Sony announces 40GB PS3, 80GB $100 price cut for NA

Long-rumored $399 <i>Spider-Man 3</i> Blu-ray bundle coming November 2; bigger brother $499 effective immediately.

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Although the new 40GB PlayStation 3 SKU has been announced for Europe, Japan, and Australia, Sony had steadfastly refused to comment on whether North Americans would also be getting the new model.

So it was to the surprise of virtually nobody when today, Sony Computer Entertainment America announced it is also releasing the 40GB PS3 in North America. As previously rumored, the console will cost $399, be released on November 2, and come bundled with a Blu-ray disc of Sony Pictures' blockbuster film Spider-Man 3 (not the game of the same name).

Though the 40GB console won't have any memory-card readers and sports only two USB 2.0 ports, it will have built-in IEEE 802.11 b/g wireless networking capability. Like its counterparts elsewhere in the world, though, it will not have software-based backwards compatibility with PlayStation 2 games. Full specifications of the new console are listed below.

For those who either don't want the stripped-down 40GB PS3 or simply can't wait until November 2, SCEA also announced it is cutting the price of its 80GB model to just $499 in the US. (The 80GB console is not currently available in Europe.) Though the PS3 remains the most expensive game console on the market, today's announcement puts both models within reach of the $349 Xbox 360 Pro and the $449 Xbox 360 Elite.

That said, the PS3's inclusion of a Blu-ray disc drive may give it an edge to North American audio-visual fanatics still on the next-gen console fence. No 360 can play HD-DVDs without the addition of an external $179 HD-DVD player, which would make the Pro model cost $528 and the Elite cost $628 in the US for comparable functionality. Also, the 40GB PS3 is now the most affordable BD player on the market, with the cheapest standalone BD players still costing more than $400. Also, all PS3s have HDMI audio-video outputs, a feature that is standard only on the 360 Elite, though it is being slowly phased into other models.

PLAYSTATION 3 40GB Specification

Console
CPU Cell Broadband Engine (Cell/B.E.)
GPU RSX

Sound
Dolby 5.1ch, DTS 5.1ch , LPCM 7.1ch, AAC

Memory
256MB XDR Main RAM, 256MB GDDR3 VRAM
HDD 2.5" Serial ATA40GB
I/O USB 2.0x2

Communication
Ethernet X1 (10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T)
IEEE 802.11 b/g Included
Bluetooth 2.0 Included (EDR)
Wireless controller (Bluetooth) Included

AV Output
Screen size: 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p
HDMI OUT x1
AV MULTI OUT x1
DIGITAL OUT x1 (OPTICAL) BD/DVD/CD Maximum Read Speed BD 2x (BD-ROM)

Drive
DVD 8x (DVD-ROM)
(Read Only) CD 24x (CD-ROM)
Dimensions Approximately 12.75in (W) x 3.86in (H) x 10.8in (D)

Weight
Approximately 11 lbs.

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