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The PS3 <b>*IS*</b> a PC |

Remember when Kataragi said that the PS3 is a PC and not a game console? It came across as annoying PR nonsense. Well, now I understand what he was saying. The PS3 really is a full blown PC. It will run a real copy of Linux and let you run real applications. You can browse the web, do email, word processing, spreadsheets, and other PC tasks all on your PS3 in addition to the playing the best console games. Wow!

The PS3 won’t just be competing with the 360 and the Wii, it will be a direct competitor to budget PCs and even iMacs. Lots of people want basic email, web, word processing or spreadsheet functionality, and of course games. The PS3 does a great job at that.

Think about the PS3 from a PC perspective. It has:

  • Extremely powerful CPU
  • Extremely powerful GPU
  • Blu-Ray drive
  • Hi-resolution digital video output for both PC monitors and TVs
  • Replaceable SATA hard disk drive, 4 USB ports (which can support a keyboard and mouse), Gigabit ethernet
  • Optional flash reader and integrated WiFi

That’s a well equipped PC. The only thing that PS3 may lack for PC functionality is RAM. It has 256MB general RAM and 256MB video RAM. The main RAM can also be used for video RAM but can the video RAM be used for general RAM? Can Linux use the full 512MB? If so, 512MB is actually usable for a current PC (that’s what new iMacs ship with). If not, a lean OS can make 256MB work well too.

Remember when Kataragi said they may offer more variants of the PS3 with different upgrades and options? Of course, all PS3 games must target the minimum configuration. But if you could put 1GB or 2GB of RAM on a PS3 it would make a great Linux system. I could put Eclipse or NetBeans on it and do software development or load a web server and database server on it and it would be a great server.

The PS3 has the potential to be

  • an amazing second-to-none game platform
  • a media center with full HD movie, digital music jukebox, and online content capabilities
  • a full blown Linux PC

I can’t wait to hear what Sony announces tonight.

(BTW, sorry this overlaps somewhat with this morning’s excellent post on Yellow Dog Linux, however, there is more to cover, and this news is worth it!)

  • I cant wait for the news either this badboy each time is looking better and better i cant wait for PS3 baby!

  • I’m very curious to see how linux runs on the PS3. But I have a feeling they won’t announce anything about it tonight.

  • My old HTPC blew a RAM bar, so it got 256MB left…

    IT “is” usable though, not really fast, but manageable, as long as you dont do too much stuff simultaneously…

    This is a REAL benefit. I mean, playing Quake 4 “for free” (if you have the pc version) on the PS3 wont be reality with that size of RAM, but Quake 3 or other cool games, maybe WoW too (works pretty well in Wine since 0.919). Ok, Wine wont work (different architecture…)…

    But there’s more than enough open source games, that just wait to be recompiled for the PS3 😀

    I think, my “Car PC” will be PS3 based. I mean, were can you get a that powerful machine for that money, that even saves power (I mean, compare the power consumption of the PS3 to a “full blown pc”)…


  • agent864

    what time is the press conference tonight?

  • 5 PM California Time

  • mcloki

    I wish the Ram on the PS3 was upgradeable. 256 is going to look mighty small in a couple of years.

    Put a gig in there and the games would be much better.

  • Linux running with all software compiled specifically for the ps3 hardware, running XFCE or ICE-WM would run mint with 256mb of ram. Reason being is that most things that users are going to want to do with linux arnt that taxing. Also if you were to make it a Real-time OS, it would run superfast.

    Also 1GB of ram, is only needed for computers. The reason being is that the computer will always be a computer. It has an operating system to run aswell, and the game has to be compatible with a range of system, running different FSB.
    A Console has no operating system to run, and the games are designed specifically for the console, so they can optimize the game specifically for the hardware in mind. Look at the Mac OS, it only has to run on 6 hardware types, so it never has driver errors etc.

    Tho i cant wait for the time when hard drives are extremely fast, and cpus have enuf built in memory so that we dont need ram at all, also combine the graphics and audio onto the chip aswell. Meaning as little latency between operations as possible.
    Imagine a proc with 64 cores, quad graphics, audio and wifi built in, a small 35x35mm chip….

  • Tdskate

    So does that mean we can hook it up to a regular pc screen somehow someday?

  • Maybe even right out of the box! Someone will have to test it and see. The screen will have to support HDMI, though (or DVI, and you can use an adapter). I don’t know of a VGA cable for the PlayStation.

  • matt

    It is kind of cool you can surf the web with the PS3. I am hoping you can play games online. Their are some great NES sites where you can play the old games.

    I really don’t want the PS3 to function as a PC. You might, but for me it just isn’t feasable. I have 1 gig of RAM in my PC and a 320gb HDD. I like the plug and play features a PC offers. I think a PC needs a full blown OS to operate well for me. I have used windows since its first incarnation and I like it. I am getting Vista when it releases.

    It will fill in nicely for some PC tasks but it will never replace my PC. Checking email would be a nice feature, and surfing the web. That is all I would use it for.

  • I was thinking today ….. could you install Mac OS X Tiger on the PS3? Because it’s linux underneath it all. If so that would be very cool 😀 Guess we’ll find out in a month.

  • Darrin

    mcloki + xjavina, I agree. PS2 did a huge amount with only 32MB of RAM. The 512MB (or 256/256) on the PS3 is a huge improvement and will be great for games. But for some PC functionality, more is needed. I suspect that in the coming years, Sony may further develop the Linux PC capabilities of the PS3 and offer RAM upgrades.

    xberserker, I doubt Mac OS X will ever work. Apple is notoriously uncooperative about that kind of thing, both technically and legally. Also the PS3 looks like it will be a competitor to the iMac. BTW, Mac OS X is based on BSD which is also a flavor of UNIX but is different from Linux.

    Matt, yes there are definitely advantages to existing PCs. I’m not planning to drop my Windows PC at all. But I would like to have both. I was thinking about getting a supplemental Linux system and this might be a better choice. Also, the PS3 does support off the shelf hard drives, so adding a 320GB shouldn’t be a problem. Linux Plug & Play might be limited, but the game OS side should have excellent plug-and-play.

    This really seems like the new Amiga.