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PlayStation 3 Blu-ray drive may run faster than expected

Sony's PlayStation 3 may be equipped with faster than expected Blu-ray drives at launch, as it has emerged that a speedier format will be available before the next generation machine is ready for retail.

Sony's PlayStation 3 may be equipped with faster than expected Blu-ray drives at launch, as it has emerged that a speedier format will be available before the next generation machine is ready for retail.

The PlayStation 3 was originally mooted to launch with a single (1X, 36Mbit per second) speed drive to run its optical media. But with the arrival of 2X (72Mbps) drives this autumn, it's hoped that by the time PS3 launches in Japan in spring 2006, faster formats will be readily available, with potential for the multimedia machine to run up to 4X, costs permitting.

Sony has yet to confirm the speed of the drive used for PS3, and its specification is open to change over the next few months - but given that some first generation Blu-ray drives are 2X, it's quite possible that will be the minimum Sony will aim for.

For its part, Microsoft has elected to stick with the existing DVD standard in Xbox 360 - although comments from Bill Gates back at the end of June suggested that the company might be considering a move to HD-DVD, a Toshiba-backed rival format to Blu-Ray, at some point in the lifespan of the console.

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