Reliability of consoles is a crucial factor for any consumer, and so far, the PS3 has proven to be solid as a rock. Perhaps surprisingly – PlayStation launches have been notoriously bad in the past – the PS3 has sported an excellent units sold : units returned defective ratio, and Sony is promoting that very positive aspect.

On the official PlayStation blog, Sony's Dave Karraker had this to say-

"A lot of noise has been made recently about the reliability issues of one of our competitor’s systems. So, not surprisingly, some of our more ambitious PlayStation faithfuls decided to run their own stress test on the PlayStation 3."

He's talking about Microsoft's Xbox 360, of course, which has suffered severely due to the "red ring of death" system failure that has caused the company to issue refunds and new 3-year warranties on busted systems. At one point, major retailers were estimating there was a 33% failure rate for the Xbox 360; those same retailers estimated the failure rate of the PS3 was less than 1%. In the face of that, Sony wanted to find out exactly how long the PS3 could last…so they let PS3 Vault run a giant stress test. And as you can see, they put that machine through some serious paces.

The following crazy conditions were implemented for testing:

But that's not even the insane part. They first put the machine in a typical family room environment, which resulted in 108 flaw-free hours (we can't really count a disc vibration for 20 seconds as a "flaw"). Then, they put it in the back of a freezer van , started the temperature at 50 degrees, and then dropped it slowly down to 0 degrees over the 108-hour span. There was some "sluggish playback" at 0 degrees, but the console still persevered. The last environment was a heat sauna ; temperature start was 100 degrees and they increased it to 120 degrees over the 24-hour span. Result? A slight burning smell at about the 64-hour mark, but the machine ran the full 108 hours without any further incident.

They concluded the only way to kill a PS3 was, quite frankly, to smash it with a sledgehammer. Karraker has called the console an "Energizer bunny," and you know what? Damn, we'd have to agree.

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