SAN FRANCISCOThe second generation of Sony Corp.'s PlayStation 3 gaming console features a new design and carries a bill of materials (BOM) that is 35 percent lower than the original model, according to a teardown analysis by market research firm iSuppli Corp.
Thanks to some key component changes and a new version of IBM's Cell Broadband engine, Sony has driven the BOM, manufacturing and box-content cost of a PS3 down to $448.73 from $690.23, according to iSuppli's analysis, which is based on component pricing from October 2008 and mid 2007.
The new design dramatically reduces the overall cost of the console, which could allow Sony to sell the PS3 at a profit, iSuppli said. The previous generation PS3 was sold by Sony at a loss.
The new Cell, which serves as the central processing unit for the PS3, is priced at $46.46, down from $64.40 for the original part, iSuppli (El Segundo, Calif.) said.
The PS3 cost decrease is partly attributable to normal learning curve and supply/demand factors, iSuppli said. But a more significant factor is the integration of discrete components into the core silicon of the PS3, dramatically reducing the component count, according to the firm.
The new generation PS3 contains an estimated 2,820 individual parts, compared to 4,048 in the previous-generation model with a 60-Gbyte hard drive, iSuppli said.
All of the key ICs in the new PS3 have undergone changes and employ more advanced process geometry compared with the previous model, iSuppli said. These parts, which include the Cell, Nvidia Corp.'s Reality Synthesizer and Toshiba's I/O controller, are all now implemented at 65 nm, as opposed to the 90-nm parts used before, iSuppli said. It appears that each of these ICs has been redesigned to augment functionality and to integrate hordes of previously discrete components that now have disappeared from the PS3, according to iSuppli.
The revised Reality Synthesizer that serves as the PS3's graphics engine is priced at $58.01, down 30 percent from $83.17 previously, iSuppli said.