Sony refreshed its PlayStation 5 console about a month ago. Gaming tech enthusiasts have revealed little by little, the underlying changes delivered with the CFI-1202 consoles on the web and social media. The critical difference that precipitated the new compact cooling system and lighter build is Sony’s shiny new Oberon Plus processor inside the refreshed consoles.
The first two revisions of the Sony PlayStation 5 used the same AMD semi-custom processor. Then, what we in the PC world would describe as the ‘APU’ in the PS5, was dubbed Oberon and was fabricated on TSMC’s N7 process. According to Angstronomics’ report, backed up with refreshed APU comparison imagery, the new Oberon Plus is present in the CFI-1202 models, mass-produced by TSMC on the N6 process. It is easy to spot differences in the chip packages, and the source calculates that the newer processor has a die size of below 260mm^2 – quite a reduction from approximately 300mm^2 for the Oberon.
The new Oberon Plus brings practical benefits to the PS5 CFI-1202 models with its die shrink. Officially (opens in new tab), TSMC’s N6 “delivers 18% higher logic density over the N7 process,” as well as being fully design rule compatible with previously produced N7 chips for more straightforward migration. However, TSMC’s linked press release doesn’t mention some of the associated benefits of moving from N7 to N6; as well as the smaller die, a processor can see lower power consumption with better thermals. It is particularly true where the chip designer doesn’t re-spec other aspects of the chip, like its clock speed. This aspect of the CFI-1202 was part of the teardown video earlier in September. The revised PS5 reportedly used 10% less power for the same gaming experience in that video. We have also seen that the 2022 revision had more reductions in cooler system bulk and overall system weight bringing down Sony’s bill-of-materials (BOM).
Unlike many device makers who would have submitted a flurry of design improvements alongside the order for a new batch of N6 SoCs, the console industry is peculiar in that it might steer away from overt performance improvements within the same generation. So Sony was happy that the die shrink allowed it to reduce its BOM, as described above, and didn’t have any further ambitions for it. Indeed, the 10% power saving when gaming isn’t a benefit they will be advertising, but it is welcome nonetheless. Lastly, it is good to know that Sony PS5 consoles didn’t lose up to 600g of mass over the last two generations to any real detriment to the system (but some say the 2021 revision ran a little hotter than the original).
Lastly, Angstronomics also observes that the PS5 is the first of the big three current-gen consoles to get a 6nm chip and that Sony is getting nearly 50% more PS5 chips per wafer than Microsoft with its Xbox Series X processors. Even so, Sony, with its cheaper silicon bill and new lower BOM, recently pushed price hikes worldwide (except in the U.S.).