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Sony’s PlayStation 3 might feel a little dated in the face of its two successors, but it is still a console that many fans of the brand have chosen to keep right alongside other, newer gaming systems. The third version of Sony’s home gaming entertainment system represented a fairly significant departure from the previous two iterations.
The differences between the second and third consoles might be harder to discern if one looked at individual frames from game stills. However, the company put more powerful hardware in the later console, and the result usually meant that players could experience smoother gameplay with richer, realistic textures.
The PlayStation 3 still has its fans today, but the console did not start off that way. The price point was a concern for some gamers, and general noise levels from the device meant that immersion sometimes deteriorated as players progressed through games. It is this second point that we will expand on in our article today. Some PS3 owners wonder why the console seems to make more noise than other gaming systems.
We’ll try to address this, and we’ll tell you about ways you might be able to make your PlayStation 3 quieter. As we go along, we’ll talk about noise differences between the original and Slim models, what to do to clean the PlayStation 3 without opening it up, and general tips on how to take care of your system.
There are some conflicting reports as to why the PlayStation 3 seems to make so much noise. In fact, it can be difficult for people in the gaming community to determine if it is the original PS3, an updated version, or the PS4 model that came later that is so noisy.
However, some players who purchased an original PS3 at the time of the console’s launch do seem to recall that their consoles made quite a bit of noise at launch.
Part of this seems to relate to how the hardware and cooling systems function on the first release of the gaming console. Typically, the PS3 would be relatively quiet when it was operating in an idle state. However, there were a few factors that tended to make the machine louder during gameplay:
1. Actually playing games caused the hardware to use more energy. This is natural, but drawing more power creates more heat, and the cooling system inside the PS3 needs to spin up the fans in order to keep the parts from overheating while they are doing their jobs. If the fans need to spin quite fast, it can create noticeable noise, particularly if the player is sitting relatively close to the console.
2. For the original PS3, it seems that the disc that contains the game needs to spin constantly in order to send data to the console’s hardware while you are playing. This noise can also be quite loud. Unlike fans, which would slow down if the system was cooler, the disc may spin all the time if you are in the middle of a gaming session.
3. Some PS3 models today will be older, and it is possible for them to make more noise than a new model that no player has ever opened or started.
4. Similarly, a PlayStation 3 that you have owned and used for years may accumulate dust and debris where you cannot see or clean it easily. If so, the obstructions can make it harder to vent heat out of the unit.
Some kinds of debris can also act as insulators that trap more heat. In either case, you’re dealing with a console that heats up its components faster than it should.
This means that the fans need to work on high settings or for longer periods in order to keep things cool. In turn, the overall noise levels coming from the gaming system will get louder, too.
Given the consensus and discussions between PlayStation 3 owners, both at launch and later in the console’s history, it seems safe to say that some of these entertainment systems happened to be quiet, but others could be very loud.
Although there are some hardware reasons for this, it may be more difficult for us to determine why there were specific noise differences between units of this console. This is particularly true thanks to each model using the same hardware and manufacturing processes.
Before we dive into ways that you might make your PlayStation 3 quieter, we should keep in mind that some level of noise is normal when you are operating the machine. If it is extremely quiet when you are using it, this could indicate a problem with the cooling system.
Any issues with the cooling parts for the unit could mean that the delicate hardware inside will overheat without you realizing it. This could cause the console to become totally inoperable, so make sure that you can hear the fans whirring from time to time when you’re playing.
That said, here are a few ways you might be able to make your PS3 quieter:
1. If you’re using a regular mechanical disk drive for your PlayStation, you may try swapping it for a solid-state one. SSDs do not use mechanical parts the way more traditional hard drives do, and they make far less noise as a result.
If you wish to do this, you’ll need to follow some specific steps for swapping out the drives. It is a good idea to back up your data on the main drive using a third option before you insert and format the solid-state one.
2. The fans themselves make noise, but they need to do so when they are active in order to keep the other components cool. They may contribute to even more noise if they vibrate the console while it is on a hard, flat surface.
Should this be the case for you, you can try mounting it on foam to absorb vibrations. Otherwise, you can place it in a soundproof box that has ventilation on all sides. If you go for the foam, make sure it is not so soft that the console will sit in it and have heat insulation as a result.
3. Sometimes, a PS3 gets loud because some of its components are too old and worn out to function properly. This could be particularly true of a fan or the optical disc drive. If either of these parts makes very loud noise constantly, replacing them could help reduce the sounds.
4. We will address cleaning the PS3 without opening it later. However, if you suspect there is a problem with lots of debris or bad thermal paste, it may be worthwhile to take it apart to replace the paste and get rid of the obstructions. This does require some patience and skill, so make sure that you make preparations before you try it.
Typically, the PS3 Slim model is supposed to be quieter than its original counterpart. This does not mean that your Slim console will never get loud, and the fans may need to kick in to cool things down. You also might get some kind of defect or failure in the system. However, by default, this console should be relatively quiet.
This answer can vary from one person to the next. The Super Slim is the smallest, and it should also run quietly. However, it also has the thinnest outer casing of all the models you could choose for a PlayStation 3.
That means that it is easier to hear the hum of the hardware and accessories through the walls of the casing on this model. A regular Slim model could be slightly quieter than the Super version for this very reason.
The Super Slim also has a smaller fan that runs a lot in a cramped space when the components get hot. For all these reasons, it is possible that the regular Slim tends to be the quietest version of the PS3.
The best thing to do for cleaning the console without opening it up is to use some compressed air to blow it out. Compressed air is under high pressure, and it comes in cans. Thanks to the pressure, it can push dust and other particles out of the console.
If you want to do this, just put the console at whichever angle you need to in order to force compressed air into each vent. Do this one at a time, making sure that the debris has a place to exit the console safely.
To extend the life of your PlayStation 3, you should make sure that you keep it out of hot rooms or direct ambient heat. Similarly, keep the console ventilated on all sides for good airflow. Although you shouldn’t need to open the case, dusting it off and using compressed air every few months can keep it free of debris.
The PlayStation 3 is a wonderful console, but it can be a bit noisy, particularly if you own one of the originals. Other versions of the gaming system should run quieter, but all of them need to make noise during the cooling process. You can cut down on this noise using some of the care and cleaning tips we’ve included above, though.