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Wishlist: PS3 Linux Edition

It’s great that PS3 will run as a full blown PC with Linux installed. But the big limitation is RAM. Most competent PCs in 2007 are purchased with 1GB for regular use and power users typically want even more. 512MB is passable for basic desktop use, but the PS3 will only run with 256MB. That’s the only thing holding it back from being a genuine desktop replacement.

Sony released the 80GB PS3 configuration which seems completely pointless, from a user perspective. How about they release a special Linux edition that people would actually want:

  • More RAM This RAM would be used in Linux mode only and wouldn’t be used by games. A dedicated Linux edition should ship with at least 1GB. Ideally, this would be user upgradeable as well.
  • Larger Hard Disk 60GB is fine for regular game use and most media use. However, even though the drive is very easily upgradeable, if you want separate PS3 and Linux partitions, a larger default drive is probably a good idea.
  • Optical Disc Writing Ideally this would write Blu-Ray discs, but if it merely read Blu-Ray and wrote CD/DVD, that would be fine.
  • Full GPU Access Currently, PS3 Linux doesn’t have full GPU access. A complete PC replacement would definitely need this. Is Sony intentionally gimping the GPU? I can kind of understand why Sony would do this. Currently, the PlayStation business makes money by getting a cut of all software sales. Sony doesn’t have control over Linux software and wouldn’t get a cut of that. Why would devs make games for the PS3 OS, if they can just make Linux games and completely avoid paying Sony anything? Hmm…
  • Linux This should obviously come with Linux preinstalled or at least pre-bundled.

Why would people want this rather than just a regular PC? That’s really easy:

  • Form Factor The PS3 may be big and heavy compared to other game consoles, but it’s small, light, and quiet compared to a PC. Also, while style is a subjective issue, I suspect most would prefer the PS3 looks and form factor to any PC.
  • Cost Sure, you can get a cheaper PC from Walmart, but they aren’t nearly as nice.
  • High-End Tech How many PCs have a high end graphics card, super high-end A/V output (HDMI+Optical), embedded Bluetooth, embedded WiFi, embedded card reader, or a quiet slot-loading Blu-Ray drive? Almost none. And the ones that come close are anywhere near the PS3’s price or size.
  • Hybrid Some people want *just* a PC for office/connectivity features. Some people want *just* a games device. And other want *just* a music/movie/media device. And some people want to keep these functions on separate devices, but others don’t. There are a ton of people would be happy to get such a unit that could serve as all of the above: a high-end PC, high-end game console, and a high-end media device? Lots of people would kill for that.

So, would anyone buy such a unit? I already have a PS3, but I would buy another one if they offered this.

(FYI, this isn’t a rumor, this is just a wish list item.)

4:45 PM UPDATE: Added GPU bullet point