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The updated PlayStation 5 features a new 6nm AMD Oberon Plus SoC

(Image credit: Sony)

About a month ago, Sony updated its PlayStation 5 gaming console. On the web and in social media, gamers who are tech savvy have gradually disclosed the fundamental alterations brought about by the CFI-1202 consoles. Sony's gleaming new Oberon Plus processor within the updated consoles is the key distinction that led to the new compact cooling system and lighter build.

The AMD semi-custom processor was the same for the Sony PlayStation 5's first two iterations. Then, Oberon, built using TSMC's N7 process, was what we in the PC world would refer to as the "APU" in the PS5. Angstronomics' study claims that the new Oberon Plus is present in the CFI-1202 models, which are mass-produced by TSMC on the N6 process and supported by updated APU comparison imaging. The source estimates that the newer processor has a die size of below 260mm2—a significant decrease from the Oberon's roughly 300mm2—and that the variations between the chip packages are obvious.

With its die reduction, the new Oberon Plus offers the PS5 CFI-1202 models substantial advantages. According to TSMC, the N6 "delivers 18% better logic density over the N7 process" and is completely design rule compatible with N7 chips that have already been manufactured for easier migration. The attached press statement from TSMC, however, omits some of the advantages of switching from N7 to N6; in addition to the smaller chip, a processor may see lower power consumption with superior thermals. This is especially true when the chip's clock speed or other specifications are left alone by the designer. This CFI-1202 feature was covered in the earlier September breakdown video.

According to the video, the updated PS5 consumed 10% less power while providing the same gaming experience. Additionally, we've seen that Sony's bill of materials was reduced thanks to additional reductions in cooler system bulk and total system weight in the 2022 revision (BOM).

The console business is unique in that it may shy away from overt performance increases within the same generation, unlike many device manufacturers who would have submitted a flurry of design modifications along with the order for a new batch of N6 SoCs. As a result, Sony was content that the die shrink allowed it to lower its BOM as previously mentioned and had no further plans for it. Although they won't advertise it, the 10% power savings when gaming is still a good feature. Last but not least, it is encouraging to know that the Sony PS5 consoles did not suffer any significant harm over the previous two generations despite losing up to 600g in mass (but some say the 2021 revision ran a little hotter than the original).

Last but not least, Angstronomics notes that Sony is producing roughly 50% more PS5 chips per wafer than Microsoft with its Xbox Series X processors and that the PS5 is the first of the main three current-gen consoles to use a 6nm chip. Nevertheless, Sony has pushed price increases globally thanks to its lower silicon expense and its lower BOM (except in the U.S.).

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