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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!)