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A bizarre PS5 fault is infuriating gamers

Image of the PS5 on a blue gradient
(Image credit: Future/Sony)

Probably the biggest problem with the PS5 is getting hold of one in the first place. The console has been infamously tricky to bag, thanks to supply constraints and its overwhelming popularity. But gamers who have been lucky enough snag a PlayStation 5 are noticing a curious issue.

It might sound like a swanky bottle of booze, but 'coil whine', or electromagnetically induced acoustic noise (thanks, Wikipedia) is in fact an unwelcome sound that can emit from electrical hardware. And thanks to graphically intensive games like Horizon Forbidden West, it's bothering more than a few PS5 users right now. (Feeling lucky? Check out the latest PS5 restock news.) 

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As the name suggests, coil whine is caused by vibrating coils as power passes through the PS5's GPU, resulting in an audible buzzing sound. Reddit is full (opens in new tab) of threads by disgruntled PS5 users, whining (sorry) about the whine. "I contacted PlayStation support about repairing my PS5 for the extremely loud coil whine and was told that’s just how the system is under stress and there’s nothing they can do," one user complains, while another adds, "I've had two PS5s so far and both have, in my opinion, crazy amounts of coil whine." 

this_is_the_state_of_my_coil_whine_on_my_brand from r/PlayStationSolutions

Just this week, a Metro writer (opens in new tab) claimed coil whine was behind their decision to sell the console. "The noise is constant throughout Elden Ring, even though I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily the most graphically intensive game I’ve ever seen, but the second I turn on Horizon Forbidden West it’s like a hornet’s nest is in there," the article reads. "It’s very distracting and, of course, now I’m looking for it, I hear it even when it’s not that loud."

In some ways, it's unsurprising that such a powerful console isn't completely silent. But judging by the steadily growing amount of complaints, we wouldn't be surprised to see coil whine up there with the Xbox 360's 'red ring of death' when it comes to hardware issues. 

PS5 restock

We can almost hear this image (Image credit: Sony)

Sony is yet to respond to the issue, and there's little advice out there about how to fix coil whine. Game Revolution (opens in new tab) suggests keeping the PS5 in a well-ventilated area, but that's about it. 

Indeed, while there's plenty to love about the PS5 – especially now the new faceplates mean you're not stuck with that garish white design – as with any new console, it has its quirks. Just wait until you see the humans in Gran Turismo 7.

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Daniel Piper
Daniel Piper

Daniel Piper is Creative Bloq’s Senior News Editor. As the brand’s Apple authority, he covers all things Mac, iPhone, iPad and the rest. He also reports on the worlds of design, branding and tech. Daniel joined Future in 2020 (an eventful year, to say the least) after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more. Outside of Future, Daniel is a global poetry slam champion and has performed at festivals including Latitude, Bestival and more. He is the author of Arbitrary and Unnecessary: The Selected Works of Daniel Piper (Selected by Daniel Piper).