Why did Sony even use IHS(on the ps3)?

Discussion in 'General PS3 Discussion' started by Squiglemouse, Feb 14, 2020.

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    Squiglemouse

    Squiglemouse Forum Noob

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    Seriously I've been thinking about this more and more of late. And I'm struggling to understand why Sony used ihs on the rsx and cell. Especially given the context that the previous generations most powerful console(Original xbox) didn't. It had the heatsinks directly to the die.

    This has been bugging me since it seems like most of the issues the older ps3 deal with are directly related to the tim under the ihs degrading or capacitors failing(which you could make a case that excess retained heat didn't exactly help). Surely it must have been more expensive to use the ihs given it would mean extra machining and an extra application of tim. Further unlike the desktops of the time the ps3 chip height would always be consistent given its mass produced nature.

    So why was it done that way? An attempt to help protect the chip die in the install or transportation process? I'm just honestly rather confused why the ihs were chosen vs direct contact. Maybe a concern that the heat sink in direct contact would put too much pressure and damage the chip? But then we have the xbone and ps4 where the heat sink is direct to the die. So were they just doing what the pc part makers were doing?

    I guess the question is there any documentation to why the heck that decision was made? Or what thoughts do the rest of you more experienced folks have.
     
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    Yugonibblit

    Yugonibblit PSX-Place Supporter

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    My guess is when thermal past is replaced there is less chance of damaging the cpu or gpu, also during assembly at the factory,,...these work very well for ihs replacement , ACJF_1_20161210194013277.jpg https://www.newegg.com/p/22B-002G-00032
     
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    snkplkn

    snkplkn Member

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    Problem is not really the IHS, but thermal compound under IHS. I am using 11 years old Intel CPU which still gives more or less the same temperatures when in bought it 11 years ago. I have only replaced thermal paste on top of IHS & it still works great. Sony's thermal paste under IHS was not great & decayed a lot sooner. Also the mounting brackets/heatsinks of PS3 do not put adequate pressure on IHS to make a better contact.
     
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    Yugonibblit

    Yugonibblit PSX-Place Supporter

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    Was not talking about thermal paste only suggested that copper cools and has better heat transfer than original metal ihs on ps3, I thought we were talking about the ihs on cpu and rsx weren't we?, yes we know Sony used cheap thermal compounds. Question was why does sony use ihs instead of just fixing the heat sink directly on cpu or gpu no?:sco hmmthink::sem imsorry:
     
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    ElGris

    ElGris Member

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    I think they used them to prevent people to damage their motherboards, since many kids in the last decade used a heat gun to reflow the mobo to fix in most cases a YLOD, and that wasn't the problem, the real problem was on the NECs capacitors. IF WE ONLY KNEW!

    Sony didn't expect those caps where sh&%, and neither the owner of the console, some imagine if those die were unprotected by those IHS. The mayority of consoles that have YLOD today wouldn't be fixiable, due a damage on RSX (which in could be replaced with another one using a rework machine) or CELL which it can't be replaced. I only think about it, and I think Sony did well on that, because they were using a very giant heatsing, that could damage the dies so easily. The thermal paste they used under the IHS were sh&% too, because my first CECH-H had this overheating problem, that's why I tried to delid, and that's why I ended up killing my first PS3. It's a shame, but that's why you need to test very well your hardware before selling it.

    Even though, the PS3 is like a classic car to me. Neither the PSX (the best in history) or the PS2, for me playing so many hours online with different games gave this console another taste in my gaming history, also, its hardware was another thing. I really hope the same for the PS5.
     
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    Squiglemouse

    Squiglemouse Forum Noob

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    I'm pretty much up to date on the whole sony used bad paste. This threads less about why are the thermals long term so crud and more why did sony even use a heat spreader vs just mounting direct to the heatsink.

    Trying to make it harder to tamper and or be worked on seems pretty likely when you out it like this. But think of it this way. If the units hadn't had this extra layer yes some more units would probably have ended up dead for different damage. On the other hand many more wouldn't get junked for sounding like a jet engine or getting bad delids.

    Plus we know that excess heat does help to cause components to fail earlier. In regards to testing I'm not sure any ammount of stress testing sony did could have shown how bad the paste they used was. Given the primary culprit seems to be hundreds of days run time as well as just aging.

    It just seems odd to me to use a ihs and I have to agree the root sure seems to have been tamper protection and just extra protection during assembly. But if we consider the survival rate of other stuff that didn't use an ihs(original xboxs are notorious tanks, with the thing killing them primarily being poorly made electrolytic bursting) I feel like the ihs long term actually became an Achilles heel of the device.
     
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    ElGris

    ElGris Member

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    You're right, nobody said the PS3 had a very good hardware design haha. In terms of cooling system was bad, and this problem with the IHS could have been design in many different ways. Today, like the PS4, most of notebooks are design with a naked die on its processors (except for desktop processors). The RSX on 4xxx models came with a "notebook" type cooling system, with a naked die, but no the CELL, and here's the difference. On those models there's only one clamp, on the CELL, the RSX is just using less pressure made by a couple of screws, and that's all. So thinking on this, the main problem the original and later models had, was the pressure of the clamps.
     
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    Squiglemouse

    Squiglemouse Forum Noob

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    So if we look at it that way do you think maybe Sony regretted how they did the IHS? I mean the fact that the later superslims did away with it and the PlayStation 4 did away with it entirely, would it be reasonable to think Sony came to the conclusion the ihs at best didn't cause any problems and at worst was actually creating issues long term?
     
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    ElGris

    ElGris Member

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    I think it was the right decision, because the first gen of CELL/RSX were too big and too energy demanding, therefor their high working temperature. It was a lack of advanced development in terms of processors sizes, the generation started with a 90nm CELL/RSX and ended with a 45/28 nm repectively. So there's quite a difference with sizes and temperatures. I don't see a 90nm CELL being cooled with the same copper IHS that's used in the 28nm RSX used on SSs.

    On PS4 the case is different because factories now can produce processors so small than heat is not so much of a problem, not like in PS3. That's why that APU is naked, I believe. AMD and Intel are doing it very well in those cases, where we have processors even smaller every generation. But what should be the real solution? A better cooling system, better than in PS3/4. and I really hope a GOOD cooling system on PS5, did you see the prototype?

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EKoxyaTXsAMv1HB.jpg

    That only creates hype on me :D

    P/S: Today arrived a CECHE that only needs a delid. What a coincidence lol.
     
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    Squiglemouse

    Squiglemouse Forum Noob

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    In regards to the heat dispersion of the ps3 it was my understanding the ihs are made of nickel plated copper. So there's no secret special sauce in how it's made that magically makes it better than taking it directly to a large heatsink. Especially in light of having to deal with not one but two layers of tim. So yah the generation of the ps3 started with some pretty big dies, but we also had proportionally huge heatsinks. I mean as I type this my A01 is playing ni no kuni at 60c and 29% fan.

    So what I'm trying to get at is I'm not seeing any truly strong tangible reason the ihs wasn't integrated to the main body of the heatsink(remember being the same piece of metal will conduct thermals better than using a paste to bridge the gap). Though on that line of thinking I wonder if it would be possible to retrofit/modify the existing heatsink to better transfer heat from the main block to the copper heat pipes and then to the fins.

    I am a bit leery of the ps5. If it turns out the backwards compatible rumors are right I'll probably try and grab one at launch for the likely eventual homebrew. But I'm pretty doubtful of sony making a commercially backwards compatible unit without trying to charge us constantly for any games played ala ps2 classics.

    Still it's an exciting time.
     
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    remlei

    remlei Member

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    the main reason why they use IHS is to avoid damaging the die it self.

    if your familiar with old times like with pentium 3 processors and such, its very common to have a damaged processor due to mishandling.

    still given that ps3 is a prebuilt console, I dont really see any reason to use IHS on their main chips compared that to a standard off the shelf desktop processor which is designed to be swappable.

    luckily with ps4, they no longer use IHS and just a naked die. with this, its very easy to fix a overheating issue, compared to ps3 you have to go and risk delidding it just to fix the overheating issue.
     
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    sandungas

    sandungas Moderator Developer

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    Right, the purpose of the IHS is to prevent damage in the DIE (caused by the heatsink)
    And there are 2 ways to damage it, the most intuitive one is when someone (either a final user, or a technician in some repair center) dissasembles the PS3

    If we consider the PlayStations "should" be repaired only by official repair services (otherway you are voiding the warranty), then it makes no sense to use the IHS because they are professionals and are not supposed to break the DIE by an incorrect handling of the parts

    The otherway to break the DIE when not having a IHS is by "hitting" the PS3... this effect is not intuitive and is hard to explain, it depends of the "force dynamics"
    Basically (laws of phisycs), the objects presents a resistance to move that depends of his weight (and the heatsink is the most weighty part of the PS3)
    So... if you hit the PS3 laterally the motherboard is going to move first, and then the heatsink... this would create some kind of "squeezing" effect over the DIE

    *In the actual PS3 models with the IHS's that "squeezing" effect (that happens when you hit the console hard) is handled by the BGA solder balls... the DIE resists the hit but the BGA balls could break ;)

    ----------------------
    The way how is made in the PS4, in latest AMD laptops APU, and lot of graphics cards... with a frame of metal all around the DIE is a lot better
    That frame prevents damages in the DIE too. Not completly, because the height of the metal frame is smaller than the DIE height, but is good enought
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2020
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    ElGris

    ElGris Member

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    "I mean as I type this my A01 is playing ni no kuni at 60c and 29% fan."

    Those temperatures are very nice for an A01 with the original PSU. Did you delid it? Or it's winter over your home? :D

    "So what I'm trying to get at is I'm not seeing any truly strong tangible reason the ihs wasn't integrated to the main body of the heatsink(remember being the same piece of metal will conduct thermals better than using a paste to bridge the gap). Though on that line of thinking I wonder if it would be possible to retrofit/modify the existing heatsink to better transfer heat from the main block to the copper heat pipes and then to the fins."

    I know, and I was thinking about that too. How to improve the cooling by doing some mods to the main heatsink. The copper bars are well soldered to the main body, so trying to do something better than would require the making of complete new heatsink with better thermal dissipation, and that means you need to know something about smithy. The use of the same fan would be a necessity I believe.

    If Sony enginners would have gone with the naked dies way, then they had to have modified the complete cooling system, including a safety for the dies in case of falls, hits, etc. If that idea would have been bad, imagine the problems Sony would have had back in the day, apart of the YLOD and the price of the console.
    The other day I was watching the history of PS3vsX360 by Mystic. Another wrong move for Sony would have been the end of the console and maybe of the company.
     
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    Squiglemouse

    Squiglemouse Forum Noob

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    It's a delidded a01. Previous owner did the rsx and Ibdid the cell. The unit came to me with an aps-226. it is winter where I am (its a southern Texas coast winter. So pretty warm by northern pov.)

    In regards to modding the unit I'm kinda convinced the best route would be to replace the main block of heatsink that makes contact with the ihs with a duplicate made of copper given that coppers thermal conductivity is more than 50 percent better. So closer you make the changes to the generation of heat the more tangible the benefits should be.

    Further while copper fins would make for an improvement that's a significantly more precise modification needing likely special machinery to support. (Beyond needing to cnc/cast a clone of the main heatsink block)

    As far as the naked dies being more vulnerable to shock damage they probably would be. But on the other hand the launch model is 11 lbs(roughly 5 kgs for our non imperial folks) with a not insignificant chunk of that being the heatsinks. The units on that alone seem to cope very poorly with fall damage.
     
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    ElGris

    ElGris Member

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    Yeap, almost none PS3 can survive a fall, even super slims. In fats I think are the solder balls that get damaged, and in 4xxx models the RSX is always a problem (being naked).

    Making an extreme modification like that, with a heatsink made of copper, would be a little pricey, but just imagine something like that, improving the temps -5 or more grades, having the mobo in its original state, without weird visual modifications and, even more, with a custom RSX like the frankcechA lol. Hm,hm,hm, that would be really awesome to see :D
     
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    Cypher_CG89

    Cypher_CG89 Senior Member

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    I have the " Alphacool " liquid (water) cooling system for PS3. With this you can completely do away with the heatsink and have PC grade cooling in your PS3. I just have never gotten around to installing it yet as I want to combine it with an external PSU mod so all the pipes and cables and such run out the back of the PS3. It took me ages to find this as they are super rare now.
     
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    Squiglemouse

    Squiglemouse Forum Noob

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    That's pretty amazing, but I would be worried about using it since it does mess with the rest of the cooling profile(lack of fan cooling at all, coupled with some parts being heatsunk to the emi with thermal pads.) If you do install it you should make a post documenting the install and performance.
     
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    Cypher_CG89 Senior Member

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    No EMI shield mods needed, you just remove the heatsink block, so any thermal pads using this as a heatsink can stay where they are.

    If you wanted to keep the OG fan then you could, the fan is attached by screws to the EMI shield as well, you just remove the heatsink block so it doesn't mess with anything cooling related to the rest of the PS3 shell as it was designed and made just for PS3 Slims, and adds a good bit of cooling to the PS3 and also has and external controller for controlling the waterflow, so its a win win situation really.
     

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