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PlayStation 3 Buying Guide

Overview

Of the three current-generation consoles, Sony's PlayStation 3  is, bar-none, the post powerful. With the revolutionary Cell microprocessor at its core and Blu-Ray  discs as its storage medium, the PS3 is capable of rendering high-definition graphics and video at blistering speeds. The console has also gone fully wireless; users will be able to wirelessly connect up to seven DualShock 3  controllers at any one time and the console is wi-fi enabled right out of the box. Taking a page out of the Nintendo Wii's  handbook, the DualShock 3 also has a built-in accelerometer, allowing for the translation of motion from controller to screen.

Perhaps the most exciting feature of the PlayStation 3, though, is the introduction of the PlayStation Network , Sony's robust online content delivery system. Similar to Microsoft's Xbox Live Arcade , the PSN acts as a content store, social community and gaming network. Even better, access to the service is free. Using the PSN, users will be able to download additional content for new games, demoes, video and old-school PlayStation  titles, the latter two of which can be transferred wirelessly to the PlayStation Portable  for media on-the-go.

PS3 SKU Guide

 Since the PlayStation 3's  launch on March 23, 2007, the hardware has seen a number of iterations, with features being removed to reduce production costs or upgraded to improve usability. The launch version of the PS3 saw it packaged with a 60GB hard drive, a built-in flash card reader, 4 USB ports, on-board wi-fi, Super Audio CD  support and PlayStation 2  backwards compatibility via software emulation.

Currently, there is one Playstation 3 SKU available in European markets, the standard model with an included 80GB hard drive, that retails for £287.97. A higher-end model with an 160GB hard drive is slated for release on October 31, 2008, although no price point has been revealed as of yet. Common to both these models is the removal of PS2 backwards compatability, the flash card reader and support for Super Audio CDs , as well as a reduction in the number of USB ports, from four to two.

Both models will retain their Blu-Ray  drives and wi-fi functionality.

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