Sony's Playstation 3 was released as more than just a game console. Some may argue that it was released as everything BUT a game console. It was expensive, it played Blu-ray movies, and it didn't really have significant launch titles as far as I recall. It quickly became the victim of smack talk among the gaming community.
I bought my first HDTV in 2004. I was already a fan of home theater and had adequate 5.1 surround at the time. Blu-ray and HD-DVD hit the market, and it was time to jump on an HD format. I chose DVD over Divx many years prior - a no-brainer, honestly - and elected to go with Blu-ray for this next generation of media. I purchased the 60 GB PS3 - The SKU with the wincingly high price of $600. Some might have called it crazy, but for me it was a Playstation that had HDMI out, played Blu-ray discs, had backward compatibility with PS1/PS2 games, and ushered in Sony's next era of gaming at home.
It was a worthwhile investment... that lasted for about 3 1/2 years.
In March of 2010, Square Enix released Final Fantasy XIII. I had been a Final Fantasy fan for a long time, so I picked it up. I'd logged a good chunk of hours over several weeks when I had the game freeze on me one night. It was quite frustrating because it had been some time since I had last saved. I was preparing myself to make that save and take a break.
I rebooted the PS3, and the most curious thing happened. The "symphonic warm-up" of strings on boot stuttered as it was playing. The wispy lines had a jerky motion, and the PS3 froze once again. "What the heck is going on here?" I said aloud as I walked back over the PS3. I powered down the PS3, gave it a few seconds, turned it on once more, and my eyes grew wide. I could hear the hard drive accessing the data. The hard drive is very quiet. The only way I would be able to hear it is if NO FANS were working. This was not good a good sign.
I powered down and gave it some time off. I gave it a gentle shake, turned it on its side - tried anything I could to remedy the slight possibility that I had some dust or some sort of blockage preventing the fan from turning. I powered it on again after about an hour or so. Same problem.
I resolved to fix the issue by just running out and buying a new PS3 Slim. Sucker? Maybe. But the bottom line was that I had an RPG I had spent numerous hours playing, and there was a newer, quieter, Slim model PS3 with a hard drive that had nearly 200 more GB than I had on the launch PS3. There was a store several blocks away from where I lived - it was just a matter of walking out, buying it, returning, and somehow retrieving the save games for Final Fantasy XIII.
If I 100% cold-booted the original PS3, I could get about 30 seconds out of it before the thing froze. Not missing my first opportunity to find out what I could do, I booted it with a flash drive in the USB port and managed to rescue my saves before it locked up. I got my profile synced up on the new PS3 and lived to fight another monster - all without having to start the game over from scratch.
So I lose yet another console, and this time there is no warranty to cover me. I never received a yellow light (that I can remember) on that model of the PS3. I assume that I only lost the fan. Those early models certainly have their problems. The "yellow light of death" is an unwelcome sight. I imagine my launch console was/is headed that direction. I told myself I would buy a replacement fan some day and use it as an excuse to open the launch PS3. I have a small hobby in electronics - why not give it a go?
Well, it still hasn't happened. I have a working PS3 that does everything the first one does. Well...almost everything.
What I am going to do with all of those PS2 saves that are still sitting on the broken PS3...?
Interestingly, just lack week, my PS3 60GB - with a 250GB 7200RPM HD upgrade - also had the fan stop working all of a sudden, causing the system to lock up from heat (I bought that original PS3 less than a year after launch off of eBay because I wanted a backwards compatible unit). It took me a while to figure out that the fan stopped spinning. Obviously, even though it's trivial to swap out the hard drive, it's not so trivial to get at the fan. I therefore just vacuumed the heck out it to clean all the dust, plugged it back in, and the fan started working again. I now have a spare 160GB slim I bought last week during the big Gamestop sale, but I really, really want to keep this original PS3 going indefinitely because of the hardware backwards compatibility (well, it has a few extra features too over the newer models, but those are not particularly critical).
Per your last blog, I haven't had the one Wii fail on me yet, but, in anticipation of Part 3, I've had a few Xbox 360's fail on me, including my launch one at launch. Right now I have three Xbox 360's, two white HDMI models and one newer black slim. So far, no issues with those. I think once they upgraded the internals post non-HDMI models, I think the reliability jumped up dramatically, which is probably the case with the PS3 slims too. I bet the new Wii's without the GameCube compatibility took a small jump in reliability as well.
Hopefully this next generation starting with the Wii U, these manufacturers have learned some valuable lessons.
I have mentiond a few times I have fixed a few (modded more than a few) of hte 3 consoles. Im not electronic guru (in fact only have very basic knowledge) but love to tinker.. sometimes more then actually play. I'm the guy wll my friends come to when they hear about modding as thy know I will have tried or done it. of the big 3, i can honesly say the PS3 seems to have the least trouble (at least as far as I HAVE SEEN.. this could be much different for others).. I can attribute some of that to the fact that I know more people with a 360 and Wii then I do a PS3.. so hence I should see less issues. The early 360.. (treding sacred ground here) where utter crap.. those 40% fail rate numbers from rumourville.. I tend to think they are quite real. At the one year mark (Before MS extended it) ebay had 1000's of broke 360.. I know as I bought several of them. The early 360's failed alot.. I am the only person with a launch one that I know of about 30... But my launch one has maybe 100-200 hours on it at most. Wii's.. several with bad Drives.. but nothing else i have ever seen fail. Much like hte real early 360 (who would scratch up cd's if dropped alot (it messed with how far the CD sat fromt he rest pegs, and dropping would move that adjustmet so the cd rubbed when spinning, this happned alot more on upright ones then flat ones and is fixed in later versions) the Wii has some issue with specif DVDs in some early ones. PS3.. i have worked on 2 with the Yellow light of death, which is (spurise suprise) pretty much the same thing sa the 360 RROD.. To much heat and the chips loss connection. The good news is the PS3 is easier to fix then the 360.. most YLOD on the ps3 can be fixed with a cheap Heatgun..(harbour frieght if you have one, about $12-20 ) Take it apart and heat the CPU and GPU up to about 700 ish.. it should reseat um and it will work again.. then figure out why it heated up (most likley dust or restricted airflow.. or as you two said, bad fans).
I think the #1 thing I found.. even people who keep spotless houses dont understand how quick thses machines suck up dust. most 360's i got where 1/4 plugged/restircted.. one ig ot was so full of duair (dust/hair) that it was about 90% restricted and it still ran.. but only for short perids of time.. i could tell the orginial owner tried alot as one of the heat shiled had heat bluing on it ( that takes ALOT of heat). people put them in a stand or closed area.. the early 360's really needed to BREATH.. and many had 1" betweeen them and a wall or closed space.. and the ehat was blowing otu the back into a closed space.. so in effect was just baking it.. The Wii is pretty much not effected by heat (as it produces so much less then the other two) The PS3 is alos a victum of to tight of spaces..
Both the new slim ps3 and 360 have advnaced enouhg that both take alot more heat ( or actually i think they gnerate less).. its just the old saying.. the more complicated you make the plumbing, the easier it is to stop it up.. the ps3 and 360 (even the Wii) are quite alot fo horsepower in a small package.. I am quite impressed they dont have more issues as I see how much airglow a good PC CPU needs and a good Video card.