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PS3 F.A.Q.

PS3 / PlayStation 3 F.A.Q.

Welcome to PSU’s unofficial PlayStation 3 guide and F.A.Q. to the Sony PLAYSTATION®3. Here you will find not only the most comprehensive guide to the PS3 on the web, but also high resolution images of the PS3 and PS3 accessories. We have covered everything from the console itself to the PlayStation 3 controllers, Blu-ray, and the PlayStation Network. So jump right in by clicking on a question you wish to see answered or by clicking the images below for ultra-high resolution pictures.


 

GeneralControllers
1. What is the PLAYSTATION®3?
2. When was the PS3 released?
3. What are the different PS3 models?
4. How have the different PS3 models changed over time?
5. How much does PS3 cost?
6. What is the “Cell” Broadband Engine?
7. Can other operating systems be installed on the PS3?
8. What is included with the PS3?
9. Which graphics chip does the PS3 have?
10. How much RAM does the PS3 have?
11. Can the PS3 hard drive be upgraded?
12. What are the PS3 controllers?
13. How many controller ports are there on the PlayStation 3?
14. How far is either controller’s wireless range?
15. What is the battery life of the controllers?
16. Are DualShock 2 controllers compatible with the PS3?
17. Can the PS3 be turned on and off from the controller?
18. How much does the DualShock 3 controller cost?
Blu-rayPlayStation Network (PSN)
19. What is Blu-ray?
20. Why is Blu-ray Disc important to gaming?
21. Are Blu-ray movies region-locked?
22. How fast is the Blu-ray optical disc drive?
23. What is HDMI?
24. Can the PS3 record TV like TiVo?
25. Can you still play DVD movies and CD music on the PS3?
26. What online capabilities does the PS3 have?
27. Is there be a charge for the online service?
28. What is the PlayStation Store?
29. What are Trophies?
30. What is PlayStation Home?
31. When is Home being released?
32. What is Life with PlayStation ([email protected])?


The PLAYSTATION®3 (PS3)

. What is the PLAYSTATION®3? (back to top)

The PlayStation 3 (commonly abbreviated PS3) is the third home video game console produced by Sony Computer Entertainment, and the successor to the PlayStation 2. The PlayStation 3 competes with Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Nintendo’s Wii, as part of the seventh generation of video game consoles.

A major feature that distinguishes the PlayStation 3 from its predecessors is its unified online gaming service, the PlayStation Network, which contrasts with Sony’s former policy of relying on game developers for online play. Other major features of the console include its robust multimedia capabilities, connectivity with the PlayStation Portable, and its use of a high-definition optical disc format, Blu-ray Disc, as its primary storage medium. The PS3 was also the first Blu-ray 2.0-compliant Blu-ray player on the market.

2. When was the PS3 released? (back to top)

The PlayStation 3 was first released on November 11, 2006 in Japan, November 17, 2006 in North America, and March 23, 2007 in Europe and Oceania. Two SKUs were available at launch: a basic model with a 20 GB hard drive (HDD), and a premium model with a 60 GB hard drive and several additional features (the 20 GB model was not released in Europe or Oceania). Since then, several revisions have been made to the console’s available models.

3. What are the different PS3 models? (back to top)

There have been five PlayStation 3 hardware models release so far; commonly referred to by the size of their included hard disk drive: “20,” “40,” “60,” “80,” and “160” GB models. Of these, only the 80 GB and 160 GB models are still in production. The original launch models for North America were the 20 GB and 60 GB units. In late 2007, a 40 GB version was launched in North America and Europe, but this is also no longer in production.

4. How have the different PS3 models changed over time? (back to top)

The 20 GB and 60 GB (North American and European)

These were the original version(s) of the PLAYSTATION®3. The North American consoles (20 GB and 60 GB) offered twice as many USB ports, an additional flash card reader, Super Audio CD (SACD) support, and superior PS2 backwards compatibility over the current production models, but came with significantly less hard drive space than future version of the PS3.

In Europe the 20 GB was never launched, and the 60 GB version used software to emulate the PS2's emotion engine instead of using the actual emotion engine hardware, and as a result the level of PS2/PS1 backwards compatibility was reduced. The 20 GB model lacks the internal Wi-Fi and flash card reader of the 60 GB. It also features black trim instead of the 60 GB's chrome trim.

The 80 GB (North American)

In August 2007, an 80 GB hard drive model was added to the PLAYSTATION®3 that was 20 GB larger than the previous biggest HDD. At the same time the hardware based backwards compatibility with past generation PlayStation titles was changed to software based, as had previously occurred with the 60 GB launch model in Europe, but all the other features of the original 60 GB model stayed the same, including the internal Wi-Fi. This unit maintained the 60 GB's chrome trim finish.

The 40 GB (North American and European)

A few months after the introduction of the 80 GB PS3 in North America, Sony launched a 40 GB version of the PS3 in both the PAL (Europe) and NTSC (North America) territories. This model lost two USB ports, the flash card reader, and support for Super Audio CS (SACD) and all backwards compatibility. Unlike the 20 GB, this model also featured internal Wi-Fi and grey trim, instead of chrome (60 GB) or black (20 GB) trim.

The 80 GB & 160 GB (North American and European)

In August and November of 2008 Sony launched the 80 GB (2008) and 160 GB models in Europe and North America. These units are identical to the 40 GB model in terms of features that have been removed. Just like the 40 GB, they also both feature the same grey trim and internal Wi-Fi. The only difference is their superior hard drive space.

5. How much does PS3 cost? (back to top)

As of September 2008, the 80 GB costs $399 USD (£299 in the UK) and the 160 GB costs $499 USD.

6. What is the “Cell” Broadband Engine? (back to top)

The Cell Broadband Engine is processor powering the PLAYSTATION®3 system developed by Sony, SCEI, IBM, and Toshiba. The Cell Broadband Engine has up to eight Synergistic Processor Units (SPUs) or “cores” to help balance the processor workload thus making it more powerful and more efficient than traditional “single-core” processors.

7. Can other operating systems be installed on the PS3? (back to top)

Yes. Yellow Dog Linux is a popular choice. A guide to doing this can be found on Sony's website.

8. What is included with the PS3? (back to top)

– One or two SIXAXIS controllers and/or a DualShock 3 controller.
– USB mini-cable (for charging the controller)
– Power cable
– Ethernet cable
– Multi-AV cable with composite connectors

* Note 1: The PlayStation 3 does not come with HD cables of any sort. The main reason for this is cost, but as the PlayStation 3 uses the same cables as the PlayStation 2, if you already have component cables for the PS2 they’ll work with the PS3.

* Note 2: The 160 GB system also includes a DualShock 3 controller and two games: Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune and PAIN (via a voucher for the PlayStation Store).

9. Which graphics chip does the PS3 have? (back to top)

The RSX ‘Reality Synthesizer’ graphics processing unit is a graphics chip design co-developed by NVIDIA and Sony. It shares a lot of inner workings with NVIDIA 7800, which is based on G70 architecture. NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang stated during Sony’s pre-show press conference at E3 2005 that the RSX is more powerful than two GeForce 6800 Ultra video cards combined.

10. How much RAM does the PS3 have? (back to top)

256 MB of XDR main memory and 256 MB of GDDR3 video memory for the RSX.

11. Can the PS3 hard drive be upgraded? (back to top)

Yes. All versions (20 GB, 40 GB, 60 GB, 80 GB, 160 GB) can be upgraded. Fortunately, the PS3 doesn't require a hard-to-find proprietary HDD — you can swap it out yourself with the kind of drive found at most electronics retailers and on the internet. The type of internal 2.5″ drives that work with the PS3 top out at about 250 GB. If you don't want to open your PS3 box, 500 GB external USB drives are also readily available and compatible. You can find a comprehensive tutorial on switching hard drives at CNET.

 

 



PS3 Controllers (Sixaxis / DualShock 3)

12. What are the PS3 controllers? (back to top)

The Sixaxis

The PLAYSTATION®3 launched with the Sixaxis which has the ability to sense both rotational orientation and translational acceleration along all three dimensional axes, providing six degrees of freedom. The frame around the L2 and R2 buttons has been omitted, resulting in more trigger-like buttons, with an increased range of depression. In the place of the “Analog” mode button of previous dual analog models is a jewel-like “PS button” with the PlayStation logo, which can be used to access the home menu and turn the console or the controller on or off. The Sixaxis can operate for up to 30 hours on a full charge. A Sony representative confirmed on April 2, 2008 that the Sixaxis controller would be officially discontinued with the release of the force-feedback enabled DualShock 3 in mid-April 2008.

The DualShock 3

Announced at the 2007 Tokyo Game Show, DualShock 3 is a controller for the PlayStation 3 that hosts all the features of the Sixaxis wireless controller plus rumble capabilities. The DualShock 3 controller was released in Japan on November 11, 2007; North America on April 5, 2008; in Europe on July 2, 2008; and in the United Kingdom and Ireland on July 4, 2008. The DualShock 3 is identifiable by the top labelling which incorporates both “DualShock 3” and “Sixaxis” markings. The DualShock 3 at 192.0 grams weighs 40% more than the Sixaxis' 137.1 grams.

13. How many controller ports are there on the PlayStation 3? (back to top)

The PlayStation 3 features seven controller ports.

14. How far is either controller's wireless range? (back to top)

About 20 meters (65 feet).

15. What is battery life of the controllers? (back to top)

The Sixaxis lasts approximately 30 hours on a full charge, while the DualShock 3 lasts approximately 14 hours.

16. Are DualShock 2 controllers compatible with the PS3? (back to top)

Yes, but you will need a Pelican PS2/PS3 adaptor. You can purchase one at Amazon.

17. Can the PS3 be turned on and off from the controller? (back to top)

Yes it can. Simply hold the “PS button” in the center of your Sixaxis or DualShock 3 to turn on the console. When the system is on, hold the “PS button” until the screen brings up the option to turn off your system.

18. How much does the DualShock 3 controller cost? (back to top)

The launch prices are as follows:

North America: $54.99
Europe: €59.99
U.K: £39.99

 



Blu-ray

19. What is Blu-ray? (back to top)

Blu-ray (BD), is the name of a next-generation optical disc format jointly developed by the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA). The format was developed to enable recording, rewriting, and playback of high-definition video (HD), as well as to store large amounts of data. The format offers more than five times the storage capacity of traditional DVDs, and can hold up to 25 GB on a single-layer disc and 50 GB on a dual-layer disc. The name “Blu-ray” is derived from the blue-violet laser it uses as opposed to the traditional red lasers in DVD and CD players.

20. Why is Blu-ray Disc important to gaming? (back to top)

Blu-ray Disc offers game developers more disc space (up to 50 GB) to add more content to their games. All PlayStation 3 games so far have managed to fit onto a single disc, unlike the multiple disc games seen in past generations. This means more, higher-quality audio, high-resolution textures, advanced visual effects, and a greater volume of content can be engineered into PS3 games.

21. Are Blu-ray movies region-locked? (back to top)

Blu-ray movies are region-locked, but PS3 games themselves are not.

22. How fast is the Blu-ray optical disc drive? (back to top)

Blu-ray technology transfers at 36 Mbps at 1X speed, or about 4.5 MB per second. The PlayStation 3 features a 2X drive, so it transfers data at 72 Mbps or 9 MB per second. The PS3 reads DVDs at 8X and CDs at 24X speeds.

23. What is HDMI? (back to top)

High-Definition Multimedia Interface* (HDMI) is an industry-supported, uncompressed, all-digital audio/video interface. HDMI provides an interface between any compatible digital audio/video source, such as a set-top box, DVD player, an A/V receiver, and a compatible digital audio and/or video monitor such as a digital television.

*HDMI cable not included with PS3 system. Additional equipment may be required to use the HDMI connector.

24. Can the PS3 record TV like TiVo? (back to top)

Not at the moment. In the U.K. you can purchase an add-on called ‘PlayTV', a twin-channel DVB-T tuner peripheral with digital video recorder (DVR) software which allows users to watch and record television programs to the hard drive of a PlayStation 3 console for later viewing. Sony announced the device on August 22, 2007. The device was launched in the U.K. on September 19, 2008.

25. Can you still play DVD movies and CD music on the PS3? (back to top)

Yes.



PlayStation Network (PSN)

26. What online capabilities does the PS3 have? (back to top)

PLAYSTATION®3 features access to the PlayStation Network (a unified online service managed by Sony). It enables gamers to play together online in games, download content from the PlayStation Store, create a friends list, send private messages, and collect Trophies in select games.

27. Is there a charge for the online service? (back to top)

No, the service is completely free.

28. What is the PlayStation Store? (back to top)

The PlayStation Store is an online virtual marketplace available to users of Sony’s PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable game consoles via the PlayStation Network. The Store offers a range of both free and paid downloadable content. Available content includes full games, add-on content, playable demos, background themes and wallpapers, and game and movie trailers. The service is accessible through an icon on the XMB on the PS3 and PSP. The PS3 store can also be accessed on the PSP via a Remote Play connection to the PS3. A web-based version of the PlayStation Store for the PSP is also available via a web browser on a PC.

29. What are Trophies? (back to top)

Trophies are icons of recognition for the achievements you earn in PS3 games. They are stored to your PlayStation Network user name and as such your PSN friends can view your Trophies to compare their achievements to yours. Trophies come in four different varieties: bronze, silver, gold and platinum (each contributing a specific amount towards your PSN level), with bronze being the lowest and platinum being the highest. Platinum is a special Trophy awarded for obtaining all other Trophies in Trophy-supported retail games. Platinum Trophies are not available for most PlayStation Network games. As you earn more Trophies, your PlayStation Network level, which begins at level one, will rise. Each level becomes increasingly difficult to progress past as the number of Trophies required for each level increases significantly at each new level. Many older PS3 games, such as Warhawk and Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, have already been patched to include Trophies, but many will remain unsupported. The majority of new PS3 games support Trophies. Sony has indicated that it requires all games certified after January 2009 to include Trophies.

30. What is PlayStation Home? (back to top)

PlayStation Home is a 3D virtual community-based service for the PlayStation Network. It is currently in its open beta stage. Home allows users to create their own 3D avatar for their PlayStation Network username. This avatar will have its own ‘Home Space’, which can be decorated with items players receive as default , purchase via micropayments, or attain though PS3 games. There is also a virtual world with various other ‘Spaces’ in which players can explore, interact with other users, play games, invite friends to their Home Spaces, and much more. Home is viewed as an evolutionary service that will continue to expand over time.

31. When is Home being released? (back to top)

Home is currently in public beta testing. A release date for the “final” product has not yet been announced.

32. What is Life with PlayStation ([email protected])? (back to top)

On the September 18, 2008 the PlayStation 3’s [email protected] application became “Life with PlayStation.” Along with the existing [email protected] functionality, the application also provides users with access to information “channels,” the first of which being the Live Channel which offers news headlines and weather through a 3D globe. The user can rotate and zoom in to any part of the world to access information provided by Google News, The Weather Channel, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Space Science and Engineering Center, among other sources. At E3 2008, Jack Tretton announced a new partnership between Sony and Google which will allow users to upload video content directly to YouTube from within games (such as Mainichi Issho). This is also part of the Life with PlayStation service.