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A closer look at the PlayStation 4 teardown: Sony’s design is top notch

We’ve had an extensive look at the outside of the new consoles, but what about the inside? We’re just three weeks away from the launch of the PlayStation 4, so now is the time to get to know it a little bit better. A video of Sony’s Yasuhiro Ootori executing a complete teardown of the PS4 popped up a couple of days ago, so now the public has finally had the chance to see just how beautiful the innards really are.

Ootori is featured prominently in the gorgeous video (below) as he methodically takes apart the PS4 from start to finish. As he is quick to point out, there aren’t any visible screws anywhere on the entire box. In the rear, where all four of the screws are actually located, you’ll find that they’re all covered. While two of the covers are in place to provide tamper-evident seals, they also serve the purpose of improving the overall aesthetics. To the untrained eye, the PS4 is designed to appear as an elegant rhomboid monolith.

After the four screws are removed, the bottom of the case comes right off. We can immediately see the cooling mechanism, the optical drive, and the power supply. A few more screws are taken out, and the power supply is easily removed. With a completely straight face, Ootori explains that Sony feels that power bricks are inconvenient to consumers, so the integration was a priority. It’s not a direct jab at the Xbox One, but the subtext is clear: The PS4 has better hardware design.

The Bluetooth antenna and optical drive are quickly popped out, and then he moves to the hard drive. Simply slip off a section of the top of the case, and a single screw holds the hard drive in place. Of course, this is completely user accessible, so you can upgrade your drive whenever you please. The extensive PS4 FAQ released last week revealed that this model will ship with a 500GB 5400RPM SATA II hard drive with a 9.5mm maximum height. If that sounds a bit underwhelming to you, simply upgrade to a faster drive with a higher capacity. My upgrade drive is sitting here waiting for launch, and I would recommend that route for anyone looking to future-proof this shiny new device.

Ootori continues his teardown by removing the remainder of the top cover. At this point, the core frame is visible, and he has access to the plate holding the heatsink in place. He removes the shield plate, and the motherboard is visible. After a bit of wiggling around, the motherboard pops right out.

He shows off all of the components attached to the motherboard, but there is nothing new on display. An x86 processor here, 8GB of GDDR5 RAM there, and we move onto the second shield plate. The heatsink is attached directly to this second plate, and it is surprisingly bulky. Hopefully, this means we won’t have any overheating problems with the early models. Finally, he removes the fan, and shows off the “exclusive” design.

While nothing about this teardown is especially shocking, it does highlight the beauty of the core design. Every square inch of this device has been elegantly designed for maximum utility – nothing is wasted. While Sony certainly doesn’t want to encourage hardware hacking, it seems like this console is perfectly suited for tweaking of all types. Frankly, it’s only a matter of time before PS4 case mods proliferate through the entire Internet.

For more, see our article on how the Xbox One isn't playing ball with enthusiasts, and also our piece on why you can expect problems on day one of the launch of the PS4 and Xbox One.