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PlayStation 5 DIY tablet project successfully explores an untested form factor

In context: A new video from DIY Perks shows that, while it’s possible to rebuild a PS5 into a technically portable device, it comes with significant caveats. Such demonstrations explain why mobile systems aren’t nearly as powerful as the latest consoles.

Devices like the Nintendo Switch, Steam Deck, and PlayStation Portal demonstrate the demand for hardware that can play high-end games on the go. However, portable options that support the latest AAA titles are slim. Matt Perks from DIY Perks tried to address the issue by testing whether the PlayStation 5 hardware could fit into a portable form factor.

Perks begins by highlighting how small the PS5’s motherboard is compared to the rest of the console. While he admits that the chipset could never fit into portable machines like the Switch or Steam Deck, he explores the idea of a larger tablet-like device.

The video quickly reveals that the PS5’s size, which users often complain of, comes primarily from its cooling apparatus and power supply. Perks completely redesigned the former by placing two new copper heat sinks on the sides of the central unit, rerouting custom heat pipes toward them, home-cooking some nickel plating, and adding an array of smaller fans. The result kept the system cool enough that he could downclock the fans for quieter operation.

Adding a 4K OLED panel was almost enough to turn the PS5 into a portable system, but Perks couldn’t find a battery to power the 200-watt device. For comparison, the Steam Deck uses less than one-tenth the juice, and its battery lasts only a few hours. Thus, the PS5 tablet requires an external power supply and an outlet. There’s just no way around it.

Still, the prototype console comfortably fits into a backpack. It functions perfectly on a countertop, potentially increasing the number of places where users can enjoy games like Horizon: Forbidden West or Gran Turismo 7. It’s difficult to say how much more efficient an official take on this concept from Sony would be or how much it would cost. The form factor sits somewhere between a (very thick) tablet and a high-end gaming laptop, suggesting a price well into the triple-digits.

Another one of the project’s successes is that, regardless of portability, the custom PS5 is significantly smaller than the official version, proving that Sony could shrink the console more than it has. In 2022, Perks managed a more dramatic size reduction using liquid cooling, but his latest attempt is arguably a more remarkable triumph by retaining cheaper traditional cooling.

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