Today, I'm glad I purchased the used, older version with PS2 compatibility, even if it cost me about the same as a brand new PS3, after the purchase of the laser. If you are still looking to purchase a PS3, get the version with the hardware built into the board. It will be more reliable.
Yeah. I was initially waiting for a price drop on the PS3, but when that did not happen and realized that the newer versions were not backwards compatible I decided to buy a used 60GB PS3 that had the hardware necessary to play PS2 games. I purchased it, in not working condition, for about $350, installed a laser and have been up and running since December '08.