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Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.’s South Korean-based division on Monday officially introduced a version of the console with 80GB hard disk drive (HDD) for the country. It is highly anticipated that the part will be available in other parts of the world, but the question is how soon it will be.

The S. Korean version of the PlayStation 3 game console uses the same chassis and motherboard as the version for Europe and other PAL regions: it features Cell processor developed by IBM, Sony and Toshiba, the RSX graphics chip by Nvidia Corp., wireless network and Bluetooth connectivity, is equipped with Blu-ray optical disk drive, but, unlike the PS3 consoles sold in Japan and the U.S., it has no PlayStation 2 chips built-in, which means that old games run using emulation and some even do not work. The main difference with the PAL flavour of the game console is 33% more capacious 80GB hard drive.

Sony PlayStation 3 80GB will cost 518 thousand Korean won (about $555), which is between $499 and $599 – manufacturer suggested recommended prices for 20GB and 60GB PS3 consoles in the USA.

Earlier it was reported that on March 2, Sony filed an FCC “Class II Permissive Change” application concerning a change of the Bluetooth module used in the PlayStation 3 game console and also mentioned in the document the addition of the PS3 with 80GB hard disk drive (HDD).

The upgrade from 60GB hard drive to 80GB hard drive is hardly a reason for a launch of a new version of the console, it is much more likely that Sony will quietly start to ship 80GB PS3 versions instead of consoles with 60GB HDDs. Nevertheless, representatives for the electronics giant were quick to deny the possibility of a new gaming machine.

“As mentioned when we made the product announcement for PS3, the system will have different configurations (thus, 60GB HDD with memory card slots and Wi-Fi and 20GB HDD without memory card slots or Wi-Fi both exist). Application to the FCC has been made with various possibilities in mind, however, it does not lead to a new product announcement at this time,” a spokesman for Sony said, reports Next-Gen web-site.

It is unclear why Sony needs such a modest upgrade to its top-end PlayStation 3 game console, but a logical explanation would be that Seagate, who supplies hard drives for Sony PlayStation 3, plans cease to produce platters needed for 60GB hard drives and can offer 80GB units for the same price. Sony has already announced that the days of the PlayStation 3 20GB game console on the store shelves are counted.

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