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Sony's action of amassing a great amount of PS3 hardware components reinforces the rumors of a slimmer model lurking around the corner. But does "newer" always directly translate to "better"? The newer 80gb and 160gb models prove this is not the conclusion.
In an obvious effort to cut production cost for the PS3 units, the exclusion of some components is present:
August 2007 - August 2008 80gb model (you can always buy a 3rd party hard drive and install the playstation 3 system software)
USB ports: 4
Flash Card Readers: Yes (SD/MultiMedia Card, CompactFlash Type I/Type II, Microdrive, Memory Stick/PRO/Duo)
Support for SACD: Yes (Super Audio CD, a high-resolution, read-only optical audio disc format)
PlayStation 2 "Emotion Engine" CPU chip: Yes (This is for backwards compatibility with PS2 games)
August 2008 - Present 80gb and limited edition 160gb models
USB ports: 2
Flash Card Readers: No
Support for SACD: No
Backwards compatibility with PS2 games: No
I believe the slimmer PS3 models will have even less components in an attempt to establish a console with a lower price to compete against the other consoles in the market. Or they will charge even more even though it's capable of less similar to their upcoming handheld system PSP Go (the PSP Go doesn't have a UMD drive because media will be available via direct download, so it is actually cheaper to make than normal PSP, but will be more expensive).
I also think the original PS3 system gets hot enough and less space might escalate this issue.