[ The Cold, Hard Truth ] The Trials of PlayStation 4 Fan Noise

 

The PlayStation 4 console I picked up is a first generation console that I bought from a Wal-Mart that I worked at, at the time, on the first day it was released, the moment the store opened. Since then, it’s served me very well, operating, as far as I was concerned, like it should. Don’t get me wrong, it’s had its fair share of problems but most of those problems were fairly simple fixes and most of them I could figure out with some trial and error troubleshooting. I have to say, though, a fair amount of technical knowledge always came in handy when figure out a majority of the system’s problems but none of them were hardware issues; most of them were fairly simple or, at the very worst, frustrating, software issues or network issues.

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When I set up and started using my PlayStation 4, I made sure of a few things: firstly, like all computer systems that need ventilation, I made sure it had plenty of room to breathe and that it was free and away from most sources of dust and other particles. This was the first system I’d ever stayed up for a morning release for so I’d made sure I’d taken care of it. From day one, I’d loved the flat and angular look of the system and, in the past, there was next to no different between sitting the system horizontally or vertically so I enjoyed showing off the system horizontally as it made it look like a DVD player or an old school VCR: it was a retro look that even the XBOX ONE got down pat and I loved the aesthetic look of both of them while sitting horizontally.

Lately, however, and I’m talking within the last month, maybe, the system started making this gods-awful noise: it wasn’t like issues with others’ systems where it just sounded like the system’s fan was going into overtime but it sounded more like, in my experience with taking apart, troubleshooting, and building computers, like the fan motor was slowly burning out. I live in a fairly dusty home and we rarely open a window – a habit I’m going to definitely be changing now that winter is finally done for good, I think – so I figured, okay, it’s probably insulating heat inside the console and the fan just has to work harder in order to keep the system cool, especially in high demand games… but there was barely any air flowing out of the console and it sounded like the fan was struggling to even keep up. There were times where the system sounded like the fan was going to pop and that would have been it.

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One of the biggest issues with this problem is that there was way more people – Sony included – brushing this off as a non-issue, saying that this was just how the system was built and that theirs doesn’t have issues so those issues must be the result of negligence but the one factor always remained common: nobody was being helpful. People were even counterproductive in terms of trying to find a permanent solution.

In trying to fix this, I’ve found that there are temporary solutions but there seems to be a common theme here, from all the reading I’ve done: there’s no 100% way to keep the fan from making a lot of noise during intensive system demand and once dust has gotten in, it’s really hard to get it out without taking the system apart. Seeing as I’ve not had much personal experience with taking apart this console generation’s systems apart and doing anything with them at all, I don’t feel quite that comfortable yet with doing anything hands-on with it yet without using the right equipment, so I had to fall back on some rather cruel and rudimentary tactics.

One of the leading suggestions I’d found was to vertically position the system and for a night, that actually seemed to help: in the time it took to put the system in a place where I could do so and hook it back up, it had immediately cooled down to the point where it actually took until I’d entered a Duty in Final Fantasy XIV before the fan kicked into high gear again. While the noise was pretty prominent, still, it was a whole world easier to drown out than it was before. However, it didn’t last: it wasn’t long before, the next day, where the noise was slowly beginning to return to the way it was before and I think this is where simply taking a can of compressed air to the system may come in handy, because my readings lead me to believe that any dust leftover in the system can be a problem if it’s not properly addressed and I want to try that angle before I resort to taking apart the system.

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While the issue hasn’t been fully resolved, it should be noted that this issue has presented itself much like it does in a full-size computer or laptop: just a little trial and error, luck, and persistence always wins out in the end. However, as a personal suggestion to any of you who are also having this issue, don’t let it go on for too long: damage to the fan eventually burns the motor out on that fan and once the system starts regularly overheating you’re looking at permanent damage to the system so it’s important that stuff like this be addressed as soon as possible!

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2 thoughts on “[ The Cold, Hard Truth ] The Trials of PlayStation 4 Fan Noise

  1. So TRUE. Sony just don’t care about fan noises, low quality rubber, or other technical issues.

    Sales figures are their main concern, as always.

    • So long as the problem doesn’t potentially ruin the functionality, I wouldn’t care, normally. Rubber footing and positioning are not important to me so long as the system performs as it should. Lousy internal components that are easy and cheap to resolve – as they proved with second generation consoles – such as thermal paste are just a sign of playing the penny pinching game which, unfortunately, a lot of companies do in the tech world. Look up a company called Compaq; they were bad in the 90s but once they merged up with HP it got even worse.

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