Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Great gaming experience but fan noise delays ultimate PS3 review

Part 2 of the PS3 story (part 1 was a few weeks ago)...

I've returned the 80GB PS3 MGS4 Bundle.

The console was fantastic, but for one thing - the fan noise. I ran quite a few tests and it looks like the fan kicks in as soon as the console warms up (about 10 minutes). The fan apparently has a number of different speeds (and matching noise levels), but even at it's lowest level the noise is quite distracting when watching quiet scenes in movies and during quiet game scenes. This issue was not a surprise to me as I'd done quite a lot of research and seen
tons of forum discussions on the topic. I don't think the unit was faulty, I just think the extra software onboard (perhaps for PS2 backward compatibility or 1080p upconversion) plus a larger disk and likely different cooling components, make the unit run quite a lot hotter than other models.

Luckily for me, the bundle I purchased was a limited release and quite a "hot" item in the market. So when I mentioned to one of the Best Buy customer service people I was thinking of returning the unit, he said "really, great, I've got a customer waiting for one" ! He also reassured me that there was not going to be any problem returning the bundled, but open, MGS4 game (so I could get a full refund). So, I packed up the unit and returned it the next day and exchanged it for the 40GB version (which reportedly has far fewer issues with fan noise). I just set it up last night (seems quieter for now) and will be testing it out over the next few days.

But there's a funny sidenote to this customer service story. the day previous to when I returned the console
(when I had the convo the customer service person), I returned a PS3 Blu-Ray remote control (game controller works just fine) and the Sony PS3 packaged HDMI (and USB) cable, $70. In my head, was the thought that if this machine wasn't my ideal Blu-Ray player, then I could probably get away with a cheaper HDMI cable. So when I did the console exchange the next day, another sales person overheard my conversation and asked if I needed an HDMI cable, I said sure, but I was looking for a cheaper one, at which point he says "I've got an opened package in the back I can sell you at a discount". Of course, I'm thinking - I bet it's the one I returned yesterday. Sure enough it was. I actually explained the situation because I found it quite comical, but they were fine with following store policy and I bought the package back that I had returned for half the price. Nice loop hole eh ?

So I'm missing out on the great bundle price of the 80GB version, but hoping a quieter console will be just what I'm looking for. That MGS4 game was quite addictive and looked spectacular, so I may have to buy it again (now I've invested over 4 hours playing time).

What all the fuss was about

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