The formerly bloated operating system used by PlayStation 3 consoles has been getting some stealth reductions in recent firmware updates. The PS3’s OS now takes up 70MB less of the main system RAM.
You may have heard of the PS3’s impressive Cell processing. It’s being used in all sorts of fields including Toshiba’s CELL TV. It’s a great processor and it still hasn’t truly reached its full potential. But games can still run slow, Blu-rays can still load slowly, and the Xross Media Bar still gets unresponsive every now and then.
One of the main chokepoints for the PS3 is the incredibly small amount of RAM used in the system. The graphics processor has 256MB and the main system processor has 256MB. The Xbox 360 has the same 512MB of ram, but it's shared between the two, which means when it's not needed for one process, it can be used for another. Combine this with the obscene amount of RAM taken up by the operating system – originally a 120MB footprint – and you’ve got a recipe for system slowdown.
Sony knows that the limited RAM is a problem and they’ve been addressing it by slimming down their operating system over the last few firmware updates. The formerly chunky 120MB footprint has been cut by more than half. It’s now down to 50MB.
This should result in a slight improvement in system performance, though nothing’s been announced at this point. At the very least, the extra 70MB should help to avoid some system bottlenecks. It’s more likely though, that this space was freed up to add more in demand features.