What Is The Difference Between PS3 Models?
One of the most complex tasks facing anyone looking to buy a PlayStation 3, whether it is new or used, is what model of the system they are purchasing. Even more so than the Xbox 360, the model of your PS3 can change your entire gaming experience.
Your PS3 model will determine backwards compatibility, hard drive space, size, and performance. To make it even more confusing, the newest ones aren't always better. There are a number of different variables to consider when purchasing a PS3 and not all of them are straightforward.
Before you begin looking at the differences between PS3 models, here are a few constants between the PlayStation 3 systems that won't change no matter what version of the PS3 hardware you pickup.
- BluRay- Every PlayStation 3 comes with BluRay capabilities. These work with both game and movie discs.
- Hard Drive- There are no PS3 models that come without a hard drive. This is a benefit to the gamer because that means more titles can be designed around requiring installation or lots of HD space. It also ensures online games will work properly.
- USB Ports- Every PS3 is USB capable.
- Free Online Play- You do not have to pay a premium to play online with the PS3: just plug in your ethernet cable and go to town.
Read on to find out about all of the different PS3 models available. Some are still great new while some are rare finds on Ebay, but all have great video games available.
The Latest PlayStation 3 Mode; The PS3 Slim
Released in fall 2009, the PS3 slim is the newest model of PlayStation available to consumers. It is one of the most popular designs currently available. It comes with a variety of different hard drive sizes (120GB, 160 GB, 320GB) but have the same basic hardware inside.
First, as the name implies, it is smaller. Significantly smaller, in fact. It is nearly half the size of the original PS3 and lighter, to boot. This might not sound like much of a bonus, but the original PlayStation 3 models were extremely bulky.
More important than the size, however, is the technological differences on the inside. The PS3 Slim runs extremely quiet: so quiet, in fact, you might not ever notice it is on. Although the PlayStation was never particularly loud when compared to the 360, the new silent running makes it even better.
The better hardware also means that it is much less of a power drain. One of the major complaints about the older PlayStation 3 designs was how much energy it took to use it. The latest model nearly cuts the electricity used by the PS3 in half. This is good, because the old school power switch is no longer present. Most gamers never bothered with it one way or the other, but less power consumption is always a good thing.
Another bonus is that it has increased audio streaming capabilities. This won't be too important to the average gamer, but for those who use the PS3 as a multimedia device, it will make a difference. It will be especially important to those who are interested in having high quality sound in a home theater set up.
What makes all of this truly remarkable is that this is one of the cheapest PS3 models ever released. Consumers can get it at a fraction of the cost of the previous releases while getting great returns. It comes in a number of different bundles including:
- Little Big Planet Bundle
- Uncharted 2 Bundle
- Kill Zone 2/Infamous Bundle
This sounds like a pretty glowing endorsement, and it is. Gamers new to the PS3 who want a great system on a budget should definitely check out the PlayStation 3 slim model. However, it is not perfect. Like many versions of the PS3, this model has no PS2 backwards compatibility. This means that no PlayStation 2 games are playable on this console. This has been a major sticking point with Sony fans and it is still one of the most requested features for newer consoles.
The Original PS3 Models
The original PlayStation 3 models were overpriced and had smaller hard drives than the current Slim models. Why do people still want these designs so badly, years after they originally debuted? Simply put: backwards compatibility. PlayStation 2 compatible models are the most sought after PS3 models in the world.
This makes sense, as the PlayStation 2 is the best selling console of all time, and even after it has become "obsolete" still does decent enough sales to keep them in production. Unfortunately, cost cutting measures have left the latest PS3 models without any of the tools required to play the PS3.
The earliest PS3 models (the 20GB and 80GB models) had full hardware-based PS2 compatibility. Essentially, all of them came with built in PS2s inside. This meant that all of the PlayStation 2 games could be played on the PS3 with no problems.
The next iteration of PS3 models downgraded the PS2 compatibility to only include software-based backwards compatibility. While this was sufficient for most games, certain PS2 games were no longer playable on the PS3. Today, no systems come with any form of PS2 backwards compatibility.
Although some used gaming outlets (Gamestop, etc.) have these backwards compatible PS2 models, your best bet for finding them will be through eBay. They can be quite expensive, however, so keep that in mind.
Amazon will occasionally have a few sellers with these in stock as well. Buying through Amazon is usually a better way to ensure that your item is in perfect working order, but eBay has become much better at providing quality hardware over the last few years.
Which PS3 Model Should I Get?
Honestly, at this point, consumers are probably better off getting the PS3 Slim model. The older ones are expensive and the hardware is inferior. Backwards compatibility is a major annoyance, but if you're still playing PS2 games, the actual PlayStation 2 console is cheap and readily available.
Check out some of the great bundles up top: these are some of the best deals available.
If you have any question about the admittedly complex differences between PS3 models, leave a comment!
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