PS5 Fan Noise Reportedly Whisper Quiet, Unlike the PS4

PS5 will reportedly be whisper quiet, even when playing graphically demanding games like Godfall -- according to 4Gamer's hands-on previews.

By Lou Contaldi

October 4, 2020

While it’s a foregone conclusion that the PS4 is one of the most beloved pieces of hardware from this generation, it isn’t without criticism — notably the volume of the system’s fan under strain. With this in mind, one of the leading questions for the PS5 has always been how effective the heat management would be, and would it be “quiet.” Following reports from 4Gamer’s hands-on preview, we now know that the system is nearly whisper-quiet — even when playing graphically demanding games like Godfall.

As noted above, the report comes from 4Gamer (and transitions from YouTuber Mystic) that have been lightly edited for readability. In the quotes, the previewer notes his subjective breakdown of the fan noise while under load.

In the quote below, the previewer is testing the system while playing the upcoming PS5 game Godfall, all the while noting that the system is indeed getting hot. While the studio itself was registering around 86° F during recording, the console itself was getting as hot as 140° F. Even still, it was described that the air coming from the exhaust was “gently” and not extremely hot. Even better, 4Gamer notes that they “could hardly hear what seemed to be the rotating noise of the fan.”

“What is the temperature of the main body with the cooling mechanism of PS5? I started playing one of the launch titles, Godfall. After a while I checked it, but the wind coming out of the exhaust was gentle and didn’t feel extremely hot. At the time, the temperature of the studio was around 30° C  (86° F). From the specifications of the installed SOC, it is considered that it operates at around 55-60° C (131-140° F). When it is running that hot, you might wonder, “Isn’t the noise of the fan goign to be loud?” But the opposite is true. As mentioned above, the exhaust was gentle, and I could hardly hear what seemed to be the rotating noise of the fan.”

Reiterating this point, 4Gamer confirms that they were relieved that the final build’s exhaust heat and noise “aren’t noticeable”:

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I introduced the development machine this time, but when I summarized the PS5 that I actually saw, the balance between specs, appearance and price was strange, and it was a finish that made me want to say that it would be too cheap. I could only look at the PS5 itself, but I’m relieved that the exhaust heat and noise aren’t noticeable. If anything, I was surprised at the finish of the DualSense.

Worth noting, this wasn’t just an impression of the console from a distance away from it. While checking the fan noise, 4Gamer notes that they got up close to the exhaust. However, unlike the PS4, there was no discernable “roar” that typically occurs when the PS4 is under load:

At that point, I noticed that the operating noise of the main unit is also very quiet. I tend to forget it because I concentrate during gameplay, but it didn’t make a ‘roar’ when I went near the main unit. The PS4’s rfan noise becomes more noticeable as soon as the load increases, but the PS5’s impression is less noticeable. Of course, I didn’t really focus on ‘fan sound only’ in a testing envirnoment.

The quote above also mentions that there wasn’t a formal control test on the sound of PS5’s fan — and to a degree, it is the subjective opinion of the previewer. However, until Digital Foundry does a breakdown, 4Gamer seems to keep an air of certainty that their opinion isn’t hyperbole (absent control testing):

Even if you put your ears close to the back of PS5’s body, you only think “Oh, fans are turning around.” Subjectively, the impression that ‘the console is much quieter’ is not a mistake.

This is obviously fantastic news for the PS5, and addresses one of the major concerns that Sony came away with from the current generation. While a ‘quiet console’ and heat management is not normally on the top of the list when it comes to next-gen features, it speaks to how well future games will run and the overall quality of the hardware build itself.

The PS5 is set to launch on November 12, 2020; the console has been perpetually sold out since pre-orders were surprise-dropped, but keep an eye on Amazon as more stock becomes available.

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Lou Contaldi

Lou Contaldi specializes in both reviews and the business behind gaming. He began writing about tech and video games while getting his Juris Doctor at Hofstra University School of Law. He is maybe the only gaming journo based in Nashville, TN.

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