PlayStation 4: Greatness Awaits… and is Very Noisy

PS4 is great... but it's seriously annoying, too.

The PlayStation 4 is a seriously annoying console, and if you’ll bear with me, I’ll explain why I feel that way.

I hate loud noises. In fact, I’m not really a fan of any unnecessary noise at all. It comes from a life spent living in a house where the floors creak at the lightest touch and the pipes hiss like angry snakes trapped in the walls if so much as a drop of water is summoned from one of the taps.

Fine, but how does this relate to the PS4, you ask?

I remember being absolutely horrified when my cousin brought his Xbox 360 — original model — to my creaky, hissing house, and I discovered that the thing sounded like a jet preparing to take off. I was ridiculously grateful that my PS3 — first-generation slim — wasn’t anywhere near as loud as that 360, and was also very, very hopeful that the then-upcoming next-generation of consoles would be as close to silent as possible.

Time went on. November 29, 2013 came and went, and, in those earliest of days, I thought my prayers had been answered. Whilst playing Assassin’s Creed IV, I can honestly say that I didn’t notice the PS4 once. I was ecstatic.

As you might’ve guessed, this didn’t last.

The first sign of trouble on the horizon came in March 2014, as I grinded my hindquarters off in Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition’s utterly un-compelling multiplayer in a bid to Platinum the game. The PS4’s fans kicked in more than they ever had before, becoming louder than my PS3. The same thing happened during my playthroughs of inFAMOUS: Second Son and Watch Dogs respectively, and while it did bother me slightly, it wasn’t anywhere near enough to seriously annoy me. The PlayStation, however, wasn’t finished yet.

It wasn’t until the release of The Last of Us Remastered that things hot a little out-of-control. For most of the game, the system’s fans operated at about the same volume they had during the above-mentioned titles, but during those sections in which you take control of Ellie, the things grew louder than even my cousin’s Xbox 360 had been — so loud, in fact, that I could hear the PlayStation even when using in-ear earphones.

I was horrified.

After happening to mention the issue to an employee of a well-known video game retailer while I bought my PlayStation Vita, and being told that my PS4’s dulcet tones definitely didn’t sound normal, I contacted Amazon about the issue. They agreed to send a replacement immediately, without my having gotten so far as to ask for one.

I was slightly deflated at the thought that my console would no longer be of the ‘Day One’ batch, but the chance that it might be replaced with one that didn’t sound like it had been manufactured by Boeing was more than enough to get me over that.

And so the replacement arrived. My time with it started out promisingly enough — not only had my original PS4 been loud, but the actual plastic of the console had cracked and creaked at the slightest of touches. This one, however, felt solid. I was impressed.

This, too, however, wasn’t to last. After heating up whilst playing The Last of Us Factionswhich I enjoyed immensely — PS4 #2 creaked just as much as its predecessor. The fans, too, were much the same.

And then the squeaking started. Accompanying the usual noise was a high-pitched squeak like that you’d hear coming from a forlorn wooden signpost blowing in the wind. This one really drove me nuts, so — even though I felt like a top-class douche canoe (my new favourite insult, courtesy of @_Bryony_) — I got in touch with Amazon once again. Unfortunately, as this was the second instance of the problem, they couldn’t send me a new console, but instead issued me with a refund, which led to me purchasing PS4 #3, or, as I call it, The White One.

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Blessedly, The White One’s fans seem a little more tolerable than those of its predecessors, but they can still get quite loud. After three systems, I’ve come to the conclusion that PlayStation 4 is simply a loud console, and have resolved to wear in-ear earphones whenever I play it.

I don’t know why the PS4’s fans bother me so much. None of the consoles I’ve owned have been silent, but there’s just something different about the noise PS4 makes. I hope to the powers that be that the inevitable redesign is as close to silent as possible — playing with earphones 100% of the time is just plan impractical.

Fan noise, however, is just one of the PS4’s many acoustic problems. The first of the other issues — the fact that the sound of the disc spinning in the Blu-ray drive is hideously high-pitched — is simply a ‘that’s your problem, John’ issue. But the second… the second is just plain egregious, and is the single most annoying thing I’ve discovered about PS4 to date.

Turn your PS4 off — a full shut down, not Rest Mode — but leave the power on at the mains. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Now, listen.

Yours might not be as loud as mine — which can be heard across a quiet room — but PS4 constantly ticks and beeps when it’s supposedly off. I haven’t been able to stop noticing this since first I did. And, honestly, if I hadn’t found out that keeping the system in Rest Mode with the option to supply power to the USB ports off renders it completely silent, I think I would’ve gone nuts by now.

I completely accept that there will be those who think I should just wise up and get over it — and maybe they’re right. God knows I wish this stuff didn’t bother me. But I hope this post reaches those who feel the same was as I do about the PS4. I’m a PlayStation fan through-and-through, and I love what Sony have brought to the next-generation — but I can’t deny that it also gets on my nerves.

The dawn of silent hardware can’t arrive soon enough.


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