For the last couple of weeks, I've been considering to get a PlayStation 3. Not because of gaming, as I'm not a hardcore gamer, but because of the development platform it provides: a rather compact and cheap machine with an heterogeneous multiprocessor — the Cell Broadband Engine — that can easily run third-part OSes. My current research tasks focus on this area, so having a personal Cell machine at home to tinker with would be nice.

Sure, we do already have a PS3 at the department and access to the Cell blades at the BSC, but none of these are easy to access physically and they are used by other researchers to do work. Leaving them unusable or doing drastic changes to the installed systems could annoy them. (OK, the PS3 is here to allow us to install custom kernels and do more bizarre changes, but still people is working on it periodically.)

But making the decision is hard.

  • A machine with a Cell processor. Ideal for my current work.
  • A Blu-ray player.
  • Cheap considering the above two points.
  • Additionally *grin*, it's a gaming machine. Never owned one myself.
  • Installing third-party OSes is supported by the official firmware.
  • Possibility to install NetBSD and help in the port.
  • Possibility to try other distributions of Linux rather than the ones officially supported by the Cell SDK. (We are currently use Fedora 6 on the PS3 at the department, and I don't like it that much, but I can't easily convince my tutor to try something else.)
  • Easy access to the machine, with a monitor and keyboard.
  • Maybe provide a "decent" desktop computer for lightweight tasks.
  • I've heard rumors of a DVB kit for the PS3 coming in christmas. This could be a great selling point for me.
  • Considering it's a gaming machine, it's too darn expensive.
  • In my eyes, it's the worst third-generation gaming machine nowadays. The Xbox 360 has a lot more games. The Wii has the Wiimote (and my brother already owns this, so I can play with it if I want to). And as I already said, I'm not a hardcore gamer (and don't want to be one). But hey, I'd be getting a gaming machine, but the worst option...
  • I'd also have to buy a monitor for it, and flat displays above 22" (the ones that support 1080 lines) are not cheap. Sum this (even if I'd end up with a 20" one) to the PS3's price and a couple of games.
  • It's ugly, but oh well, you can surely have a different opinion.
  • I'm afraid I'd not use as much as I think I'd do now.
Any other points? I see I listed more pros than cons, but still... I'm unsure.

Update (Sep 6th): And now, Sony has officially announced a price drop for the PS3...

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