PS3s overheat after firmware update
Rockstar plays it cool
Rockstar has turned the heat up on Sony's PlayStation 3 again last night, after a forum post by one of its reps claimed the latest PS3 firmware update, version 3.61, is to blame for reports of older PS3 models overheating and uncontrollably shutting down.
“We have received some reports of PS3s overheating while playing L.A. Noire or beeping three times before shutting down/turning themselves off, mostly on older 60GB and 80GB fat models,” said a customer service rep in a statement yesterday.
“Primary reports seem to be that updating to firmware 3.61 will cause PlayStations to overheat. There have been various reports of this on a few different games now, all reporting their PS3s turning off or 'Red Lighting' after having installed 3.61.
“This can range from games randomly freezing to PS3s turning off anywhere between 30 mins use to 2 hours. We have confirmed locally that multiple games (Rockstar and non-Rockstar) overheat or freeze only when 3.61 is installed.
“At this time we are recommending contacting Sony directly to report the overheating issue. However, this is not the end of our support; we are continuing to test L.A. Noire on all firmware versions and hardware models to isolate the issues and see what can be done. As always, we will update this article as soon as we have updates.”
The post was subsequently removed and Rockstar contacted MCV to stress it wasn't an official statement from the company. It claimed the customer support team had sourced its information from the European PlayStation boards.
With the dust barely settled on yesterday's fresh PSN fiasco, the last thing Sony needs today is further criticism. If firmware updates are to blame for hardware issues, will Sony take a leaf out of Microsoft's book and offer those customers with older machines a free replacement? Don't hold your breath. ®
"It's only video games that are keeping the PS3 alive for now..."
Asides those early adopters willing to shell out 400 quid on a toy, who seriously buys a PS3 primarily for playing blu-ray disks now?
The game is just the start? No; it's the start, end, and middle too. At least, ever since Sony got rid of Other OS. Now that's a decision that I think some execs are kicking themselves over, given recent events.
Poor old Sony, I almost feel sorry for them. They've had nothing but cock-ups the last few weeks!
All according to plan...
Sony would very much like to brick those old, pesky PS3s that do more than the current gen.
So when can we expect the Xbox360 headline story about overheating?
As it apparently affects them too....
"Delete your L.A. Noire Game Data (not save data) from the PS3 Game Data Utility. If on 360, clear the 360 cache."
Of course we know that won't happen, as Xbox bad news gets buried by certain American writers, and non-American products have any dirt they can dig thrown at them....
Hmm... lets see. What are the ingredients here?
Take a 4 year old console that's been heavily played. Stir in a power hungry CPU and GPU combination that put's out considerable watts of heat. Add some thermal paste that is aging, and 1 aging fan that contains 4 years of accumulated dust and grime. Mix well and add to a PSU that's aging and less efficient than it used to be and you have a recipe for excess heat production in an environment that cannot remove the heat as effectively as it could when new.
Now, take that recipe and bake with new games that push the performance of the hardware further and further and you end up with a situation where older consoles stand a decent chance of overheating - thanks to their age. It's inevitable really. Heck, I have an older PC at home that needed a new video card because the Geforce 7x00 series GPU in it fried itself after 5 years, and that's in a well ventilated case with two extra fans.
This isn't the firmware, as much as the haters and conspiracy theorists would like it to be, it just isn't. It's consoles that were state of the art when built, and running at the edge of the envelope in terms of the thermal performance of the system. There's really no surprise here for anyone, A system's thermal performance will decrease as it ages, it simply will not remove as much heat as it did when new. yet at the same time the PSU becomes less efficient and produces more heat and software places ever greater demands on the hardware resulting in more heat.
The system is designed to cope with that, but some will perform less well than the reference design, and they may suffer a failure as the heat outpaces the cooling. Anything else would be a great surprise.
What can be done? Well, if you own an older PS3, have it professionally cleaned, have new thermal paste applied to the heat sink, consider replacing the power supply with a newer, more efficient one and possibly replace the fan with a new one. these are all sensible precautions you would take with an older PC - assuming you wanted to keep it running. Why would we imagine a PS3 (or 360) would be any different?
I gotta say that my PS3 is primarily a blu-ray player and DLNA client. I intended to play games on it when I got it, I really did, but most of my games just sit and collect dust now. Ditto for my Wii and PC games and the emulation station PC I built into the case of an old NES. I just don't have the time to sit and play games anymore. If I were to go out and get a replacement for the PS3 now I would DEFINATELY not be getting another PS3.