Despite the almost overwhelming doom and gloom predictions from the gaming media, Sony's latest console - the PlayStation 3 - sold out in Japan within hours of its launch. Before the Sony fans start crowing, the initial allotment for Japan PS3 launch was a mere 100,000 while only 400,000 units are available for the US launch on 17th November. It would be a while before supply can start to meet demand, though Sony expects to ship up to 6 million consoles by March 2007.
Although Sony's production woes were mainly related to the next generation Blu-ray DVD drive on the Sony PlayStation 3, that drive is also the key to Sony's hopes of winning the ongoing high definition format wars between Blu-ray and HD DVD. With two competing standards in the market, consumers are naturally inclined to wait for a clear winner before plunging in. Technology adoption has never been an exact science and having such uncertainty will not help in bringing about the already much delayed switch to high definition. The Sony PlayStation 3 may just be the catalyst needed to tilt the balance in favor of Blu-ray.
Consumers are not the only ones awaiting the outcome of the format wars. Manufacturers and content producers are also watching this development closely. Some have already introduced new products that rely on the premise that there is a critical mass for high definition. One of these forward looking vendors is MSI, which has its own reasons for wishing the Sony PlayStation 3 success. That's because of its new GeForce 7600 GT graphics card, the NX7600GT Diamond Plus.
Obviously intended for a high definition HTPC setup, the Diamond Plus comes with all the right credentials. For one, it has the all-important HDMI port and hence it's already suited for modern high definition televisions. Throw in video capturing functionality, the timing of NVIDIA's recently updated PureVideo HD software, the mid-range performance of a GeForce 7600 GT and MSI seems to have a perfect solution. On paper that is. How would it fare in our testing?