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About to buy a PS3

13855 Views 72 Replies 25 Participants Last post by  Gord Lacey
We're planning on purchasing a PS3 this week. It's primary use will be for watching discs and streaming video with some gaming. Now that I started looking at what the big box stores offer I am not sure what it is I am suppose to focus in on.

The game titles mean nothing to me. I don't mean that I am not interested, it just is that I have no idea what to expect or what is good. I've played Halo on a friend's xbox back in 2005 and arcade games in the 80's.

There are different hard drive sizes. I don't know if this is important or not but I do know there are different prices depending on the hdd size.

Some come packaged with a remote but it doesn't appear to function with TV's (I have an LG LCD). Is a remote needed?

They appear to come with one controller. I would prefer two. Do these packages come sealed from the factory or do the stores make their own bundles that they would be willing to swap a game for a controller?

Thanks for the input.
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These are packaged boxes ("SKUs") and you won't be able to swap one item for another.

Price out the packages when compared to the lowest priced SKU with the extras purchased later (e.g. 2nd controller). It doesn't sound like you need a large hard drive in your PS3.
The psn network has improved greatly and its free,deal with it,
Maybe you didn't read what he said. He didn't say XBOX Live is cheaper, he said it was better.

I have yet to see a critical analysis of the two services that came to the conclusion that Sony's PSN is better than XBOX Live.
the only thing pc seems to have it over the console is mmorpg
And real time strategy games, and FPS games, and any other game that benefits from precision control.
All the 360 has in it is (now very old) pc parts whereas the ps3 was pretty much a custom build, but is kinda showing its age but still puts out the most graphically stunning games for a console.

You're wrong, and here is why:

- The PS3 has a GPU in it that is literally a off-the-shelf GeForce 7800 GTX - a PC video card. The GPU in the XBOX 360 was never shipped by ATi for PCs.

- The PS3 has a segmented memory architecture (separate memory for the CPU and GPU) which is just like a PC with a discrete GPU. The XBOX has a unified memory architecture which is unlike what you find in PCs.

- The "main" CPU in both the PS3 and the XBOX CPU are both PowerPCs, so they are both the same technology "distance" from a modern PC.
Err yeah the 360 has a very similar architecture to the PC. Just about all 360 games are also on the PC because it's so simple to port.
It may be true that there are a lot of games that are on both the XBOX 360 and the PC, but you simply assert it is because the hardware is similar. It could be for many other reasons. I'll list two reasons that are much more likely than hardware architecture to be the root cause of the situation you are observing.

1. Licensing. Console vendors give better licensing terms to games that are only released on one platform than games that are released on all three. I'd suspect that Microsoft, because they own Windows, would give the same favorable licensing terms to a company that has a XBOX 360 exclusive to a company that a XBOX 360 and a Windows version of a game.

2. APIs. Software APIs allow developers to write their code in a way that abstracts significant differences in hardware architecture away from the developer - so they can "write once" and have their software survive many hardware generations. XBOX games use the DirectX API which also conveniently work for Windows. In fact, most games are developed using PCs in the first place, so even games that only get released on the XBOX 360 and not for the PC probably have a internal version of the game that does run on a PC.

The statement that "the XBOX hardware architecture is made up of a bunch of old PC parts" was very true for the original XBOX, but it is no longer true for the 360. The 360 is not "more like a PC" than the PS3 either, as my previous post outlined.
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dezzpayne said:
The Cell processor is much different than a PC processor. The 360 processor on the other hand is extremely similar.
The XBOX 360 and PS3 chips are both from IBM, both PowerPC chips, and have a incredibly similar architecture. The difference is that Sony included a set of SPEs that are of dubious value for most game software.

I recommend you read the book "The Race for a New Game Machine" by David Shippy and Mickie Phipps.

The basic story is about how Microsoft was able to get IBM to sell them the chip that they designed for Sony before Sony got their hands on it.

From the book summary:
Now Chekib Akrout, IBM's senior vice president responsible for the PlayStation's chip team, told me another customer wanted our secret-weapon, record-smashing PowerPC microprocessor core. It was Microsoft.

"How did this happen?" I grumbled through gritted teeth.

"Let's just say it was a blockbuster, an offer IBM couldn't refuse," he answered. Over a billion dollars were involved, spanning the entire spectrum from development to chip manufacturing.

"There's more," Akrout said. "Microsoft wants something very similar to what you designed for Sony but with some unique enhancements, and they want it on the same schedule." He then described the design changes Microsoft needed for a super-aggressive, market-shaking Christmas launch.

Akrout didn't blink. It took me a second, but I got the message.
Let me give you the executive summary: the CPU in the PS3 and the CPU in the XBOX 360 is practically the same chip.

Sure, Microsoft went with a SMP design and Sony instead went with six "Synergistic Processing Elements" (well, eight, but one of them is unavailable to games and one is disabled for yield reasons). My point is that neither is very much like a x86 PC in the CPU department. Not even close, as I outlined before. Saying the XBOX 360's PowerPC chip is "just like a PC" and that the PS3 is somehow different in this department is comedy to anyone who is familiar with the details.

On the GPU front, the XBOX 360 has a custom GPU that never shipped for a PC. The PS3 has a NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GTX (NV47). Which one of those is more like a PC?

Finally, people say "being like a PC" as if it's a bad thing. The PS3 is like a PC in many ways that are great!

Here are two that come to mind:
- You can use off-the-shelf PC peripherals (keyboard, mouse, etc) on the PS3 and not the XBOX 360
- You can use off-the-shelf PC hard drives in the PS3 where Microsoft requires you buy their branded drives (boo!)
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I find it interesting that people ascribe evil intent in Microsoft's deal with IBM here. When I read those stories I just see it as a business deal like any other. It's not like the PowerPC line of chips was Sony's IP or anything - it was IBM's to sell.

Microsoft may stick the knife into their competitors, but at least Microsoft has not stooped to Sony's level when it comes to directly attacking customers with a root kit. Just saying.

The PS3 doesn't support nearly as many codecs/container formats as a general purpose computer can. PS3MediaServer simply transcodes (and/or remuxes) content from formats like MKV that the PS3 doesn't support to formats that it does support.

I have no doubt that a PS3 could technically support all those formats and provide a clean solution, but Sony is unwilling to put the software development effort into doing this in the same way that "media streamer" vendors do. Media Streamer means stuff like Boxee Box or Popcorn Hour, which support a wide range of formats.

Unfortunately, due to the closed nature of game consoles, 3rd parties software developers cannot fix the problem by adding software to support all those formats without Sony's blessing.

This is one reason why people who want "one box to do it all" often end up building/buying a HTPC.
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