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PlayStation 5 uses liquid metal — here’s why that’s cool

PlayStation 5 is going to ship to consumers with liquid metal between its AMD system-on-a-chip and its heatsink. This is something that was unthinkable in previous consoles for a number of reasons. But Sony engineers have tackled the challenges, and this could enable the PS5 to expel heat much faster than its predecessors.

Heat management is a huge part of engineering any electronics system. And Sony obviously emphasized the importance of cooling during the PS5’s design phase. This might result in the PS5 running cooler and quieter. But more important, it should enable the system to run demanding games without crashing.

Let’s break down what this all means first.

PlayStation 5’s liquid metal is necessary due to extreme temperatures

Processors generate heat. That is an inevitable byproduct of the way they work. And modern CPUs and GPUs can produce a lot of heat without sacrificing stability and performance. But if temperatures around a processor get too high, it can begin to cause errors due to misfires in the transistors. That’s where cooling comes in.

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Cooling usually works by putting a conductive material onto the chip to route the heat outside of the system. The important part of this system is called the heatsink. But to get the most out of that routing, you want to ensure as strong a connection between the chip and the heatsink as possible. And that’s the job of the thermal interface material (TIM).

Typically, systems use a paste-style TIM, but that isn’t good enough for the PS5. During his teardown of the PS5, Sony engineering vice president Yasuhiro Ootori explained why.

“The PS5’s SoC is a small die running at a very high clock rate,” Ootori said. “This