Sony's Richard Marks tells GameSpot about the PlayStation 3 design.
The PlayStation 3 system will be available with two different hard-drive options in Japan and the United States in November 2006, and in Europe and Australasia in March 2007. The later date for the European and Australasian launches (as well as those planned for Russia, the Middle East, and Africa) has been blamed on delays in blue-laser diode production. The console will hit Japan first on November 11. The 20GB model will sell for 49,980 yen (about $429), roughly $85 lower than the 59,800 yen price Sony originally announced for the console at the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2006. Sony will let Japanese retailers name their own price for the 60GB version. The PlayStation 3 will launch in the United States on November 17. In the US, the 20GB version will retail for $499, and the 60GB version will retail for $599. In Europe, the 20GB version will retail for 499 euros, and the 60GB version will retail for 599 euros. In Australia, the 20GB version will retail for AU$829.95, and the 60GB version will retail for AU$999.95.
The new PlayStation 3 console has an elegant design featuring clean lines and pleasing curves. In contrast to the Xbox 360's puckered "inhale" shape, the PS3 sides expand outward, barely containing the hardware inside. Designers had to build the case around the advanced cooling system built to handle heat output from the Cell processor, the Nvidia GPU, and the system power supply. PC or even Xbox 360 owners would expect a system with as much power as the PS3 to sound like a small aircraft on power up, but the system is actually remarkably quiet. "When it starts to notice a heat issue, it can ramp up the fan RPMs, but in general, it's as quiet as the PlayStation 2 was," according to Sony's Richard Marks.
Early prototypes showed consoles in white, black, and silver--but initial models will only be black. Sony used material choice to add extra sophistication to the console design. The console exterior appeared to be a glossy, opaque black in official preview images, but the system casing is actually a very dark, semi-transparent black similar in style to the PSP's exterior. The curved top of the console suggests that the PS3 will need to sit at the very top of your equipment stack if placed horizontally. The console will weigh in at a solid 11 pounds. In comparison, the Xbox weighs 8.5 pounds and the Xbox 360 weighs 7.7 pounds. The PS3 measures 12.8"(W) x 3.8"(H) x 10.8"(L), which is in line with the other consoles.
Like the Xbox 360 and the Nintendo Wii, the PlayStation 3 will be able to stand vertically or sit horizontally on an AV rack. PS3 owners will be able to reposition the console while the system is running without worrying about accidentally damaging a game or movie disc. "We've been doing that for six years now, I think, so we're confident that we'll have no issue with that," said Marks.
|PlayStation 3 60GB||PlayStation 3 20GB|
|CPU||Cell Processor||Cell Processor|
|GPU||Nvidia RSX||Nvidia RSX|
|System Memory||256MB XDR||256MB XDR|
|Graphics Memory||256MB GDDR3||256MB GDDR3|
|Hard Disk||2.5" SATA 60GB||2.5" SATA 20GB|
|Flash Memory Slots||Memory Stick, SD, Compact Flash||None|
|Wi-Fi||Built-in 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi||None|
|Bluetooth 2.0 EDR||Yes||Yes|
|Resolutions||480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p||480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p|
|Digital Optical Out||Yes||Yes|
The 60GB console features a front-slot-loading Blu-ray optical-disc drive and four USB ports, as well as memory stick, compact flash, and SD card reader support to provide for an absurd level of media connectivity. The 20GB PlayStation 3, in comparison, won't have memory stick, compact flash, or SD card ports. The 60GB version will also come with Wi-Fi built-in, but the 20GB version will only have the Ethernet port.
The Blu-ray optical-disc drive can play games and movie discs. Each Blu-ray disc can hold up to 54GB worth of data, which should virtually guarantee that games won't be left wanting for extra media space. Games will be region-free, but movies will still have region locks preventing multiregion playback. The Blu-ray spec has North America, South America, and Asia (except for China) in region A. If the spec doesn't change, that means your US PlayStation 3 should be able to play those Blu-ray Godzilla movies imported from Japan. The first 500,000 PS3 units will ship with a full-length Blu-ray movie, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. The PS3's Blu-ray drive will also support many of the older disc formats, including CD-ROM, CDR+W, DVD, DVD-ROM, DVD-R, and DVD+R.
The 2.5" portable hard drives supply the system with much-needed storage space for PlayStation Network downloads, applications, and media files. Games will use the hard drive for game saves, and it will cache game files for decreased load times. During the Gran Turismo HD E3 2006 demonstration, Sony's Kaz Hirai boasted that load times would be reduced to two to three seconds. The game took around six to seven seconds to load during the E3 demo, but loading times will likely drop once developers have more time for game optimization. The 60GB PS3 will be more useful than the 20GB version if you wish to take advantage of the system's media functionality, but Sony has stated that upgrading the hard disk will be as simple as dropping a larger capacity 2.5" SATA notebook hard drive into the system.Do you think the PlayStation 3 has the right mix of hardware, games, media capabilities, and online support? Are you planning on buying a system at launch on November 17?
PlayStation 3: Inside and Out
Sony has released tons of information on the upcoming PlayStation 3. This special feature sums up and analyzes what's important.
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