn't have just a clearly planned out and researched cooling solution. By all evidence it was a deliberate decision with longer term cooling and performance not a last minute reaction to heat. The patent alone on the cooling solution negates that thought. 

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Yes, which is exactly why I said

 

Quote

They basically said 'we're going to run at that speed, so we need to deal with that heat', rather than 'we can deal with this heat so we'll run at these speeds'.

 

I don't think it was an afterthought - I've not said that at all, and it's clearly not - I've said dealing with that heat clearly drove the design in some fundamental ways, but it's also forced some compromises - i.e. the final size/volume.

 

I think we're agreeing :D

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Just now, rgraves said:

Yes, which is exactly why I said

 

 

I don't think it was an afterthought - I've not said that at all, and it's clearly not - I've said dealing with that heat clearly drove the design in some fundamental ways, but it's also forced some compromises - i.e. the final size/volume.

 

I think we're agreeing :D

Sorry haha we are- I'm just laboring the point that this cooling solution isn't just for the PS5 in my estimation - or at least this model. It appears to be a longer term investment moving away from the previous methods of console cooling and prioritizing more than anything not just thermal dissipation but also thermal management in direct relation to performance. It's a similar approach PC partners use for graphics cards where the same chip can perform significantly differently based on the cooling solution and this appears to be a longer term investment and strategy which is great for the console space. Aside from needing a lot of space.

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2 hours ago, Robo_1 said:

 


That's where MS's Series S will come into its own I think. In fact I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if Sony come out with something similar in two - three years, if they can't knock at least $200 off the build cost.

How would that work though? I can't see third party's going back to add support for a PS5 lite so what would the software lineup be like? 

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30 minutes ago, Ferine said:

 

If a PSVR successor was directly connected to the PS5 via Wi-Fi 6, wouldn't that mean the console couldn't connect to the internet via Wi-Fi at the same time?

 

 

I was wondering that too, it seems WiFi 6 can do clever stuff connecting to multiple devices. Whether your router would need to be Wifi6 too is another question. 

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1 hour ago, bear said:

How would that work though? I can't see third party's going back to add support for a PS5 lite so what would the software lineup be like? 

 

You know what, you're right, I hadn't thought about that! Well then, if Series S proves a hit, Sony may well have painted themselves into a very sticky corner late in the gen.

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I think in a few years - they could position the PS5 OG closer to S pricing (digital version) and use a higher CU chip for a pro version similar to 4 rather than release a downgraded model. By then the main costs such as the current die and the expensive SSD should come down,

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1 minute ago, Uzi said:

I think in a few years - they could position the PS5 OG closer to S pricing (digital version) and use a higher CU chip for a pro version similar to 4 rather than release a downgraded model. By then the main costs such as the current die and the expensive SSD should come down,

Imagine how much the S would cost then. They'd be paying you to have one.

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