In the olden days of game consoles, when everything still ran off of cartridges instead of discs or downloaded software, the consoles themselves were completely silent. Game software wasn't really complex enough to necessitate things like ventilation systems, after all. These days, though, game consoles like the PlayStation 5 are packing some serious computational muscle, comparable to the kind of hardware you'd find in a full-on gaming PC. To compensate for that, the PS5 naturally has a ventilation system to keep itself from overheating.
If you're used to game consoles that don't make a lot of noise while in use, hearing the distinctive whirring of the PlayStation 5's ventilation fan can be a little disconcerting. After all, if nothing was wrong, you shouldn't be hearing anything, right? If you're worried about the noise being produced by the fan, then you should relax, because those sounds are completely normal, and in fact, a sign things are working just fine.
When the PlayStation 5 is working to really render and run a game at the highest possible fidelity, that naturally places a strain on the console's components, including its internal processor and GPU. If you hear the fan more distinctly than usual while playing a graphically intensive game, that's just the cooling system working a bit harder than usual to accommodate the increased processor load, according to Sony.
It's also worth noting that the version of the PS5 that circulated when the console was originally released in 2020 is slightly different from the ones on the market now. The original PS5 was known for having a cooling fan that was a bit on the loud side. Subsequent releases of the console were updated with a different fan component that was markedly quieter than the original version. If you bought a PS5 when it was first released, that could be the reason your console fan seems weirdly loud.
Keeping things cool
While a slight increase in noise volume from your PlayStation 5's cooling fan isn't usually anything to worry about, a sustained volume increase may warrant a bit of investigation. While the fans are designed to keep up with the PS5 even at its peak output, if you're playing a high-intensity game for multiple hours on end, the console can start to overheat past the point where the fans can keep up. If the PS5 reaches a critical heating point, it will automatically shut off as a safety measure and refuse to boot until it cools.
To ensure things don't get to that point, there are some measures you can take to assist the fans in their cooling endeavor. Firstly, make sure that all of the vents on your PS5 are uncovered and have enough clearance to do their job. Sony recommends giving your PS5 at least 4 inches of clearance on all sides.
Secondly, make sure your PS5 is placed on a hard, flat surface, preferably away from the floor. Placing your PS5 on the floor, especially on fibrous surfaces like rugs and carpets, blocks the vents and fosters dust accumulation, which can lead to heat build-up. Speaking of dust, remember to perform a periodic inspection of your PS5's vents. If you see any obvious dust build-up, you can remove it using a vacuum cleaner on the lowest, gentlest setting.