Friday, July 24, 2009

Solving the PS3 Noise Issue

Note: This fix is only for the "fatty" version of the PS3

My PS3 Console


I bought the PS3 Metal Gear Solid 4 bundle back on August of 2008. It has an 80 gig HD with the media card slots, 4 USBs and software backwards compatibility.


My PS3 Noise Problem

After boot up, the console starts out pretty quiet. It's when I started playing a game, say after 15 minutes, is when the fan noise begin to pick up. At first, I did not really notice the problem because I was having so much fun with Metal Gear Solid 4. I started to become concerned that maybe it was a defect when a couple of months later I bought my first Xbox 360 and I found it to make less noise than my PS3. Everyone always said how quiet the PS3 is and how the Xbox 360 sounded like a jet taking off. I must have lucked out buying my Xbox360 later than everyone else considering mine isn't loud at all. It was nothing like what I heard on those Youtube demonstrations. Now, my PS3 dosen't sound like a jet taking off, but it is was loud in a different way.

It Wasn't Dust

People online came up with a whole bunch of other reasons why people's PS3s were loud; there's too much dust in it, the temperature sensor was defective, there is too much or too little thermapaste being used, the fans are defective, etc.

The Solution

After listening to a Michael Jackson song on a SD Card and hearing the fan ramping up in matter of 15 minutes, I got extremely pissed and became active in looking for a solution to the problem. I finally solved it when I found Psyn's post on the Playstation3.com forums.

He said:

Simply put an item underneath the base of the ps3
Preferabbly hollow or metal so it doesent retain heat as well. That way the fans have more room to breath, and the vents have more cool air to pull in. I use a xbox 360 controller tin (hahah) to hold my ps3 about 5 inches off the ground and it has been working great. It has yet to go into that mode where the fans speed up, it continues to run at the original starting speed no matter how long i play it. Doing this may keep your ps3 healthier, which is important if your warranty is up. Heat of any kind is not good for any electronic, doing this little thing may keep your ps3 alive for years to come.

He posted a picture of how it looked like:



His explaination was this:

It works, the vents which are located all around base of the ps3. These vents are the sources of cool air from which keeps your ps3 cool. When it is low to the ground hot hair can be sucked back into the ps3 due to less area around the system. Doing this Allow vents to suck in cool air, in fact more air altogether. Plus it allows the fans more room to blow heated air away from the system.

I just got done playing COD4 for a little over 2 hours and never once heard the fan speed up. Before doing this my systems fans would speed up in less then 20 mins of gameplay in order to meet airflow demand to keep the system cool.

I thought to give this a try, I mean it's free. I didn't have to open my PS3 to change the fan, add thermapaste or buy a PS3 cooling fan attachment on NewEgg which I have no idea if it even worked. I looked for anything at hand I could use in my house and found two small cat food cans and propped them underneath my PS3.

Guess what, it actually worked. I played MGS4 for a hour and the fans did not kick up. Next, I logged into Sony Home and wandered around for over 30 minutes. Sony Home usually makes my fans go crazy but it never did. Next, I tried the CPU intensive Folding@Home for over 20 minutes and the fans never went to level 3, the highest fan setting. All this was done with the audio on mute so I could hear whatever noise there was.

You can use whatever is available in your house to prop your PS3; like a tuna can, a campbells can, Ensure can, you get the idea. They all come in various sizes but what is most important is that the bottom of the PS3 is lifted off the surface.


Update: I recently switched over to using Campells cans to prop my PS3 higher since I got a new AV receiver sitting right next to it with no other place to put it and I didn't want to restrict my PS3's airflow from the side. It still works all the same though. Looks kind of silly but it beats having a loud console. Here's a picture of it:




So I guess the problem was the bottom of the PS3 needed ventilation as much as the side and the back. It makes sense too if you have ever touched the bottom of your PS3 when it's horizontal, you can feel how warm it is. So there you go, a real solution that actually works.

Update 11/14/09: I'm getting feedback that this quieting solution has been working for most people. I'll post future updates if I find any other ways at quieting the PS3.

Update 12/26/09: A couple of people asked me if they should just buy a PS3 slim since it is often regarded as being more quiet but I heard that some slims have a noise issue too. You can also see in this youtube noise comparison video that the PS3 Slim sounds louder than the PS3 fat. I don't know if maybe it's just a couple of batches of PS3 slims that have this problem but I wouldn't decide on which PS3 to buy based solely on which one is more quiet.

Update 9/7/10: The PS3s that were available on launch back in 2006 made very little fan noise...the PS3s back then were equipped with a 19 blade internal fan made by Furukawa Electic in Japan. Sony later skimped on the quality and went with a 15 blade fan made in China and a growing consensus is pointing to this as the culprit as to why certain PS3s sound so loud. If you don't have a fully backwards compatible fatty PS3 then chances are your console has a 15 blade fan. The PS3 slim uses a 17 blade fan.

Here is a video of someone giving instructions on replacing a 15 blade fan with a 19 blade fan.

Here is a discussion on the PS3 message forums regarding the different fans.



29 comments:

  1. I have the same exact issue with the same exact model. It is driving me so effing crazy that ive been waiting for the slim since i bought the damn thing. i originally had a 40 gig that was so quiet i thought it was broke. Then walmart had an ad for the MGS 80 with $100 gift card. I sold the 40 and got this one. Ive been regretting the noise ever since. Like you said, about 15 minutes in it gets stupid noisy. Not like the youtubes where its like a turbine but damned noisy. I keep mine in a wood stand with a glass door and the back is open. Like i said its vertical, so i dont know what to do about the whole mount underneath as you did. I put it horizontally on top of the stand for a while (nothing near it front back or rear) and it still got loud as hell. I figured putting it in the case kills the sound a little but its still noisy and warms the room up alot along with the onkyo reciever and the flat screen.

    i really dont want to get rid of it because it so classy in my opinon. I love the shine and the semi-bigness of it. it looks like art in my case. Ive got it at a 30 degree slant, logo out, and it looks spiffy. Plus i dig the extra USBs and card reader. Im psyched about the slim but not its looks. Im really torn on what to do. If i could get my 80gig silent like yours then i wouldnt have to sell it and get something (in my opinion) less visually appealing but statiscally quieter.

    any suggestions?

    ReplyDelete
  2. I seen on youtube that some PS3 slim consoles also have a noise issue. I guess it's the luck of the draw when looking for a quiet PS3. The only other solution I can think of is if you pay a modder to open up your PS3 to put in silent fans or liquid cooling. The downside to this is that it would void all warranty of course and is probably expensive.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I am trying taping a stack of 12 nickels together for each corner, will let you know how it goes.

    ReplyDelete
  4. ok it seems like a good idea to put the console "on air" but mine is in vertical possition and after i play 1 or 2 hours the vents start to go very noisy! i dont understant! its the 60g version and it is months old :S

    ReplyDelete
  5. http://cgi.ebay.ca/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=140452426260#ht_1769wt_1126

    cooling system for 1.00 plus shipping

    ReplyDelete
  6. I have a 60 gig fatty and shes years old. I just put an open air metal stand underneath. I elevated the front about an inch higher than the back in hopes of more consistent airflow hitting the front vents. Ive been playing battlefield for about an hour and shes cruisin along. I can barely hear the fan which is much improved from what it was before. I wouldn't even need to be in my bedroom to hear that it was on. So far so good, ill update after a couple hours of constant running to see if you've really found the cure. Quality research by the way.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Ah Thank You so much!! :D My 80gb playstation is almost 2 years old now and only yesterday it started making such loud noise. I tried what you said (I actually only put the Argos book under it just to see if it would work :P) and it worked! Its silent now, I'm going to find something much more permanent. But thank you so much!

    ReplyDelete
  8. i have questions
    1: does the cans have to be empty
    2: topside or bottom side?

    ReplyDelete
  9. i do not see how just raising it can make it run cooler the bottom does not get hot as the fan is on the bottom and the mb is in the middle of the fan and bluray and power supply. when you stand it up with hdd on the bottm and the hot air goes out the top and the back it is suppose to cooler better. if in a cbinet where you lay it flat and the sides is close to the right side i would move it to the left more. i would have to see if it would make it run cooler by puting tuna cans or something to raise it a few inches and see if there is a diff.

    ReplyDelete
  10. man i got a 60 gig and its vertical... whistling like fighter jets scrambling over NY harbor... i guess i have not thing to lose...

    ReplyDelete
  11. I tried this and it didn't work - HOWEVER....

    I did something else which DID work, very effectively

    I simply replaced the thermal paste on the processor and graphics with a better compound

    When i opened it up - the existing compound was all crusty and almost gone - ive replaced it and put the playstation back together and its now whisper quiet whatever i throw at it

    Find a disassembly tutorial and give it a crack!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I gave this a go last night. It worked. The fan still kicked up to "level 2", but not the deafening 3rd level. Thanks for passing this along.

    Hey sogetapita - any link to the directions that you followed?

    ReplyDelete
  13. thanks for the tip. i just turned my PS3 slim upside down and vacuumed out all the dust from the holes along the bottom sides which I'd never noticed before.

    will put something under it as well

    Noise = zero now

    phew, had been driving me nuts!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I bought the ps3 when it first launched and it's extremely loud, and also very distracting when watching a movie. When I turn the ps3 on it's almost completely silent but when you start playing a game or movie it sounds like a jet-fighter. It's in the living room and I can hear it in my bedroom from upstairs, it's ridiculous really. I put 2 cans under it and it went a little more silent after a while, I'm not sure if it's really helping. If this really helps why not just letting it stand on its side?

    ReplyDelete
  15. Tried this. GOOD IDEA! I had my xbox 360 side by side with it when I tried standing it on it's side. However, I think it wasn't giving it enough space or something cause that made it worse. But doing what you did i figured it out. The aluminum cans trap the heat from the bottom and the fans inside the cans. Making your PS3 much more silent and giving your PS3 some breathing space as well.. It didn't work at first. But watching a movie on my PS3 by XVID it made the loud noise again. I shut it off. Then 15 minutes later it made the noise again.. I shut it off.. now I have had it on for 5 hours, and it hasn't made the noise yet. Still on those cans.. Hope I helped some of you out!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I did it and it goes to level 2 now instead of 3 which i guess is good but its still loud. Thanks for the help and at least its quieter than before. At the moment its been on a GT5 endurance race for about 2 hours and is still on level 2 :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. RIGHT! I have sorted mt ps3 fat fan noise issue once and for all.

    Very simple.

    cleaned off the heatsinks and applied some MX4.

    job done. now the fan never goes above level 2 no matter how hot the room is, no matter what game I'm playing.

    and it's a so called crappy old 15 blader.

    cheers
    Ben

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What are the heatsinks and mx4?

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
  18. My PS3 is extremely noisy; indeed, conversation, not to mention concentration, is impossible in its vicinity. I shall try this as swiftly as possible, thanks a lot for the tip!

    ReplyDelete
  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Nice tip - mine was driving me bloody nuts due to the noise; now it's standing on stacks of CD-boxes and fan-noise is almost non-existant. Cheers :)

    ReplyDelete
  21. I recently got my ps3 fixed as it was not reading any discs now it is really loud, do you think they have put a 15 blade fan in? And if so does this method of raising it work?

    ReplyDelete
  22. Why not just put it upright, the way the play station was actually intended to stand ? All the air you want no?

    ReplyDelete
  23. had mine on an upside down wire grid hamper/basket. seemed to work pretty well, with the added benefit of looking like a floating ps3. would a table shaped like a huge heat sink work?

    ReplyDelete
  24. Interesting post, thanks for sharing it!

    Playing ps3 games is one of greatest times in my life, and will be until I get ps4 hehe.

    Big support and best regards,
    Adam

    __
    http://playstation3emulator.com

    ReplyDelete
  25. Nice.. I liked it...If you want to get more tips or repairs you can follow this
    playstations repair UK


    ReplyDelete
  26. I actually learned the hard way there's actually 5 fan speed settings on the 08 fatty model. The last two are insanely fast and super high pitched, makes you think it's gonna explode or fly off somewhere.

    ReplyDelete