Tuesday, August 29, 2006

PS3 Blue laser diodes shortage not unlike Xbox 360 GDDR3 memory shortage?

Vaguely remember the "cause" of the Xbox 360 shortages? It was probably that pesky GDDR3 memory.

It looks like Sony may end up in a similar boat except with blue-laser diodes. Apparently, blue-laser diode yields are fairly low, and the few manufacturers of the product have demand-exceeding-supply problems. I'll speculate that the upcoming 360's HD-DVD attachment and the PS3 console aren't helping this situation.

This may not be a problem for Sony as they have just halted shipping out these parts to outside customers. They are likely hoping to ensure the PS3 launch numbers are appropriate.

However, Microsoft did think they could keep up with demand, but it ended up being out of their control. Sony claims to have comparatively "more control" over their manufacturing processes, which we'll have to see if it's enough to get them to their goals. They still rely on outside parts, so there's still hiccups waiting to happen.

It seems to me that the PS3 launch is going to end up as a last-minute venture anyway (they haven't started manufacturing yet?), and shortages will be eminent. They may not be as bad as they were for the 360, but there will be shortages nonetheless.

What concerns me, is if yields are actually low, then there could be a dangerous future for PS3's. It spells potential problems in the form or warranty work. Many have already experienced the PS2's DRE fiasco, and I'm sure they wouldn't be too happy to go through it again.

If Sony was charging $40 to fix a DRE-inducing laser, I don't even want to know what it will be for an out-of-warranty PS3's blu-ray laser.

Let's hope for a quality Playstation product.


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