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Consumer Peripherals

Sony PS3 CECH-2001A Game Console Teardown

30 November 2012
The following is an overview of a teardown analysis conducted by IHS Technology Teardown Services.

Playstation 3 Analysis Overview

This analysis of the PS3 was executed in the Oct-Nov 2009 timeframe and based on hardware that was purchased in early September 2009, shortly after release (Model CECH-2001A). This particular model is a 120GB version with the new, slimmer industrial design. When the Sony PS3 first came out in late 2006 we performed a teardown analysis on the initial release hardware (a 20GB and a 60GB model), as well as an updated view of the hardware in October 2008. We then looked at the evolution of design and cost from the initial release to the 3rd generation of hardware last year. The new PS3 slim is the least expensive hardware configuration yet, but despite our analysis, seems to barely offer a breakeven cost point for Sony.

Sony PS3 CECH-2001A Game Console - Exploded ViewSony PS3 CECH-2001A Game Console - Exploded View
Much has transpired in the Sony design since the initial release. It is our understanding that there are now already 4 generations of design evolution in the PS3, the initial release hardware in late 2006, a second generation (the hardware that was released initially into the European market) which came out in early 2007. In May 2008 the 3rd generation hardware was locked in and product shipped in Q4 2008, this year, the new 4th generation shipped at the end of Q3 in September. We expect yearly evolution of the console design.

Sony PS3 CECH-2001A Game Console - Exploded ViewSony PS3 CECH-2001A Game Console - Exploded View
Obviously Sony have made every effort to design out costs and reach the break-even point for consoles as quickly as possible. Complicating the matter is the fact that the consoles are facing a stiffer pricing market for Xbox and Wii consoles and have recently dropped retail prices (again) for the PS3 to better compete. So while costs are dropping, so are prices. The latest PS3 model [as configured here] started at $299 (down from $399 of the previous model in Oct 2008).

The bottom line: At this stage (Nov 2009), the fourth generation of hardware seems at or close to the break even point. With our total estimated BOM costs at $336 down from $455 in the 3rd generation hardware (including manufacturing and box contents). Considering the US retail price dropped $100 in 1 year, the costs have more than kept pace. Of course, Sony's blended average selling price worldwide is higher than the US price, which may mean that this console is finally at the tipping point into the black for PS3 hardware after 3 years.

Sony PS3 CECH-2001A Game Console - Device Front ViewSony PS3 CECH-2001A Game Console - Device Front View
Target Market

Although all game consoles obviously are targeted to game players and the gaming community, the PS3 has been trying to create a bit of a consumer paradigm shift which, based on it's feature-set and price point, and was initially intended to move the PS3 from the "kid's room to the living room" - primarily due to the Blu-Ray drive feature, which give the PS3 the possibility of being more of a media-hub (a la Apple TV) in the future - which would broaden the PS3's market considerably, but would also represent a significant strategy shift which, unlike Apple, does not appear to be part of Sony's game-plan short-term. The PS3 price point has marginalized the console in terms of mass acceptance and kept it as the luxury console among Nintendo and Microsoft.


PS3 120GB (this model only) - Released September 2009 in US market.

Pricing and Availability

Currently, the model being analyzed retails in the US for $299. Though not verified, during this analysis, it is important to note that the blended ASP for PS3 units sold worldwide is likely higher - as was the case with earlier versions of the hardware, selling prices in Europe and the UK for example equate to much higher ASPs.

Cost Notes

The Ever Morphing Cost Structure of the PS3

This design is significantly different from Gen 1 hardware, and even from Gen 2 hardware. Cost reductions are across the board and from generation to generation have focused on die shrinks for core silicon (process node migrations from 90nm, to 65nm and now, in some cases 45nm), but also general redesign where it makes sense to do so. The process migrations continue to drop the overall power requirements of the system, which also reduce to some extent other costs (power supply, and power supply support components, as well as cooling components). The systems have gone from requiring a 400W master power supply in Gen 1 to 260W in Gen2/3 hardware, and now 220W.

We even saw some "dis-integration" of one of the former chips - the last generation of hardware featured a Sony labeled I/O Bridge Controller (akin to the Southbridge chip function in PCs) CXD2984GB which now appears to be split into two chips: Sony CXD2984GB and NEC SW2-301. Though this seems counterintuitive for cost reduction, based on our silicon modeling, this solution is much less expensive than its predecessor's solution.

Sony PS3 CECH-2001A Game Console - Device Rear ViewSony PS3 CECH-2001A Game Console - Device Rear View
Summary of the Evolution in BOM Costs

BOM Cost Estimates (BOM Materials Only with No Manufacturing Costs)

Hardware Date 60/80GB 120GB

Initial Analysis

Gen 1 Nov 06 $800* N/A


Gen 1 Jun 07 $664** N/A

October 08 Analysis

Gen 2/3 Oct 08 $431*** N/A

November 09 Analysis

PS3 2009 Nov 09 N/A $321***

* - Original totals did not include controller or box contents.

** - These totals different (higher) from the mid 2007 analysis as some retrospective changes (i.e. some omissions and under accounted for costs) have been made as part of the Oct 08 analysis.

*** - Not including packaging / literature to be comparable with other figures.

Totals represent console plus 1 controller BOM Costs

Sony PS3 CECH-2001A Game Console - Controller Exploded ViewSony PS3 CECH-2001A Game Console - Controller Exploded View
What Is Not Included in our Cost Analysis

The total materials and manufacturing costs reported in this analysis reflect ONLY the direct materials cost (from component vendors and assorted EMS providers), AND manufacturing with basic test. Not included in this analysis are costs above and beyond the material manufacture of the core device itself - cost of intellectual property, royalties and licensing fees (those not already included into the per component price), software, software loading and test, shipping, logistics marketing and other channel costs including not only EMS provider and the OEM's margin, but that of other resellers. Our cost analysis is meant to focus on those costs incurred in the manufacture of the core device and exceptionally in some circumstances the packaging and literature as well.

Furthermore, despite our completeness with respect to hardware costs, there are many other costs we do not account for that should still have the PS3 in the red still. Most of this is IP and development cost related as it relates to the platform and OS itself. Since none of this is accounted for in our hardware analysis, it is worthwhile to consider how much such costs might add to Sony's bottom line.

Manufacturing Notes

OEM/ODM/EMS Relationships / Manufacturing

iSuppli understand that the PS3 is currently built by Foxconn in China. Furthermore, cryptic markings on the product label contain "FOX" as a reference.

Country of Origin / Volume Assumptions

The units we analyzed were assembled in China (final integration), with some of the subsystems (hard drive, 802.11 module, etc.) possibly coming from other countries, however integration is all assumed to take place in China.

Furthermore, we have assumed that in order to keep costs low, that custom mechanicals (plastics, metals, etc. were manufactured in China). See the table in the BOM analysis labeled "COO & Test Notes" or the Overview section in the online presentation for a comprehensive list of countries of origin, labor rate assumptions, etc.

Country of origin assumptions relate directly to the associated cost of manufacturing, where calculated by iSuppli. In the cases of "finished" sub-assemblies (such as hard drives), we do not calculate internal manufacturing costs, but rather assess the market price of the finished product in which case country of origin assumptions may or may not have a direct effect on pricing.

Remember also that labor rates are applied directly only to hand inserted components and systems in our bill of materials, and although regional assumptions do, these new rates do not have a direct effect on our modeled calculations of placement costs for automated SMD assembly lines. "Auto" inserted components (such as SMT components) placement costs are calculated by an iSuppli algorithm which allocates a cost per component based on the size and pincount of the device. This calculation is affected by country or region of origin as well.

Design for Manufacturing / Device Complexity

The PS3 features still a lot of discrete functional components, but it is getting simpler and simpler in terms of component and subsystem counts and overall complexity. Higher component counts can increase manufacturing costs.

Component counts are the most measurable metric by which we can judge and compare device complexities.

This is an area where the PS3 has made huge strides.

Component counts from Gen 1 to present:

Gen1 4048*

Gen2/3 2820*

PS3 (2009) 2286*/2568**

* - This discrete count does not include all of the Blu-Ray subcomponents (the Blu-Ray drive is accounted for, in this analysis, as a single unit), or packaging and literature.

** - To make the PS3 analysis count directly comparable to the other figures - we would need to add roughly 300 components to the count to adjust for the fact that the power supply is accounted for as a single unit in this most recent analysis.

Component counts have a direct bearing on the overall manufacturing cycle times and costs, and also can increase or decrease overall yields and re-work. Our calculations of manufacturing costs factor counts and more qualitative complexities in the design. The cost of manufacturing is also, to some extent, decreased in this case because of assumed labor rate applied for China.

Note that manual labor has a much smaller effect on auto-insertion assembly lines (for the Main PCB, for example), where manufacturing costs are much more capital equipment intensive and driven by these investment costs.

Design Notes

The PS3 consists of several modular blocks or sub-assemblies:

Console Subsystems

Main PCB (Motherboard)

  • Hard Drive - 2.5 Inch format (120GB in this analysis)
  • Blu-Ray Drive
  • Power Supply - 220W from unknown source (labeled SONY)
  • WLAN / Bluetooth PCB
  • Enclosure
  • Power / Eject Button PCB (Minor PCB)

Controller Subsystems

  • Controller Main PCB
  • Enclosure
  • Keypad PCB

Here is a summary of the major components used in the PS3 design:

Main PCB / Motherboard


  • Nvidia (Sony) - CXD2971GB (Gen 1) -> CXD2982GB (Gen 2/3) -> CXD2991EGB (PS3 Slim) Reality Synthesizer
  • Still the most expensive single chip in PS3 Slim
  • From 90nm process -> 65nm process geometry assumed (die is smaller) - DIE HAS NOT SHRUNK SINCE LAST GEN.
  • Remember this device features 4 discrete Samsung GDDR3 Memory Chips on board - Memory costs have risen since last October analysis, but overall cost offset by core silicon cost reductions

CPU - IBM Cell Broadband Engine

  • IBM (Sony) - CXD2964GB (Gen 1) 0-> CXD2989AGB (Gen 2/3) -> CXD2992AGB
  • From 90nm process -> 65nm process geometry (Gen2/3) -> 45nm process geometry (PS3 Slim)
  • Cost analysis assumed thinner margins - but must be reasonable consider joint IBM relationship
  • Unknown - but this joint development may involve royalties or other interparty costs or payments

I/OBridge Controller

  • Toshiba (Sony) - CXD2973GB -> CXD2984GB -> CXD9963GB
  • From 90nm process -> 65nm process geometry assumed (No further shrink but "dis-integration" of function)
  • Unknown - but this joint development may involve royalties or other interparty costs or payments

Memory (Major device only)

  • DRAM - Samsung - K4Y50164UE-JCB3 - XDR, 512Mb (x4)*

* - The application of XDR DRAM is one of very few applications we are aware of using this technology. As a result of the uniqueness of this technology, and the non-commoditized nature of the device, pricing used in our analysis assumes a premium over market when compared with similar commoditized devices. No market pricing is established for this very unique product, and the real pricing is a matter that only the supplier and Sony really know. Previous revs featured Elpida.

Wireless Interface PCB

Standalone, discrete Bluetooth, is becoming increasingly rare, as Bluetooth functionality is most often integrated now with the WiFi function, as is the case here.

  • Marvell Technology - 88W8780-BIE2 - Bluetooth / WLAN - 802.11b/g, BT 2.0+EDR

Blu-Ray Optical Drive - Sony

  • It is assumed these Blu-Ray drives in the PS3 are being integrated at cost as part of a larger Sony strategy to get more Blu-Ray devices into the marketplace.
  • This is, of course, a sole-sourced item.

Hard Drive - SATA - 120GB

  • The hard drives used in both the last version of the PS3 and the new Gen 2 version both seem to feature trailing edge drives, possibly in order to cut better deals with vendors.
  • This new 120GB drive is estimated at $38, which is within $1 ($39) of last years 80GB drive
  • Of course, hard drives can easily be multi-sourced

Power Supply - 220W - APS-250

  • Power shift - from 400 Watts to 260 Watts and now 220 Watts is largely due to shifts in the process geometry of core silicon devices AND the massive reduction in overall component count.
  • Sourcing - The original power supply was made by Sony internally, the last gen featured a Delta power suppy, and now this most recent model, again features a provate-labeled PS which may have also been produced by their EMS provider Foxconn. These two shifts are important and help reduce the power supply costs significantly.

Sony PS3 CECH-2001A Game Console - Box ContentsSony PS3 CECH-2001A Game Console - Box Contents

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