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PlayStation 4 a doddle to fix: Handy if it OVERHEATS, for instance

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Teardown Electronics repair biz iFixit gave Sony the thumbs-up after finding the PlayStation 4 console to be fairly easy to repair.

The screwdriver-wielding bods said a first look at the new Sony games machine turned up a system with components which can easily be accessed by owners to service or repair.

Peeling away stickers on the case reveal T9 Security Torx screws that must be taken off. Digging deep inside exposes the Blu-ray/DVD drive (the PS4 won't play your PS 1, 2 nor 3 games, by the way) and a few protective metal plates.

Below that we find the CXD90026G system-on-a-chip that includes the 1.6GHz 64-bit AMD eight-core "Jaguar" processor and AMD Radeon Graphics Core Next GPU. These sit on a motherboard with 4GB of Samsung GDDR5 RAM, SCEI CXD90025G co-processor for networking, 2Gb of Samsung DDR3 SDRAM, 256MB of Macronix serial flash, and a Marvell Ethernet controller.

Credit: iFixit

The brains of the beast ... the CXD90026G SoC in the PS4 (Click to enlarge. Credit: All photos by iFixit)

The underside of the mobo has other silicon including a Genesys Logic GL3520 USB 3.0 hub controller, a Panasonic MN86471A HDMI chip, and a Marvell Wireless Avastar 88W8797 7 system-on-chip that does Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and FM radio.

As for repairable parts, the guys noted that opening the console and accessing the PS4 hard drive (by far the most oft-upgraded piece of equipment) was particularly easy, requiring only the removal of an outer plastic casing and a pair of holding screws to remove the drive carriage from the system. From there, the 500GB hard drive could easily be replaced and reinserted.

Replacing the hard drive with a higher capacity or SSD should be a breeze

For gamers looking to do more than just swap out a hard drive, the chip fiddlers noted that the PS4 will become more difficult to access. Components such as the system's customized fan will require a near complete disassembly to get to. The firm said the fan issue could prove particularly bothersome, as the use of an entirely internal power supply (rather than an outer brick unit) will increase the internal heat in the PS4 and make a smooth-running fan of the upmost importance.

A compact internal supply will help simplify and save room for PS4 owners

Additionally, the iFixit crew noted that the angular design of the system has put sharp corners and edges on some of the internal housing components, increasing the risk of gamers cutting their hands when poking about the system's innards.

Finally getting to the fan could be a bit of work, a rare con from iFixit's report

Overall, however, the biz praised Sony for its ease of repair, awarding the PS4 with a repairability score of 8 out of 10. The score puts the console in line with desktop PCs such as the Apple Mac Mini on the ease-of-repair scale. By contrast, portable systems such as the Apple iPad and Microsoft Surface 2 are generally considered among the least-fixable with scores in the bottom end of the iFixit spectrum.

The ease of repair could come in handy for owners of new PS4s should the early reports of system errors prove serious. Many owners have already reported problems with the system's HDMI output and errors that prevent the system from starting or case the unit to shut down after a short period of time. ®

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