The PlayStation 5 (PS5) may have a cooling system that uses liquid metal as an interface between processor and heatsinks, according to a Sony patent released last week.
The liquid metal would replace the common thermal paste, in order to help control the temperature of the PS5. Thus, the console would not depend on the high-speed rotation of the cooler all the time – which would end the “turbine noise”. Loud sound is a feature “hated” by some PS4 and PS4 Pro users, who use regular thermal grease.
It is worth remembering that the patent does not guarantee that the technology reaches the PS5. The record is just an indication that Sony engineers investigated the idea and even developed the concept. So far, the manufacturer has not revealed the release date or the price of the new video game.
The use of liquid metal is not new in high performance PCs and, although it requires care in its application, it offers a heat exchange capacity far superior to traditional thermal pastes. Lower temperature means a quieter console during use – a feature that would solve a recurring criticism of PS4 and PS4 Pro, known for “turbine noise” when playing heavier titles.
The idea of using liquid metal is to create a bridge that connects the surface of the processor and the base of the system’s heat sink. The metal in question – usually gallium, which melts at room temperature – would create a uniform bond between the two surfaces, ensuring a uniform physical connection to better drain the temperature.
As metals offer excellent thermal conductivity, the liquid metal would have a greater capacity than a conventional thermal paste to dissipate the heat generated by the PS5 during use. By releasing heat more efficiently, the console would depend less on a high-speed cooler, decreasing the noise emission during stress and high demand situations. Another positive effect is the durability of the components, which would be less subject to wear by heat.
Sony’s patent details a resin system resistant to ultraviolet light, which is able to isolate metallic fluid from the outside – a fundamental precaution to prevent accidents. In PCs, the use of liquid metal for temperature control is not new, but it imposes a series of important precautions. If improperly applied, the metallic compound can run and short-circuit the plate components. Another problem is that, in contact with aluminum, the liquid metal is highly corrosive.
Another restriction is that gallium is very reactive and keeping it isolated would be essential to prevent contamination of the material from impairing its ability to conduct heat. On PCs that use liquid metal, it is common practice to replace the compound from time to time precisely for problems of contamination, loss of efficiency and corrosion.
The development of a design based on these challenges – avoiding the presence of aluminum and completely isolating the liquid metal from the outside world – may explain why the cooling system is one of the villains of the PS5 cost spreadsheet. In February, Bloomberg released a news item detailing that the PS5’s manufacturing cost per unit reached US $ 450 (R $ 2,465, in direct conversion) and that the price marked by the refrigeration technology was “unusually high, reaching the home of a few dollars per unit. ”
Another clue that the solution may appear on the PS5 is the statement by Mark Cerny, system architect at Sony, during the presentation of the new console’s technologies. Cerny said players will be “very happy” with the PlayStation 5’s cooling.
On the other hand, it is worth remembering that the disclosure of the patent registered in Japan does not guarantee that the use of liquid metal is part of the PS5. The idea’s documentation reflects only Sony’s interest in the technology to the point that its engineers developed the concept and its application.