The Comprehensive PS3 Fan Guide

It seems a lot of people are still hungry for more information about their PS3’s fan: how loud should it be?  And when should the PS3’s fan kick in?  I’m hoping that this is THE comprehensive PS3 fan guide that will tell you everything you wanted to know.  I’ve done the hard work for you and hunted amongst Sony’s support sites and documents. I mean, let’s face it- how many of us will actually read through an instruction manual cover-to-cover?

NB: if you want to see the documentation directly, I’ve linked straight to the source.  Anything I am directly referring to will be quoted, and my own advice written underneath.  So, shall we begin?

Common solutions for troubleshooting the PLAYSTATION 3 system

Check your Environment

  • Make sure to allow adequate ventilation to flow from the PLAYSTATION 3 system’s vents (i.e. avoid obstructing the vents etc.).
  • Make sure to keep the PLAYSTATION 3 system away from excessive dust, smoke, steam, extreme temperatures, humidity, or direct sunlight.
  • See the PLAYSTATION 3 system Safety and Support guide for full details on Safety Precautions and Use and Handling.

I’ll add that the best way to position, and therefore cool your PS3, is to stand it on its side, so that it is in the vertical position.  This ensures that a greater surface area of the PS3 can be in contact with air.  If you have enough room, place your PS3 on the same level as your TV, rather than in a confined shelf where there will not be much fresh air circulating.  See the picture below:

Notice the location and position of the PS3- allows for optimum cooling eficciency
Notice the location and position of the PS3- allows for optimum cooling efficiency

Anyhow, let’s have a look at the next document, shall we?

PLAYSTATION 3 system Safety and Support guide

Use and handling

  • Do not allow liquid, small particles, or other foreign objects to get into the system or accessories.
  • Do not expose the system or accessories to dust, smoke or steam.  Also,  do not place the system in an area subject to excessive dust or cigarette smoke.  Dust build-up or cigarette smoke residue on the internal components (such as the lens) may cuase the system to malfunction.


Do not block any vents.  To maintain good ventilation, follow the guidelines below:

  • Place the system at least 10cm away from a wall surface.
  • Do not place on a carpet or rug with long fibres.
  • Do not place in a narrow or cramped space.
  • Do not cover with cloth.
  • Do not allow dust to build up on the vents.

– Vents

  • When dust accumulates in the system vents, remove the dust with a low-powered vacuum cleaner.

Other Issues

– The system makes noise

  • When using the system in a location where heat can build up, such as an enclosed AV cabinet, the fan will rotate rapidly to reduce the system’s internal temperature and this may generate increased noise.  Move the system to a location with good ventilation.

Most of this documentation is common sense, but what is the main message flowing through the documentation?  You could say ‘location, location, location’.  But in this case, it’s probably ‘ventilation, ventilation, ventilation.’  If you follow official Sony guidance (listed above) then you shouldn’t be having any problems.  Check your environment and follow the steps for cleaning your PS3 and removing dust.  As for running the PS3 fan test on 40Gb PS3s… rather you than me.

The PS3’s fan is very quiet.  If you are experiencing abnormally loud fan noises for a sustained amount of time, then double-check the location of your PS3.  If the location is fine, then you may have a faulty PS3.

See also: PS3 Fan Noise Controversy.  It contains extra info which may help you to  put this article into context.  If I’ve missed something then either send me an email, or comment on this article, and I’ll update it!

6 thoughts on “The Comprehensive PS3 Fan Guide”

  1. So if we do all of the troubleshooting and still have problems with noise (as I do) who do we contact or what do we do next?

    1. I'd get in contact with Sony directly, and tell them what the problem is. But it all does really depend on your circumstances: what exactly 'is' the problem? And are you within or outside of your warranty?

      If you're within your warranty, you should go to the store where you bought your console from. Hope this helps!

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