One of the great technological innovations of PS5 lies in the use of the liquid metal in the process of cooling the console.
We had mentioned the feature in our design analysis, and the consequent teardown of the next-gen platform, but thanks to VentureBeat we can take an additional look at why liquid metal was used and ultimately why it is so important.
PlayStation 5 will be one of the first consumer products to adopt liquid metal like TIM and, colleagues from VentureBeat, this is «something worth noting [perché] required a serious dedication to innovation ».
What is TIM and what is it for
The cooling process is very important because Modern CPUs and GPUs produce a lot of heat, and they must be able to do so without compromising on performance and stability. If the temperatures get too high, the transistors may not turn on properly and this would cause errors.
Cooling intervenes at this juncture: to activate it you need a TIM, a thermal interface material, which is a conductive material that is placed on the chip to convey the heat out of the chip and put it in the heatsink, which takes care of sending it outside the console.
Why was liquid metal chosen for PS5?
TIM is usually a paste but Sony explained that this solution was not sufficient for the frequencies it travels at PlayStation 5, as explained by chief engineer Yasuhiro Ootori in the video teardown of the console:
The PS5 SoC is a small chip that runs on a very high frequency. This led to a very high thermal density in the circuit, which required us to significantly increase the performance of the thermal conductor, also known as TIM, which resides between the SoC and the heatsink.
PS5 uses liquid metal like TIM to ensure stable and high cooling performance over the long term ».
What problems can liquid metal bring to PS5?
So far it is a solution that it was poorly adopted for three reasons: liquid metal is electronically conductive, which means that it could cause problems if it came into contact with other parts of the chip; it moves a lot, and this makes it difficult to fit into a product to be shipped around the world; in the past, at least, liquid metal did not have great durability.
To make sure he gets around these problems, Ootori explained that “we have spent over two years preparing for adoption of this liquid metal cooling mechanism. Various plausible tests were conducted during the process of its adoption. ‘
If all goes well, then, we will end up with one PlayStation 5 able to cool down more quickly, also thanks to a heatsink arranged vertically along the entire hardware area.
Microsoft has chosen a vapor chamber for his Xbox Series X, more modern than the classic heat sink, but on the other hand it has a “simple” thermal paste like TIM; it will be interesting to see how they both fare for noise and cooling, a detail of no small importance.