New Sony PlayStation 5 heatsink testing reveals no real differences from older model

Prasad, 16 September 2021

Last month, we reported on the updated Sony PlayStation 5 model, which featured some notable changes. The changes were first brought to light by YouTuber Austin Evans, who noticed the difference in the heatsink sizes between the 2020 and the 2021 models, and concluded that the 2021 model was worse.

In our article, we questioned the legitimacy of the testing Evans conducted and also the conclusion drawn from it. Turns out, there was a good reason to do so, as according to a new report jointly published by Gamers Nexus and Digital Foundry, there's not really much of a difference between the old and new models.

Gamers Nexus, who did the bulk of the thermal testing on three PlayStation 5 models, including a 2020 standard edition, 2020 digital edition, and 2021 standard edition, concluded that the SoC (system-on-chip) of the newer model ran a few degrees hotter. While objectively worse, GN concluded the difference was too small to make any impact to the console or the user.

Digital Foundry further tested these claims by benchmarking both, the 2020 and the 2021 consoles, in multiple games. The result? Identical performance. Even when the consoles were deliberate caused to warm up by placing them in a restricted space, the results still didn't change.

Gamers Nexus also noted that the memory and the VRM MOSFET, which were running quite warm on their original 2020 model, are now running a bit cooler. They concluded this was more due to the change to a newer fan design rather than any differences on the heatsink. The change in the design of the fan was also something that came up in Evans' video.

Overall then, there's not much to say about the console itself. The smaller and lighter heatsink on the 2021 model doesn't adversely effect the performance of the console in any meaningful way. One should still be taking care of the console by not stuffing it inside a closed cabinet and also cleaning it regularly. Even if you do just that, it doesn't matter which version of the console you have.

You can read our review of the 2020 PlayStation 5 here.



Reader comments

  • Anonym
  • 20 Sep 2021
  • Lci

It's more like when engineers need to design a cooling solution *without* access to the final hardware (because it didn't exist at that moment) their absolute best is still a guesswork that can be optimized further once the actual boards wi...

  • inoticedsomething
  • 20 Sep 2021
  • RN5

The comparison is skewed because from an engineering perspective, the newer heatsink's (or cooling system as an entire entity) "design" is actually better for long-term use because it is less likely to trap as much dust, and so will re...

  • lol
  • 17 Sep 2021
  • 0U6

move the thermometer few inches away and the conclusion will be that the new design actually improves the cooling. haha

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