High-capacity Linux-enabled PlayStation® 3 units
It is common knowledge that the PS3™ is now marketed only in 40GB and 80GB models. Here in Pakistan, currently, the going rates are approximately as follows, with the lowest quoted being the general prices in Karachi at the moment.
40GB PS3™: Rs.31~35,000/- (depending on vendor)
80GB PS3™: Rs. 42~46,000/- (again, vendor-dependent).
We are offering brand-new PS3™s with 160GB and 250GB Hard-Drives. These are not officially marketed by Sony, but the replacement (and in this case, upgrading) of the HDD is perfectly legal and does not count as ‘modding’ or ‘hacking’. In addition, these PS3™ units come pre-installed with Linux as an auxiliary OS.
Hard-Drive capacity does not at first seem to be a major issue; however, one quickly realizes the limitations of the 40GB model when taking into consideration the fact that every PS3™ game requires on average 3~4 GB of installation before first play, and to continue playing the game (e.g. 3GB for Grand Theft Auto IV, 4GB for Metal Gear Solid 4, etc.). This very quickly limits the number of games concurrently playable on the 40GB PS3™ to between 10 to 12 or so at max. Such PS3™ owners with more than twelve titles or so will very quickly find themselves frustrated at having to delete installations of other games in order to make room for any new game they might wish to install (and therefore, play). This is a conservative estimate at best and in real-life people have reported maxed-out systems at just eight games.
Those wishing to use their PS3™s as media devices would be left with even less space, which means by and large that most gamers would be compelled to ignore the media capabilities of the PS3™ almost entirely in order to make room for their game installations. This is a shame since the native versatility of the PS3™'s media capability far surpasses any media device on the market. Especially in case of HD playback, which is high-capacity media in itself, the PS3™ is the number one system capable of doing it justice.
Our high-capacity PS3™s eliminate the inevitable worry of storage space every PS3™ owner will eventually face. With 160GB, and better yet, 250GB units the console finally comes somewhat close to realizing its actual potential, enabling unrestricting gameplay and plenty of leftover capacity for media as well.
And this so far is the tip of the iceberg.
Our PS3™s come installed with the latest version of Yellow Dog Linux (v6.0), specifically optimized for the PS3™. At first it might seem pointless to install a computer OS on what is essentially considered a gaming device, but Linux gives the PS3™ an entirely new dimension of versatility: It becomes a (potentially) super high-performance computing machine.
Consider this: The PS3™ runs on seven cells at 3.2 GHz each. One cell being reserved natively, Linux has access to six cells*, effectively transforming the PS3™ into a computer theoretically capable of operating at nearly 20 GigaFlops. With a mouse and keyboard you transform it into an excellent high-performance computer. As an example, one software company I know of used a 32-node cluster of systems at 32MB RAM each to program Neural-based Image Compression. That cluster benchmarked at 15 GigaFlops and unshared 1024MB RAM. This is a set-up that spans at minimum an entire 16x14ft room, not even considering the severe bottlenecks placed by the Network interconnections. This was a loosely-coupled cluster; The PS3™ is a 5 kilogram unit with 512MB RAM and a tightly-coupled cluster capable of performing (as earlier mentioned) at almost 20 GigaFlops. Tightly-coupled clusters are, obviously, miles ahead of loosely-coupled ones.
What this means, essentially, is that a Linux-installed PS3™ can potentially be one of the most powerful computing units available to the general public. This is, however, purely of interest to software developers who would be willing to try and code programs that make use of the complete six-cell set.
That was merely the description of the computing ability of a Linux-enabled PS3™; Linux also enables the PS3™ to play media that is otherwise incompatible with the native PS3™ OS. Freeware office programs such as OpenOffice.Org run flawlessly and in my personal experience have offered the single most flawless and streamlined experience of office-desktop applications I have come across. With an HD-TV setup, the PS3™ running Linux is also an extremely pleasant internet tool, allowing features that surpass the simple internet browser capability of the PS3™ default OS. There is also some minor gaming advantage.
With Linux, the PS3™ is capable of running a small host of PC games designed for Linux. It is also (theoretically) possible to run other gaming software not designed for Linux via emulation. Also, with the installation of third-party console emulators for Linux, the PS3™ can even potentially play PS2 games (a feature no longer natively available in the 40GB PS3™), XBOX games, and practically any other type of game you can find an emulator for.**
Our systems also come equipped with the latest native PS3™ firmware (currently v2.42). This is in its own self a major perk, saving buyers the hassle of having to go through the update download process, and Sony issues updates to the firmware on regular intervals. These can often be significant, e.g. The Dualshock®3 controller only works with firmware 1.94 or higher; Similarly, the latest update allows users to access the XMB from within a game, movie or any other running PS3™ application—a feature unavailable till now and one much favoured by fans of the XBOX 360.
It all sounds very exciting, and to many skeptics it therefore must be too good to be true; The price will be exorbitant, many will think. So here's the whopper. We're selling them at the following rates:
160GB PS3™, firmware v2.42, with Yellow-Dog Linux v6.0:
Rs. 40,000~Rs. 43,000***.
250GB PS3™, firmware v2.42, with Yellow-Dog Linux v6.0:
Rs. 42,000~Rs. 45,000***.
In contrast, the official 80GB PS3™ costs around Rs. 42~46,000***.
We also offer the service of upgrading your existing PS3™ (any model: 20GB, 40GB, 60GB, 80GB) to 160GB or 250GB with installation of the latest firmware. Linux installations are also offered.
The following is a quick summary of factory-shipped PS3™s versus ours: (Prices quoted are the minimums in the ranges quoted above)
40GB: Rs. 31,000/-
80GB: Rs. 42,000/-
-Old Firmware (v1.0)
-Maximum number of games playable:
40GB: 10~12 (in practice, generally 8)
Our High-Capacity PS3™s
160GB: Rs. 40,000/-
250GB: Rs. 42,000/-
-Latest Firmware available at the time (currently v2.42)
-Maximum number of games playable:
-Large capacity HDD means plenty of space for many hours worth of media
-Yellow Dog Linux v6.0 enables High-Performance computing
-Fully-functional Operating System makes it a powerful PC
-Puts six cells at your disposal (potentially upto 20 GigaFlops)
-Excellent for programs requiring high-speed calculations (if required libraries are installed) and R&D; e.g. Folding@Home which is installed natively on the PS3™ and can be accessed via the XMB.
-Can run some Linux games
-Emulators enable potentially playable:***
-Games from any other platform (provided a suitable emulator is found).
-Windows can also be run under Linux in emulation mode (although performance is poor)
N.B. Prices are subject to change depending upon market fluctuations; Our prices are essentially, very simply n+9k for 160GB and n+11k for 250GB, with n being the price of the 40GB PS™ at the time.
If further details are required, I am the contact person. Feel free to contact me via email or cellular phone:
*The estimate given is one of the total potential power of the system. In practice, non-PS3™ firmware OSes like Yellow Dog and other versions of Linux such as Ubuntu only have access to two cells.
**Emulation can be an unpredictable process and despite the high potential CPU power of the PS3™, Sony has restricted use of the PS3™’s RSX GPU, which along with the nominal amount of total RAM makes emulation a frustrating and tricky affair.
***The variation in price is due to fluctuations in the market price for native PS3™s.