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Sony Computer Entertainment Inc., the maker of PlayStation game consoles, may lower the performance of its PlayStation 3 compared to planned levels in order to ensure that the company can meet volume goals. The speed decreases may lower quality of games for the forthcoming game machines.

According to a source familiar with Sony PlayStation 3’s progress cited by Kotaku web-site, Sony may lower clock-speed of the Cell processor in the console to 2.80GHz (down from 3.50GHz expected initially) and may end-up using external 400W power supply, which is an indicator that there is not enough space inside the console for the pretty hot component. The processor clock-speed downgrade is conditioned by low-yields of the chips at higher clock-speeds.

“The current designs despite having vents all over the place apparently still can’t dissipate the heat to sufficient levels,” the anonymous source claimed.

The source, who was referred to as “Phantom Insider” indicated that there are no problems with Nvidia RSX graphics processor, it is finished and “has been finished for quite a few months now”.

Earlier it was reported that game developers used high-performance PCs to showcase what the PlayStation 3 game consoles would be able to deliver to gamers. The game developers who did not run their demos on the pre-release Sony PlayStation 3 hardware, used high-performance personal computers, such as those featuring high-speed Nvidia GeForce 7900 graphics cards in SLI mode or even ATI’s Radeon X1900 in CrossFire mode.

It is typical for game console developers to tailor specifications of their machines till nearly the actual release. However, game developers are still worried about the fact that they still do not know any actual specifications of the PlayStation 3.

Sony PlayStation 3 console is based on the Cell processor developed by IBM, Sony and Toshiba, the RSX graphics chip by Nvidia Corp. and will be equipped with Blu-ray optical disk drive. According to Merrill Lynch research company, the most expensive component of the PlayStation 3 will be its Blu-ray disk drive, which will initially cost $350. The second most expensive part of the gaming machine will be the Cell processor which will cost Sony “at least” $230 per unit to make. Nvidia’s RSX graphics processor will cost $70, while for 256MB of XDR memory as well as 256MB of GDDR3 memory Sony will have to pay $50, believes Merrily Lynch. In total, the price may reach $900 just to manufacture one PlayStation 3 console. The PS3 game consoles will cost $499 or $599 depending on the system configuration.

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