Video: PlayStation 4 Teardown Details What's Inside Sony's PS4 Console
Today WIRED shared pictures and a [Register or Login to view links] of a PlayStation 4 teardown detailing exactly what's inside Sony's next-generation PS4 console below.
To quote: TOKYO - Inside Sony headquarters, at the heart of Tokyo’s Shinagawa district, Yasuhiro Ootori is about to reveal something that almost no one outside the Japanese tech giant has ever seen: the inside of a PlayStation 4.
It’s the middle of October, four weeks before the new game console is due to reach stores in the U.S. and Canada, and Ootori - director of the mechanical engineering team in charge of the PS4 - is surrounded by a phalanx of other Sony engineers, several PR handlers, two journalists, and six guys set to capture the moment on video. Not to mention the interpreter who will instantly translate his commentary into English.
The video producer slaps his hands in front of the two cameras - an imitation of an old movie clapboard - and the Sony man spends the next hour and half taking the console apart, piece by sacred piece. He even wears white gloves. It’s the world’s first PlayStation 4 teardown.
What we see is a hardware architecture that’s both simple and powerful. With longtime game designer Mark Cerny leading the way, lending his software-minded expertise to Ootori and the rest of the hardware engineering team, Sony abandoned the overly complex Cell microprocessor that drove the PlayStation 3, building the PS4 around an “x86″ chip similar to the processors that have driven most of our personal computers for the last three decades. The idea was to make it that much easier for developers to build games for the new console, to create the things that will ultimately capture our attention.
“We ended up with a platform that was more appropriately targeted at the game - which is kind of the point - and less about designing a hardware platform in a vacuum,” says Chris Zimmerman, the co-founder and director of development at Sucker Punch Productions, a game designer owned by Sony that is currently building a title InFAMOUS: Second Son for the new console.
“Things have gotten a little more standard, in layman’s terms. The Sony hardware, historically, has been very quirky. If you were willing to put the effort in to take advantage of those quirks, you could do some incredible things, but there was a lot of effort involved to just get to the point of getting everything running. That’s less the case with this [console] generation.”
That said, the PS4 still goes beyond the average PC, combining a CPU, the central brain of any computer, with a GPU, which is typically used to render graphics. The result is a processor that can juggle those two roles with unusual efficiency, as it taps into 8GB of GDDR5 memory - 16 times what you got with the PS3. What this ultimately gives you, Cerny explains, are “richer” game worlds. In other words, if you enter a virtual city during a PS4 game, “everyone looks different - finally.”
Zimmerman says much the same thing. “There is more fine detail on everything on the screen, but for us, the real changes are more qualitative,” he explains, explaining that the console has allowed games to offer, among other things, a more realistic lighting model. “Things we couldn’t do before - like wet streets - we can now do an exceptional job on.”
It should be noted that many high-end PC gaming rigs provide much the same horsepower as the PS4, but the console certainly exceeds what you get in the new world of mobile games, and it offers one thing you don’t get from a PC: the enormous game machine that is Sony, which owns a wide array of well-known game design houses, including Sucker Punch. It’s these design houses that will ultimately show the worth of the PS4. “It’s not the box that counts as much as the games,” says Harold Goldberg, a game pundit and author of the book All Your Base Are Belong to Us: How 50 Years of Videogames Conquered Pop Culture.
In the photos above, you’ll also notice the power adapter tucked inside the console - which means the PS4 won’t clutter your living room with an external power brick - and you’ll find all the other hardware essential to any modern console, from Wi-Fi and Bluetooth antennas to an optical drive that reads DVDs and Blu-ray discs. It’s a tight fit for all this hardware inside the rather slim PS4, but the console was carefully designed to efficiently move heat out of the enclosure, using two heat pipes and a specially designed centrifugal fan.
What the console doesn’t give you is hardware that can play PS3 games. But you can’t have everything.
Details from the pictures attached below:
Sony engineering director Yasuhiro Ootori looks over a PlayStation 4 - after taking it apart, piece by piece.
The PlayStation 4 - in one piece - and its controller, the DualShock 4.
The underside of the PlayStation 4, whose look and feel was overseen by Sony design guru Tetsu Sumii.
The rear of the PS4, where you'll find an AUX port (for a PS Camera), an HDMI out port (for TVs and other audio-visual devices), an optical digital audio out port (for audio devices), and a LAN port (for connecting to a network).
The eject and power buttons on the front of the system.
The two USB ports on the front of the system.
Another view of the back of the console, where you can also connect power.
A closeup of the rear ports.
The DualShock 4 controller, designed in the image of the DualShock 3 (with a few new additions, including a touch pad and a button for sharing your game play with others).
A rear view of the DualShock 4.
A front view of the DualShock 4, where you can see the iconic Sony light bar.
Ootori holds the console's optical drive, which plays DVDs and Blu-ray disks.
The PS4's internal parts, after the teardown. The motherboard is the large green piece on the right.
The PS4's central frame.
Sony's specially designed centrifugal fan (top).
The PS4 heatsink, used to draw heat from the central processor.
A closeup of the green motherboard. The central processor is that big thing on the right, surrounded by eight memory chips. The other eight memory chips are on the other side of the board.
To quote: The thorough analysis from the Web site rates the PS4 an 8 out of 10 based on repairability, additionally showing that common hardware issues preventing the PS4 from outputting a video signal to the display is likely the cause of a bent or damaged HDMI port on the console.
The PS4 breakdown also gives a closer look at the user-replaceable hard drive which can be replaced "with any off-the shelf drive you like" as long as it is no thicker than 9.5 mm and no smaller than 160 GB.
Deeper into the belly of the PS4 shows the system's power supply is rated at an AC Input of 100 to 240 volts, meaning "you can take your game around the world with your trusty PS4 always at your side" as long as you have a standard power socket adapter. The PS4 motherboard features integrated circuits including:
Samsung K4G41325FC-HC03 4 Gb (512 MB) GDDR5 RAM (total of 16 x 512 MB = 8 GB)
SCEI CXD90025G Secondary/Low Power Processor for Network Tasks
Samsung K4B2G1646E-BCK0 2Gb DDR3 SDRAM
Macronix MX25L25635FMI 256Mb Serial Flash Memory
Marvell 88EC060-NN82 Ethernet Controller
Genesys Logic GL3520 USB 3.0 Hub Controller
Samsung K4G41325FC-HC03 4 Gb (512 MB) GDDR5 RAM
International Rectifier 35858 N326P IC2X
Macronix 25L1006E CMOS Serial Flash Memory
39A207 1328 E1 3FU
However, despite the ability to tear apart the PS4, Sony warns: "There is a risk of exposure to laser radiation as well as to electrical shock."
PS4 Teardown / PlayStation 4 Teardown
T9 Torx Security Screwdriver
Phillips #0 Screwdriver
Phillips #1 Screwdriver
Step 1 - PlayStation 4 Teardown
We'd like to send out a big thank you to our friends at Chipworks for hosting our remote teardown of the newest Sony Play-device, the Play-Doh.
Available in every color combination
Infinitely upgradeable, easily modified
Perfect for lighting tests
No, but really, we're tearing down the PlayStation 4. Bits we expect to find include:
8-core AMD “Jaguar” x86-64 CPU
1.84 TFLOPS, AMD Radeon Graphics Core Next Engine GPU
8 GB GDDR5 RAM
500 GB removable and upgradable hard drive storage
802.11 b/g/n Wireless and Bluetooth 2.1
USB 3.0 + Ethernet 10/100/1000
1.21 Gigawatt Flux Capacitor (okay, this one is more along the lines of a request than an actual expectation)
What kind of hardware has a 7-year gestation? We can hardly open the box fast enough. The first peek reveals:
Another box. Moving on.
PS4 console (if this is missing from your box, please contact your Sony Computer Entertainment representative)
DualShock 4 controller
Mono headset with mic, switch, and shirt clip
Here at iFixit, we're stalwart opponents of the black box mentality. What goes on inside consumer electronics should not be an incomprehensible (nor non-repairable) mystery. That being said, we must concede that the PS4 is one darn good looking black box.
Seven years of design innovation bring the PS4 a distinctly more geometric body, an indicator light bar, and more subtle logo labeling than last time round. We also find:
Slot-loading Blu-ray/DVD disc drive
Two powered USB 3.0 ports
Some fine print touting the PlayStation's pals - HDMI, DTS, Dolby, and Blu-ray.
Now that you've unboxed your shiny new monolith, you'll be wanting to connect it to something. 'Round back, Sony supplies some portage:
Digital optical audio out
Proprietary auxiliary port for connecting external devices, such as the PlayStation Camera
Reports have been trickling in around the internet about some PlayStation 4s malfunctioning. One such hardware problem, as noted by Kotaku, prevents the PS4 from outputting a video signal to the display. According to Kotaku, it seems a "piece of metal in the system's HDMI port was supposed to have been flush with the bottom of the port but instead had been bent upward, obstructing some of the pins in the port."
This "obstructing piece of metal... had actually knocked some of the 'teeth' out of the HDMI wire - the one bundled with that PS4." TL;DR - If your PS4 is having issues outputting video, make sure the HDMI port isn't bent or damaged.
We're happy to see Sony give power to the people with the PS4's hard drive: it's user-replaceable.
We'll have a detailed guide shortly for those intrepid gamers who fancy a bigger drive or a zippy SSD - but for now, rest easy knowing all that stands between you and hard drive nirvana is a plastic cover and some screws.
Out comes the 5400 RPM, 500 GB, SATA II mechanical hard drive, provided by HGST (a Western Digital subsidiary). With just a single screw securing the caddy, replacing this drive is easy-peasy.
Not only is this hard drive user-replaceable, but it's a standard 2.5" (a.k.a. laptop-sized) SATA drive, meaning you can replace or upgrade your storage with any off-the-shelf drive you like, so long as it meets these standards: no thicker than 9.5 mm, and no smaller than 160 GB. Users rejoice!
But this is a bittersweet expansion win; the PS4 will not support external USB storage, drastically limiting the console's usefulness as a media center.
Digging deeper demands we dispose of some dastardly stickers. Paying no mind to their menacing anti-repair messages, we quickly discard them with the help of our trusty tweezers... only to be confronted with some mildly devious Security Torx screws.
Lucky for us, specialty screws ain't no thang, as we bust out our Pro Tech Screwdriver Set. While we're happy this isn't a stick-up (of the adhesive type), this mischief won't go unnoticed when it comes time to assign a repairability score.
We interrupt this teardown to bring you a special news bulletin: The dreaded anti-repair Empire has issued some propaganda against your rights to disassemble, modify, hack, improve, individualize, and do-whatever-the-bleep-you-want-because-it's-your-device.
It's a trap! This propaganda claims to be green, but we have doubts about just how recyclable this device is. We want you - to rise up and revolt! Repair is the future. It is your right. Raise your manifesto high, and join the Repair Allliance! And now back to your regularly scheduled program...
Happily ignoring our user manual's edict, we move right along... and remove the four T9 Security Torx screws, allowing us to pop the hood on the fourth generation model of the Sony PlayStation. Our eyes widen as we wait for a first look at what makes this beauty purr.
And yet, we're seeing nothing but tightly packed feelings of nostalgia. Just look how things have changed.
In Sony's self-made PlayStation 4 teardown, Director of Engineering, Yasuhiro Ootori, gave us a look at the custom-designed, 85 mm diameter, centrifugal fan:
"The volume of air and the generated pressure, as well as the direction of airflow, are all part of the exclusive PS4 design." In this exclusive video, our Chief Information Architect, Miroslav Djuric, presents his own take on this marvel of engineering.
Our remote-controlled teardown engineer unscrews and pops out some nifty retaining brackets... whilst enjoying a much-deserved, and distinctly Canadian, snack with our pals at Chipworks.
Brackets and donuts dispatched, we turn our attention to freeing the power supply. No brick to trip over on your power cable - this power supply is still nestled right inside the case.
The power supply is rated at an AC Input of 100-240 volts. This means you can take your game around the world with your trusty PS4 always at your side; just remember to bring your power socket adapters.
You haven't escaped this teardown, yet, power supply. Time to divulge your juicy secrets. Ridding the power supply of its housing reveals just what we expected: big capacitors, none of which gave the flux we were looking for.
It looks like this power supply is only moving forward in time. (sigh) Now that the power supply has been removed, you can finally clean your fan. Having an internal power supply means that the PS4 will need to keep its cool-making fan cleaning important maintenance.
The Blu-ray/DVD drive is our next target, held in place by a couple screws. Unfortunately, the PS4 is NOT backward-compatible with PS3, PS2 or PS1 games. This drive may spin your old discs, but it won't play them.
Oddly enough, it won't play music CDs, either, although this appears to be a mere software limitation that Sony plans to fix in a later update. But who needs an optical drive at all anymore, now that we've harnessed the power of the cloud?
That being the case, Sony plans to launch a game-streaming service in 2014 powered by Gaikai tech, which will let you play PS3 games on a PS4. All the processing will be done ‘in the cloud’ by Sony’s servers, with just the video transmitted to your actual console.
That's all well and good, but let's get down to what we really care about: Can we play Crash Bandicoot?
This is the story of an optical drive and his board... Join them on a journey of discovery, to find out just what they're made of. We found a few ICs on the optical drive board:
Renesas SCEI RJ832841FP1
Microchip Technology 312 3536A
BD7763EFV 325 T62
STM8ED 9H A07 VG MYS 331Z
In a race for the motherboard, we tear through a few screws securing the PS4's body. We're peeling off panels like we're remodeling a vintage 1960s den. We're so close; we can almost taste the chips (secretly, we're hoping they're Fully Loaded Baked Potato flavor). Soon, motherboard, soon.
At long last, we get to crack open that glorious briefcase of brainpower and withdraw our treasure. Unlike the motherboards we see in ever-slimming handheld devices, the PS4's motherboard flaunts uncluttered, rolling, green plains of fiberglass.
These images are courtesy of Chipworks. Thanks guys!
The case is starting to look sparse as we evacuate the EMI shielding. Determined to stay connected, the heat sink clung to the EMI shielding for dear life. It would not come apart. Believe us. We tried. It fought back.
Band-aids don't make for the prettiest of teardown photos, but we wear our repair scars with pride! Our honorable teardown martyr commented, "This EMI shield is great, as in cheese grater."
At long last, the PS4's biggest fan! Okay, yes, that was a bad pun. But it is a pretty great fan. Look at those curves.
Beauty is one thing, but this fan's also got function: it's designed to run smarter and quieter than the old PS3's wheezy windmill, spooling up and down gradually to keep the decibel count low.
Every self-respecting new device needs its own scandalgate. So as we near the end of our PS4 disassembly, we'll take a moment to share our own confirmation of wobblegate. The confirmation: Yes, it wobbles if you push on it. The solution: Don't push on it.
Teardown finally complete, we throw the pieces down on the table in victory. And then neaten up the pile a bit, because our Moms are watching. Hi, Mom!
Sony PlayStation 4 Repairability Score: 8 out of 10 (10 is easiest to repair):
No adhesive makes disassembly and reassembly easy.
The non-proprietary hard drive is easy to access and replace, and replacing it will not void your warranty.
Security screws and tamper-evident seals discourage users from disassembling and repairing their PS4.
You'll need to disassemble quite a bit of the device to access the fan for cleaning, and even more for replacement.
The sharp mid-plane could cause some damage to your fingers if you're not careful during disassembly.