Today saw the second of the big three console makers announce their next-generation platform. At its pre-E3 press conference, Sony Computer Entertainment gave the world its first look at the PlayStation 3, as it now is officially called.
The name was not unexpected, since Sony had been running an extensive teaser-ad campaign prepping the public for the PlayStation 3. The company had laid a blanket of posters around the Los Angeles Convention Center, site of the Electronic Entertainment Expo (aka E3). Bus stalls and billboards around the convention center proclaimed "Prepare for Chang3" in the distinctive PlayStation font with partial shots of the Dual Shock controller's square-circle-triangle-X buttons.
Sony also confirmed the PlayStation 3, will use Blu-Ray discs as its media format. The discs can hold up to six times as much data as current-generation DVDs. It will also support CR-ROM, CD-RW, DVD, DVD-ROM, DVD-R, DVD+R formats. It also confirmed the machine would be backward-compatible all the way to the original PlayStation. It will also have slots for Memory Stick Duo, a SD slot, and a compact flash memory slot. It will also sport a slot for a detachable 2.5 inch HDD somewhat similar the Xbox 360's
Out of the box, the PS3 will have the capability to support seven Bluetooth controllers. It will also have six USB slots for peripherals--four up front and two in the back.
Sony also laid out the technical specs of the device. The PlayStation 3 will feature the much-vaunted Cell processor, which will run at 3.2 Ghz, giving the whole system 2.18 teraflops of overall performance. It will sport 256mb XDR main RAM at 3.2 Ghz, and have 256MB of GDDR VRAM at 700mhz.
Sony also unveiled the PS3's graphics chip, the RSX "Reality Synthesizer based on Nvidia technology. The GPU will be capable of 128bit pixel precision, 1080p resolution, some of the highest HD resolution around. The RSX also has 512mb of graphics render memory and is capable of 100 billion shader operations and 51 billion dot products per second. It also has over 300 million transistors, larger than any processor available commercially today. It will be manufactured using the 90nm process with 8 layers of metal. The RSX is more powerful than two GeForce 6800 Ultra video cards, which would cost roughly $1000 total if bought today.
To show off the PlayStation 3's graphical brawn, Sony showed several game demos, including an Unreal 3 tech demo of what appeared to be Unreal Tournament 2007. In what must come as a relief to developers, Epic Games' Tim Sweeney was on hand to vouch for the PS3, saying it was "easy to program for" and that Epic had received its first PS3 hardware two months ago. He proved the tech demo was real time by showing it again and manipulating the camera and zooming in.
The PlayStation 3 will also sport some hefty multimedia features, such as video chat, internet access, digital photo viewing, digital audio and video. Sony Computer Entertainment head Ken Kutaragi introduced it as a "Super computer for computer entertainment."
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