The PlayStation 3 can be a significant contributor to your power bill, but Sony is reacting to recent criticism with a third-generation hardware version that we will be shipping this holiday season. According to media reports, the updated console will consume about 10 - 20% less power than current systems.
The transition to the new generation will mainly consist of a 65 nm shrink of the RSX GPU, which will join a 65 nm Cell processor. Combined with a new cooling architecture, which replaces copper heatpipes with smaller aluminum plates, the new PS3 is expected to consume only 100 - 120 watts, down from 135 watts today. The initial PS3 with a 90 nm Cell processor was estimated to consume up to 180 watts in normal operation.
It is unclear whether the reduction power consumption will be enough to allow Sony to drop the hardware into a slimmer case.
To us, it seems to be rather unlikely that Sony will change the form factor of the PS3 this year. Such a move is much more once the Cell processor hits 45 nm: Sony claims that a 45 nm CPU will consume 40% less power than the 65 nm version.