A look back at (and inside) the first Playstation

In order to mark the 25th anniversary of the original PlayStation console, iFixit recently broke one down, in order to see just how durable this important machine really was. And the engineering experts ended up being pretty impressed with the console.
Playstation 1 taken apart
The PlayStation console was surprisingly durable once broken down. Photo: iFixit.

Japan-only launch

It’s hard to believe now, but many market observers weren’t convinced that the original PlayStation would be a success. Sony were new to the video games market, and even originally released its debut console solely in Japan. With this in mind, iFixit tore down the Japan-only SCPH-1000 model.

When the breakdown process began, iFixit noted that the Japanese model featured a few internal cosmetic differences from the North American unit, but this made no difference to functionality. Interestingly, the PlayStation features a parallel I/O port, but there was no official product that was ever compatible with this internal component.

Other internal features included a serial I/O, RCA Out, RFU DC Out, S-Video Out, AV Multi Out and AC In. Each of these ports had their usages in the original PlayStation, and this was a well-stacked machine considering that it’s now 25 years old.

Huge power supply

Once the original PlayStation console is prised open, it is noticeable that the power supply takes up a fair amount of real estate. Indeed, the power supply is responsible for roughly 20% of the internals of the console. This is perhaps not that surprising when you look back at the huge power brick associated with a computer from the same time, such as the Commodore Amiga. But reducing the sheer size of the power supply has become a priority for Sony ever since.

PlayStation console teardown
The original PlayStation established many of the features that have since become standard in the console range. Photo: Evan Amos via Wikimedia.

There is also a vast array of chips included in the original PlayStation, with iFixit uncovering a Sony CXD8530BQ CPU, a Sony CXD8514Q GPU, a Samsung KM48V514BJ-6 (4 x 512 KB) DRAM chip, a Sony M534032C-02 ROM chip, Samsung KM4216V256G-60 (2 x 512 KB) VRAM, Sony CXD2922Q SPU, and Sony CXD1199BQ CD decoder. Audio RAM, a digital signal processor, a digital-to-analog converter, and a video encoder were all also included.

This is a reminder that even technology kit from 25 years ago was more complex than we would perhaps give it credit for today. Although this is a natural perspective to some extent, as the PlayStation 4 features nearly 50 times the processing power of the PSX, along with 4,000 times more RAM!

Straightforward and sturdy

iFixit concluded that the original PlayStation makes it straightforward to remove and replace components, with only a screwdriver and required for complete disassembly. The optical drives can be removed particularly easily, while all of the I/O ports on the back of the console are soldered to the motherboard.

PlayStation console teardown
The PlayStation range has become hugely successful, with many designs of various consoles never seeing the light of day. Photo: Wikimedia.

The PlayStation was a massive success for Sony, becoming the first video games system to shift over 100 million units. This confirmed the new prominence of Sony in the console market, and the PlayStation was then followed up by the even more successful PlayStation 2.

To this day, Sony retains its position as the most successful manufacturer of consoles, with the Japanese company having confirmed the release of the PlayStation 5 in 2020.

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