Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning we get a small commission if you make a purchase through our links, at no cost to you. For more information, please visit our Disclaimer Page.
The PlayStation 3 is a console that had an interesting but lukewarm reception when Sony first launched it. However, many gamers have come to appreciate it in recent years, even though the manufacture of the console is now discontinued. Many players still own PS3 consoles today as collector’s items or usable consoles, and they keep them right alongside later PS4 and PS5 models.
Furthermore, the company released a secondary version of the PlayStation 3 that it called its Slim model. Unlike its parent model, the Slim received some great praise right from the start. Players appreciated its sleek design, price point, noise reduction, and efficient use of power.
Even so, some Sony console owners wonder if either the standard PS3 or the Slim version are prone to overheating issues. We will use this question as the main topic of our article below. As we do, we’ll talk about what normal levels of heat should feel like for both models, and we’ll discuss if either one should ever get hot during normal operations.
If we discover that overheating is a frequent issue, we’ll also talk about what can happen to the consoles themselves if they fall prey to it. To figure out what is wrong, we can look at some of the main causes that might contribute to overheating in consoles like these, and we will wrap up by troubleshooting ways that you might keep your PlayStation cool.
Before we get into whether it might be normal for any PlayStation 3 model to be hot, we have to define this kind of term. It is possible that you could either touch a console or measure its heat output and think that the feelings or readings you get are hot.
While this isn’t necessarily untrue, what constitutes “hot” for the general community isn’t necessarily the same as what it might be for the gaming community. Most electronics, particularly things like consoles and devices that do a lot of work, will get warm by default. They can also get hot, but manufacturers usually design devices to run hot, and sometimes they can do so even for long periods.
None of the above means that a PS3 or Slim cannot overheat. However, it is a good idea to establish that baselines for heat can be different when we’re discussing modern electronics. Many of them have cooling systems to keep temperatures stable, but they might still operate at many degrees Celsius higher than the average person would find acceptable for other things.
With all that said, it may be normal for a PS3 and related models to feel a bit hot. Anything below 80 degrees Celsius should be fine for these consoles, but even that can feel hot to the touch when you feel the case of the console.
This is particularly true if you have been gaming for an extended period. The central processor and the graphics processor are the two components that are likely going to produce the most heat, and they are also the two that could be most prone to overheating.
We should note here that the CPU and GPU have slightly different normal operating temperature ranges, and this could be important for anyone who wants to take readings of their PS3’s heat output.
Furthermore, according to the official manual, the ambient operating temperature can be anywhere between 5 and 35 degrees Celsius. However, other numbers are also common, and it is normal for the central and graphics processors to have temperatures in the 60s and 70s when in use.
Yes, it is possible for the PS3 to overheat. With the different kinds of power consumption levels that the PS3 Slim uses, it should be less prone to overheating than its larger counterpart. However, they are both electronics that are performing heavy duties.
Therefore, it is still possible for either of them to overheat. This is particularly true if the consoles are malfunctioning in some way, or if they are not able to use their cooling systems effectively. We will discuss some of the reasons why this might be in later sections.
If your PS3 starts to overheat, the first thing that should happen is a warning message popping up in the form of a flashing light. Sony developed the console in such a way that it could determine when its own operating temperatures were getting out of acceptable ranges.
Because of this, the device should be able to warn you when this is happening. If you see the power indicator on your PS3 flashing both red and green in alternating colors, it is possible that the device is trying to tell you that it is getting too hot inside.
We will assume for a moment, however, that you do not get any kind of indication that the console is taking on too much heat. If so, you’ll keep playing a game while the CPU and GPU both keep running hotter. If this happens, the PS3 should shut itself off eventually.
You may not get any warning that this happens, and it could be that you are able to turn the device back on again almost immediately. However, you would have to do so manually. It might be a good idea to touch the console yourself to see if it feels very warm to the touch.
Alternatively, there are ways you can get actual readings of the internal temperatures for the console. There are utilities you can use to track the heat readings. You can also go to the XMB screen. This is a user interface that you can swap to while you are in a game, and it can show you some temperature readings as well.
In either case, keeping track of these readings can help you know if the console is in danger of overheating. In turn, this can give you some ways to avoid the issue happening again in the future. We will go over this last point in greater detail in a later section.
When we’re diving into some of the possible reasons why the PS3 overheats, it is good to keep in mind that any of these could apply to the Slim model as well. Although it is a version of the PS3 that Sony redesigned for better power consumption, that doesn’t mean it can’t overheat if you don’t watch out for the signs.
Our list of possible overheating causes for this line of consoles may not be complete, but it represents some of the most common ways the devices can run into these problems. Here are a few of the main ways that the components inside might face overheating issues:
1. Most consoles like these allow you to play intense games for many hours consecutively. Although developers design the devices this way, it is always possible that playing for too long can put some strain on the unit and cause it to overheat.
If you find that this is an issue, you might consider taking breaks. Even leaving the console on but idle can help to cool down, although shutting it off entirely can be more helpful.
2. The unit needs proper airflow in order to provide some kind of guarantee of good cooling. If anything restricts this process, the PS3 could be in danger of overheating.
3. Similarly, dust, dirt, or other debris that clogs the inside could restrict airflow further, but it can also provide insulation that retains heat in the various components. This can lead to an overheating issue down the line.
4. Overall, a lack of proper ventilation can also contribute to this problem.
Much of how you might cool a PS3 regular or Slim model will relate to the specific issues we talked about above. Here are a few of the things you can do to try to keep your console cool. Although it may not be a list of every troubleshooting tip you can try, it should help you prevent future issues with overheating.
1. Check the space around the console. The PS3 needs adequate ventilation in order to allow hot air to escape the inside of the unit. If the air cannot get out, or if it stays too close to the case, it could cause a heating issue. Try to make sure all sides of the console have room.
2. Similarly, the vents that let the air escape need to be unobstructed. Make sure nothing physical blocks them, and you may want to consider checking them for dust or debris that can clog them.
3. More debris can also get inside the rest of the console. As we mentioned, this stuff can act as insulation that keeps more heat inside than is normal. If you think you are savvy enough, you should consider opening the case for a thorough cleaning.
4. While you are inside the case, you can check the quality of the thermal paste. If it seems like it is too dry, consider replacing it with a fresh batch to help the cooling system dissipate heat more efficiently.
Many modern consoles have design elements that allow them to run hotter than most people would find acceptable for other things, and the PS3 isn’t any exception to this. The Slim model should be less prone to heating up as much, but it is still a possibility in both.
If this happens, you should get some kind of warning beforehand, and you can always track those temperatures yourself. To try to improve things, you should use some of our troubleshooting tips for keeping the PS3 cool, too.