There’s a new PlayStation 5 model on the market – a CFI-1100 series unit that replaces the launch model CFI-1000. I’ve already shared early impressions about the machine, finding that in all practical terms, there is no meaningful difference between PS5s old and new. However, questions remain about the decisions made in how Sony has delivered this new rendition of the PlayStation 5 and ultimately, if there really is any genuine difference between them, particularly in terms of longer-term implications. Crucially, if the cooling assembly has been the subject of a cost-reduction strategy, does the machine run hotter, and if it does, to what extent does that actually matter?
To assess the PlayStation 5 from all dimensions, I spent some time devising a series of performance tests for the console, comparing the new CFI-1100 model to a launch machine. This turned out to be somewhat more challenging than you might imagine because fundamentally, one of the biggest successes of the new wave of consoles is that game performance is generally excellent. Getting meaningful numbers is a case of isolating repeatable situations in a range of games where we can either unlock frame-rate, or bring about sustained drops beneath 60 frames per second. In theory, this testing should be entirely superfluous – because the whole point of a console is that all machines should run in exactly the same way. With that said, it occurred to me that PlayStation 5 does have a boost clock and while its implementation as described by Sony should ensure consistent results from one machine to the next, this has never been comprehensively tested. Meanwhile, some users erroneously believe the boost clock to be similar to a PC implementation, which does adjust frequencies according to temperatures – so why not put it to the test and put the whole matter to bed once and for all?