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Some helpful advice about the Sony PlayStation 3
If you're going to get a PS3 Games Console, it's important to know in advance a few things:
1. Avoid the "SLIM" variant.
2. Don't let any "updates" dupe you into losing your "Install Alternative Operating System" option! (non-reversible)
3. Make sure the hard disc drive is 60 gigabytes.
The fact is that a decent functional PS3 with its chunky case can be a useful games console and can play PS2 games as well as PS3 games. It's also a viable Blu-Ray player. The use of PS2 games is maximally possible only if the drive is 60Gb. It's also possible to run Linux on the PS3, provided it hasn't been irreversibly crippled by allowing the wrong "updates" to run.
The reason why the "SLIM" variant has to be avoided is because it does not have the "Install Alternative Operating System" option! (This also applies to irreversibly crippled machines that have had the wrong "updates").
In 2010, the advice about buying a Blu-Ray player is: Don't! Buy a (proper) PS3 instead! It also allows realtime UPSCALING of movies on DVD.
Update for 2011: Due to the endangered species status of non-crippled PS3 machines, it may be a good idea to make provision for keeping a copy of a non-upgraded PS3 in order to reverse the "upgrade".
Another Update: The uses of "Proper PS3" with the real install other operating system option, has had some notable successes, for example see www.gamasutra.com/view/news/31784/US_Air_Force_Creates_Powerful_Supercomputer_Out_Of_PS3s.php
Good Sense: Don't use your PS3 as your definitive data storage unit. PS3s (and other Personal Storage Usage machines) can sometimes fail, and then there's the question of how you're going to try to get your data back. It has been said that some PS3s have been "bricked" by updates, leaving the owner stuck without access to their wedding photos etc. Sony may say they'll "repair" the machine, but the snag is that the data is typically lost if they do this. Also, even if you take the drive out and back it up, it won't necessarily work in the "repaired" machine, as there is some sort of naff DRM sneaky thing going on and it refuses to allow the drive as it's "not the same machine". This is where you need to take the drive out BEFORE getting Sony repair involved, and send the drive to data recovery places. Worth it, as you can't replace your wedding photos, etc. Photo galleries, high scores, game status, movies, and other things stored on a Playstation, need to be backed up, whether onto uPNP servers, memory sticks, PC hard disc drives, etc. It's your data: Make sure YOU back it up!
Update: In early 2011 the Sony PS3 Network has hacked and was down for a while. This was inconvenient for some people who liked to play online roleplay and other fun things. It was very embarrassing for Sony because there were questions that they might possibly have lost millions of people's credit card details and other personal information. Worrying. However, the situation has raised an interesting question about the PS3: Could it be possible to HACK a single PS3 ? If so, it might be possible to restore the proper "Install Other Operating System" option?
There are also legal cases going on in which some people have said that they bought a Sony PS3 on the basis that it had got an "Install Other Operating System" option and this was later removed without their explicit sayso, so they in effect bought something and later had it taken away from them. Sony could lose this, and then they'd have to restore the PS3 machines to what they were when the customers bought them.