How to extend the life of PS4 and Xbox One

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Sarah Tew / CNET

Seven years is a long time in the world of technology. You probably wouldn’t keep the same phone for seven years or the same laptop. But if you bought a new one Xbox One or PlayStation 4 in 2013, when those consoles were initially on sale, it will be seven years old later this year.

This is also when the next generation consoles – the Xbox Series X and the PlayStation 5 – are starting (moreover there are already rumors of new Nintendo Switch hardware). With expected prices between $ 400 and $ 600 and with potentially limited availability due to coronavirus supply chain disruptions, there are more than a few reasons to refrain from being an early adopter. Having said that, the PS5 is getting a digital only edition, which removes the optical drive. This should cut costs and remove a mechanically complex component, and Xbox Series X may be also get a less expensive variation.

Just like we told you how to extend the life of your laptop, these are some tips for keeping your current game console running smoothly. Consoles can be unstable: they are mostly sealed boxes, generate a lot of heat (while often found in closed living room media centers) and most still have hard drives and rotating optical drives, both of which can be a point of failure . You might remember that the original Xbox 360 run had a high lifetime failure rate, indicated by feared Red Ring of Death.

While there are many generations of current consoles, including the latest PS4 Pro and Xbox One X, these tips are primarily aimed at older hardware, which is probably in need of a little help.

A very limited number of Xbox One consoles have problems with the hard drive, says Microsoft.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Keep calm

Do the fans on your console function like wind turbines? If your gaming machine is stuck on a small shelf under the TV, it doesn’t surprise me. These boxes contain CPUs and GPUs at the gaming PC level, which can overheat. And they are based on technology that is more than seven years old, which means they have lost the latest generations of efficiency and performance changes. Why else do you think Xbox One has a power brick the size of a pound cake?

Heat is the enemy of home electronics. Here are some basic tips for keeping things fresh and airy.

  • Do not keep the console in a closed glass or wood cabinet, especially when it is operating.
  • Do not stack other devices, such as a cable box or another console, on top of the console.
  • Consider getting a riser or 3D printing a set of feet to lift the console off the ground and provide better airflow.
  • Regularly use a can of compressed air to blow away dust and debris, especially from the fans.

Update your hard drive to SSD

Each mechanical hard drive has an MTBF rating, for “average time between failures”. And for these old school drives, the first failure is also the last. If a hard drive has a turntable, such as those found on Xbox One or PS4, it will eventually die. In addition, it is somewhat slower than the newer solid state drives. (I know, I know: a 5,400 rpm disc from 2013 can’t compete with a modern SSD. Shocking!) Newer models, even the Xbox One X is PS4 Pro, still comes with HDD drives, but PS5 and Xbox Series X are finally getting full SSD.

Fortunately, replacing or updating your storage space is one of the easiest and most effective ways to boost your Xbox or PlayStation.

Here is a step-by-step guide for adding storage space on PS4, including internal and external storage options, along with some new cheap SSDs.

Xbox One is a little more difficult to deal with, but also possible. This iFixit guide is complete and outlines some extra tools you will need, including a spudger.

Fortunately, both consoles now support external drives, so it may be easier to connect one for additional (and faster) storage. No tools are required.

Replace the optical drive

I thought keeping optical drives in game consoles was crazy in 2013. He’s even crazier now. It’s hard to think of another common consumer electronics device that still comes with a DVD or Blu-ray drive. Laptop? Almost never. Configurations for home entertainment? No. There is already a digital only version of the next PS5 and Microsoft currently offers an Xbox One S. without an optical drive

So many players are using digital downloads now that you may not even notice if your console’s optical drive isn’t working. Unless you have an unmissable game on a physical disc, I might not worry, as it’s more complex than replacing a storage drive – you’ll need to get yourself a new drive supported by the PS4 motherboard. Or in the case of Xbox One, swap an internal circuit from the old optical drive to the new one.

Download

Sarah Tew / CNET

Solve software and operating system problems

If in doubt, restart it. This is the most universally accepted axiom of technical support, and it is also true for game consoles. Almost every lock or software problem I had on a console was resolved by rebooting. But this is not always the case.

The next step is not a cure for everyone at all, but just like the best way to refresh a slow laptop is to restore it to factory settings, the same can be true for a game console.

Since all your games are supposedly in the cloud, as are your saves, all you need to do after restoring is to download all the games you are playing again. This should also eliminate a lot of old junk from the console hard drive.

Xbox One

If you have problems, try a forced restart first, which is different from putting the system into standby and reactivating it (also called low power mode). You can do this by holding down the power button for 10 seconds.

Access the settings menu and go to All Settings> System> Console Information> Reset Console. There will be an option to keep the games and apps installed, which will simply restore the console firmware. The “Reset and Remove All” option will perform a full factory cleaning and give you that ready-to-deliver feeling.

PS4

Similar instructions here. From the settings menu, go to PlayStation Network / Account Management> Activate as primary PS4> Change this option to Disable if it is currently active > Get back to Settings> Initialization> Choose one of the two Restore default settings, which maintains game installations and bailouts, or Initialize PS4, which is complete cancellation.

The above tips also work when you sell or register your console and you need to extract your personal account information.

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