PlayStation 4 gutted and explained

The folks over at Wired have posted a video of a PS4 engineering director unboxing and disassembling Sony’s new console while explaining what each part is. He shows where the GDDR5 memory is, for instance, and points out the traces on the motherboard that make up the Wi-Fi antenna.

If you want to see how Sony put together its sleek new gaming box, the video is worth watching. (Thanks to Carl for the link.) I’m not sure about the dude calling the thing’s big, metal shield the "mainframe," though. Might not be the finest of translations.

If you’d like to see how an even more powerful gaming system is built, here’s Geoff showing the way:

Well, those are Geoff’s hands, at least.

Comments closed
    • ronch
    • 6 years ago

    The best thing I like about Sony’s PS3 and PS4 is the ability to swap out the hard drive for any higher capacity drive you can buy anywhere. I have an Xbox 360 with a 60GB HDD and I can tell you, I so wish I could just buy a WD 1TB 2.5″ drive and swap it in. 60GB is so 2007. And I don’t wanna pay M$’s premium for their christened hard drives.

      • Diplomacy42
      • 6 years ago

      last gen it mattered, this gen I doubt it will matter much. It depends on the installed file size, mostly. Both consoles come with 500GB which is honestly enough if neither one is going to be a functioning DVR/ stand alone media center. I guess you could swap in a 2 TB HDD, but I doubt it will matter.(to my knowledge, neither one will)

      what I wonder is if people will go the other way and install 256/512GB SSDs and if they do, will that make a difference?

    • moose17145
    • 6 years ago

    XBone Vs P4

    PS4 – PlayStation Eye thingy is optional, and even if you do buy it, you still end up spending less money than if you got an XBone. Yearly online subscription is ten dollars less than yearly Xbox live subscription. Lets you use other subscription services without a Playstation Network subscription. System is more powerful, smaller, and has everything fully integrated, and seems to have a surprisingly modular layout that should be easy to work on in the future (like if you ever had to / wanted to throw a bigger HDD in there).

    XBone – Much bigger than PS4 (physically), forces you to use Kinect, less powerful than PS4, comes with a crap load of “features” I have zero interest in, won’t let you use netflix or hulu without XBox Live subscription, and has a boat anchor of an external power brick… again… Seriously MS?

    EDIT: Also this…
    [url<]http://www.cinemablend.com/games/Xbox-One-Games-E3-Were-Running-Windows-7-With-Nvidia-GTX-Cards-56737.html[/url<]

      • Diplomacy42
      • 6 years ago

      you forgot MSFT charges you 24.99* per remote for the power brick, or otherwise you’ll be buying monster packs of AAs for the next decade at costco. this is included in ps4.

      Also your 2nd (3rd and 4th?) player remotes will cost you 74.99* instead of 59.99*.

      *current amazon prices

    • ronch
    • 6 years ago

    Has this ever been done before? A company representative coming forward, opening up his company’s latest creation, and explaining its innards? If it is, it’s a nice gesture towards the geek community. Thanks for that, Sony. It gets you some publicity too.

    • WhatMeWorry
    • 6 years ago

    I like how the guy doing the PS4 unboxing uses white gloves as if he’s handling delicate medieval manuscripts. It’s not a transplant organ, it is a mass produced electronic device.

    But when Major Nelson comments on the “Xbox One sticker” included in the box, the deal was settled. I’m going with Microsoft.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 6 years ago

      I’m stuck. I want to minus for the first paragraph, yet at the same time I want to plus for the sarcasm of the last one.

        • Diplomacy42
        • 6 years ago

        What makes you think it was sarcasm?

    • sschaem
    • 6 years ago

    So simple and clean.. and small… And Sony was even able to integrate the PSU inside this small box.

    Why does MS keep insisting on using boat anchor with their consoles…

    I think Microsoft need to learn a few things from Sony.
    1 fan for the entire system with integrated PSU.

    I haven’t seen the xb1 motherboard, but Sony did an amazing job on their layout.
    Great ‘cable’ (what cable) management.

    I want one, but my guess is that this will be in short supply…

    • fantastic
    • 6 years ago

    Nice video, Geoff. I would have gone off on so many tangents and lost my voice…

    Where did you get the septa vial of alcohol? I buy lots of empty vials for work.

    • the
    • 6 years ago

    I can kinda see where the rumors of PS4’s over heating are coming from. The heat sink isn’t directly attached to the SoC but has to go through the frame which acts as a heat spreader. The other factor I’m seeing is how the hot air vented from the SoC is moved through the PSU. I’m curious as to the PSU’s efficiency as it heats up and power consumption goes up during a heavy gaming session. It might be affecting PSU stability.

      • Airmantharp
      • 6 years ago

      Really just depends on how well the PSU is built. I don’t expect Sony will have a problem; I worked for UPS during both the Xbox 360 and PS3 repair surges, loading entire sets of trailers with broken units that went directly to their respective repair centers in south Texas, usually at the rate of three to five thousand units per day.

      I doubt either company really wants a repeat of that fiasco.

      • sschaem
      • 6 years ago

      Watch the video again. The heatsink directly contact the SOC.

      [url<]http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=g1h8dvqEItc#t=270[/url<] Its the ram chips that use the frame (top frame & bottom frame) as a large dual heat spreader.

        • the
        • 6 years ago

        I see the discolored square right were the CPU mounts but that doesn’t appear to be the heat sink. If you look closely you can see a line crosses both areas. Also if you a bit later in the video ( [url<]http://youtu.be/g1h8dvqEItc?t=4m38s[/url<] ) you can see that the base of the heat sink appears to be larger than the area than that colored area.

          • JohnC
          • 6 years ago

          WTF are you even talking about??? Stop at 3:01 mark, you can clearly see the cutout area in the shiny metal frame, and in that cutout area you can clearly see the silver-colored aluminum baseplate of the heatsink, covered by thermal paste. The heatsink’s aluminum baseplate is glued to the large “shiny” metal frame, for the stability and better heat dissipation reasons. Exactly the same design as on, for example, AMD’s 290x cards.

            • the
            • 6 years ago

            iFixIt has their tear down out and with it, a picture to help show what I was referring to.

            [url<]http://d3nevzfk7ii3be.cloudfront.net/igi/bcJDxQBuMrRqfBpR.huge[/url<] There is a embossed metal line that runs across the area where the heat sink makes contact. You can also see that the heat sink isn't perfectly flat but has a raised section. Looking at where the thermal paste is, the edge of the SoC is very close to the edge of the raised section of the heat sink. If mounting is a little bit off, the SoC die may not make 100% contact. This also puts to rest another one of my fears from the initial tear down video: all the GDDR5 memory chips make full contact with the aluminum frame. In the iFixIt photo above, you can see that the embossed section gets wider where two GDDR5 chips should be.

      • JohnC
      • 6 years ago

      As long as they’ll use a high-quality components (such as good electrolytic capacitors with at least 105C temp rating) blowing exhaust air through PSU should not be a problem even in a long term. I’m sure Sony did necessary tests at full load in thermally controlled environment.
      I am more concerned about that centrifugal blower potentially being somewhat noisy when playing the games…

      • tipoo
      • 6 years ago

      Nope, there is a big hole below the EMI shield which allow the copper heat pipes from the heatsink to touch the SoC directly. Watch the video sschaem replied to you with.

    • albundy
    • 6 years ago

    ROFL! Pray Staysho Fores! I’ll take Geoff’s rig hands down!

    • jthh
    • 6 years ago

    Dang. I thought I was going to get the nod on sending in this link. (Yeah, me and 500 other techreport posters who read Wired) hahaha.

    Unless Carl is a euphemism for an anonymous source. I think I’ll start using that with my wife: “Honey, where did you find out about the sale at Target?” Me: “From Carl.”

    Hahaha,

    • DPete27
    • 6 years ago

    That’s a lot of motherboard for how few components are soldered onto it. Seems like they could have made it half that size and still had plenty of space…..Slim PS4???

      • willyolio
      • 6 years ago

      yeah, i was actually surprised by how much spare mobo space they had.

        • the
        • 6 years ago

        Not I considering that most of the components are on one massive SoC. Having said that, things like the USB and SATA ports could have been run from a slightly smaller motherboard. I figured the multi-layer PCB is rather expensive compared to a few comon cables. I guess the savings stem from cheaper assembly costs and easier serviceability with the larger PCB.

          • DPete27
          • 6 years ago

          Don’t forget, they have to get those external ports to the EXTERIOR of the “main frame”. The only critical location is the rear port cluster, but it looks like Sony doesn’t like wire leads running all over, so they just extended the mobo to reach the front panel, PSU, hdd, and ODD.

          Not sure why multiple PCBs or a multi-layer PCB would be necessary. Just need some wires. Surely wires cost less than running traces across a larger PCB….?

    • TwoEars
    • 6 years ago

    Compare this to the XBOX ONE unboxing by “Major Nelson” and you have Sony Vs Microsoft in a nutshell:

    [url<]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lbrmAsxJPv4[/url<]

      • sweatshopking
      • 6 years ago

      THAT’S HILARIOUS, ACTUALLY.

      • Billstevens
      • 6 years ago

      Oh my…

      • Star Brood
      • 6 years ago

      The only notable revelation for me is that the Xbone has an external PSU. If the PSU fails on the PS4, looks like an expensive OOW replacement.

        • hilltopper06
        • 6 years ago

        If you notice in the PS4 teardown video, the PSU is pretty easy to get to (all of the components are). Getting to it will void your warranty, but post warranty self-service should not be too difficult at all. Sony has always had internal PSUs on their consoles and I have never really heard of them having failure issues (my PSX still powers on to this day).

        • sschaem
        • 6 years ago

        Why stop there?

        The optical drive should also be external so its easy to fix when it break.
        And why put the HDD inside? put it in a box outside, so its easy to service.

        .. Seriously dude?!?

        Should they also sell TV with bricks so you have an easy time replacing broken TV PSU?

        How about a brick for you Audio Receiver? Brick for your printer ? Brick for your monitor ? etc…

          • insulin_junkie72
          • 6 years ago

          [quote<]Should they also sell TV with bricks so you have an easy time replacing broken TV PSU?[/quote<] They already do, actually. Some of the thinner/more energy-efficient TVs have the PSU in an external brick.

            • sschaem
            • 6 years ago

            But to the original point. Those TV/monitors dont do it because they need to be owner replaceable.

            The PS4 psu is designed to work for the lifetime of the device, like the VRM section, they are not supposed to be owner serviceable.
            Its not Sony first rodeo, they are power suppy experts and have been designing them for over 30 years.

            To recap, there is no benefits in having a separate bricks for consoles.

      • DPete27
      • 6 years ago

      “4k rated HDMI chord…” except that the XBOne only renders games at 720p…

        • sweatshopking
        • 6 years ago

        [quote<] only renders COD at 720p [/quote<] ftfy

          • Firestarter
          • 6 years ago

          it’s only a huge AAA blockbuster game, no biggy

            • sweatshopking
            • 6 years ago

            it’s a launch title of a poorly coded game. it’s still running the quake 3 engine. it CAN run higher than 720, which was my point. i’m sure many games will run native at 1080. 4k? never.

            • mcnabney
            • 6 years ago

            Actually, no. Consoles and PC are essentially the same now. No PowerPC. No Cell. That argument is invalid. BOTH of the consoles are already limited (because their GPUs are 3 years old). This should not come as a surprise. The new consoles are ALREADY at their max – struggling to get to 1080p. Or to put it bluntly – they will never run Crysis 3.

            • LostCat
            • 6 years ago

            Never run Crysis 3? The Xbox 360 and PS3 do.

            • auxy
            • 6 years ago

            Not really. Calling that the same game as the PC version is outright dishonest.

            • mesyn191
            • 6 years ago

            The memory architecture of the Xb1 makes it different enough from the PS4 to throw some wrinkles into developing cross platform titles for both.

            • f0d
            • 6 years ago

            isnt battlefield 4 and titanfall 720p also on xbone?

            • DPete27
            • 6 years ago

            True statements. The graphical demands of all games will be different, and coding will improve. With BF4/COD and other launch titles, developers were struggling to code their games to a platform that was still changing/evolving. That said, it doesn’t bode well when developers are ALREADY struggling to get 1080p from these new consoles. How will they handle games 6-10 years from now?

            I’m not sure they need to be enforcing the “60fps target” so strictly. I’d rather have a game running 1080p @ constant 50fps than 720p @ 60fps. Of course, there’s a point where the tradeoff isn’t worth it…but.

            • nanoflower
            • 6 years ago

            4K support is likely there for future video use such as cable TV if/when it becomes available. I doubt they expect any games to use 4k.

          • C-A_99
          • 6 years ago

          CoD, BF4, etc.

          • derFunkenstein
          • 6 years ago

          Sorry dude that’s a huge deal for a high profile game for a system that’s not even out yet in 2013.

        • Meadows
        • 6 years ago

        How do you know?

        • TwoEars
        • 6 years ago

        I don’t think we’ll see Major Nelson doing any more product demos in the near future.

      • lilbuddhaman
      • 6 years ago

      The better version if you haven’t seen it:
      [url<]http://cheezburger.com/7732814592[/url<] (tried to upload myself but was too big)

        • jthh
        • 6 years ago

        This honestly made my day.

        • RenatoPassos
        • 6 years ago

        OMGWTFROFLMAO!!!!

        Made my day! 😀

      • MadManOriginal
      • 6 years ago

      Am I the only one who thinks ‘unboxing videos’ are stupid as hell?

        • mcnabney
        • 6 years ago

        They are useful if you are concerned about size, cord lengths, and other details about what is supposed to come with the product. So sometimes useful.

          • MadManOriginal
          • 6 years ago

          Those basic specs are quoted by the manufacturer.

      • wierdo
      • 6 years ago

      Ridge racer, riiiiidge racerrrr.

        • MadManOriginal
        • 6 years ago

        Needs more giant crabs.

          • Krogoth
          • 6 years ago

          Where you must hit their weak point for massive damage……

      • ronch
      • 6 years ago

      Well, this guy’s Japanese. They do things a bit… differently.

      (For the record I’m in no way trying to make Japs or Americans look good or bad, so no down-thumbs, please. I’m feeling a bit sensitive today.)

      • ssidbroadcast
      • 6 years ago

      It’s like… a flamboyant Billy Mays versus Jiro the sushi chef. Sony has way more class.

    • JohnC
    • 6 years ago

    Pretty impressive how modular everything is and how easy it is to disassemble everything.

      • ClickClick5
      • 6 years ago

      Already bought a 750GB Black HDD and I’ll be repasting this fellow at midnight. Ooo I’m ready!

        • DPete27
        • 6 years ago

        Looks like the hdd he took out of there was a WD Black.

          • NeelyCam
          • 6 years ago

          It needs a damn SSD

            • JohnC
            • 6 years ago

            I am wondering if it will actually work – for example replacing stock HDD with a Crucial M500 960GB model, and how much difference it will make… Maybe I should try it out.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 6 years ago

            It worked in the PS3 though my understanding is that it didn’t make a ton of difference.

            • JohnC
            • 6 years ago

            It should make a difference with PS4 considering that all games for it must use HDD for caching purposes…

            • derFunkenstein
            • 6 years ago

            Many games on the ps3 not only supported it but required it. Still didn’t seem to matter. It would be nice but I’m not counting on it. It doesn’t even make the drastic difference on a PC that an SSD does in other areas like booting. If they’re optimized to stream sustained reads as opposed to random ones then it doesn’t matter as much.

            Not to say it won’t matter at all. It’ll have an effect. I just don’t think it’s worth the money myself. I put a 7200 rpm drive in my ps3 and I anticipate doing the same with the ps4 if necessary. Just don’t forget it’s an AMD SATA controller in this thing, not Intel. 😉

            • JohnC
            • 6 years ago

            Well, controller doesn’t matter much – Sony probably rewrote the drivers for it as well as firmware… The OS, however, might not have a proper support for SSDs and stuff like TRIM command, so yea, SSDs might not be a very good idea for it, unless Sony will explicitly say that it’s ok to use them…

            • Diplomacy42
            • 6 years ago

            you’d think that with up to 50GB game files, it would make a difference…

            • derFunkenstein
            • 6 years ago

            If this thing was launching at $500, I’d agree. But if it really needs a big pile of storage, an SSD runs up the cost in a hurry.

            • DPete27
            • 6 years ago

            SSHD

            • ClickClick5
            • 6 years ago

            At 40GB a game install?!? That would eat up the SSD! 256GB at say $250. Say 200GB, 40GB a game, 5 games. Woot.

            Both killzone and nba 2k14 take a junk ton of space to install.

            EDIT: I can post game case pics if need be.

            • JohnC
            • 6 years ago

            So? I recently bought the 960GB Crucial’s SSD – it should have plenty of space for game caching and downloading purposes and the price is irrelevant to the people who can afford it…

    • Sargent Duck
    • 6 years ago

    Geoff should have gotten his girlfriend to use her hands for that video. Brings me back a couple years ago when she held those PC components.

      • sweatshopking
      • 6 years ago

      GEOFF SHOULD JUST MARRY HER. AMIRITE? IT’S BEEN FOREVER, AND REALLY, HE’S LUCKY HE HAS HER. HE SHOULD MOVE ON IT BEFORE CYRIL SLIDES IN AND STEALS HER.

        • willyolio
        • 6 years ago

        can’t trust those french dudes with your girlfriends, man…

        • anotherengineer
        • 6 years ago

        And that Mastercraft screwdriver just screams amateur, but also says Canadian so that’s ok, everyone has to start somewhere.

          • UberGerbil
          • 6 years ago

          A screwdriver is a screwdriver. Spend your money on the tools that matter, and buy the other stuff cheap at Canadian Tire.

    • gigafinger
    • 6 years ago

    Neat video. I believe “mainframe” should be two words: main frame. Maybe a lot of components mount to it.

      • ClickClick5
      • 6 years ago

      That is also Sony’s chief hardware director.

      EDIT: He shall now be know as “The Dude”. Sorry Jeff Bridges.

    • Chrispy_
    • 6 years ago

    Heh, I chuckled at such a blatant plug for Geoff’s handiwork 🙂

    But yes, “even more powerful gaming system” it most certainly is….

      • TwoEars
      • 6 years ago

      Hehe, I thought of that too. It is a good video though!

      Probably the best I’ve seen of how to build a PC actually.

      I think it’s up to +170.000 views on youtube now.

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