Posted 20 hours ago

Sony PS3 500GB Super Slim Console (PS3)

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About this deal

You can look at the results above yourself. After much eyeballing, we can't tell the difference, and as such we have no hesitation recommending any PlayStation 3 as a brilliant Blu-ray player. Indeed, for those using their consoles as media streamers and BD players, the 12GB PS3 is an obvious choice. The 12GB PS3 Super Slim: the Digital Foundry verdict At this point, the entirety of the flash chip is copied onto the hard drive in a somewhat lengthy procedure. Our drive had four tiny save games on it, but the process still took around 15 minutes to complete (our guess is that the 4GB cache portion was also ported across). Once the transfer is finished, the flash store is deactivated completely, only being used once more if the hard drive is completely removed from the system.

When we discovered that Sony had opted for an embedded chip rather than an SSD drive, we feared the worst, but generally speaking the 12GB unit performs well, outstripping expectations. In terms of write speeds, it is significantly slower than the hard drives, but it has the benefit of zero seek time - the mechanical hard drives need to move the writing head about on the surface, whereas the flash chip moves onto the next write immediately. In the case of the BD and HDD-rending GT5 install, which writes thousands of tiny files to the HDD, the flash actually outperforms the mechanical hard drives significantly, shaving off around 10 minutes from the mammoth transfer. However, elsewhere, with more prolonged writes, the flash chip came off a little worse, albeit not disastrously so.

In-game performance

We now know that other key cost areas have seen no improvement compared to the outgoing Slim - there's still a 45nm Cell processor and a 40nm RSX. These components draw the most juice from the mains, so we find that overall power consumption is much the same as it was at around 70W. Expect this to change over time - we know that the Cell is being shrunk down to 22nm while 28nm is a good fit for the RSX. Future PS3 models will doubtless retain the same chassis but be considerably cooler, quieter and more power efficient. All data on the flash chip is automatically copied onto any hard drive you add, making storage upgrades easy." Here are the visual prompts the PS3 gives you when a new drive is inserted into the 12GB model. Essentially the flash chip data is copied across to the new drive, while any existing data on the HDD needs to be wiped to accommodate it. Elsewhere: the same old Slim

First up, kudos to Sony for not upselling the 12GB PlayStation 3. The chip found inside the new model - Samsung NAND identical to that used in the Kindle Fire HD - actually has 16GB of storage, but only 12GB is available to the end-user (Microsoft take note). The balance is hived off by the PS3's GameOS, used extensively by devs for caching data while you play. You won't find any such hidden partition on your 4GB Xbox 360S and performance will be hit as a consequence if you don't install a hard drive.Other games that aggressively stream data through the cache may see similar unforeseen issues emerge. However, we didn't see anything like the same effects in any of the other games we tested. Upgrading the 12GB PlayStation 3 Secondly, with the flash storage dormant, it does strike us as something of a missed opportunity. It's clear that the chip has its strengths and that in some cases it can out-perform a conventional hard drive. The 4GB Xbox 360S allows players to retain access to the flash memory and use it simultaneously with the hard drive, and we would have liked the same function with the PS3. Unfortunately, GameOS is geared towards a single storage point and it's clear that Sony didn't want to undertake the significant development work required to support multiple devices concurrently. The good news is that upgrading the 12GB PS3 is a piece of cake. You simply buy the mounting kit, screw in any 2.5-inch hard drive and insert it onto the Super Slim hardware. After powering up the machine, it auto-recognises the presence of a new drive and the user is asked if he wants to make the switch from flash to hard drive storage.

Initially, it was believed that Sony had simply gained access to an inventory of small capacity SSDs and would ship them in the PS3's traditional hard drive bay, where it could be replaced with any other 2.5-inch hard drive, so perhaps the biggest surprise upon receiving our 12GB unit was the complete absence of anything in the expansion slot. On the one hand, this was good news - upgrading to a hard drive would be fast and painless. On the other, no SSD-type arrangement means Sony had integrated a simple flash module onto the motherboard - and, as anyone with experience of USB flash drives will know, read and write speeds vary massively from one chip to the next.

Elsewhere: the same old Slim

Any consoles sent to us without following the above guidelines may have their value reduced or may not be accepted at all (in which case they will be returned to the customer at their own expense or disposed of if the customer prefers).

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