The older ps3s always seem more reliable to me. The blu ray drives in the slim models are trash.
The older PS3s have a known design flaw which dooms them to eventual failure. I don't know what the failure rate on the launch models is now but I would expect it's near or even above half at this point.
My understanding of the issue is this: Their lead-free solder required better cooling than what the system has to offer. Although it seems to be adequate at first, it degrades over time due to a combination of poor-quality thermal paste, horrid quality control on heat sink surfaces, and inadequate pressure on the heat sinks themselves. This causes the contact points on the BGAs under the CPU and GPU (or just the GPU according to some) to eventually break as the solder melts and hardens repeatedly and then loses its integrity. You can then temporarily revive the system by reflowing the BGAs with a heat gun or even in your oven, but it won't last permanently (regardless of whether you add flux). The typical survival time of a reflowed PS3 is anywhere from a few hours to a few months, with the average appearing to be two or three weeks. You can only reflow a system a few times before it'll eventually die for good, since it isn't really a great idea to focus that much heat on it (even if you're careful not to target the capacitors on the side of the motherboard and so forth).
tl;dr: There is nothing reliable about the launch PS3s. If not for the original Xbox 360 holding the title now and forever, the launch PS3 would probably be the least-reliable piece of home electronics ever.
Did the 2nd gen model have this problem? My 80 GB is still going strong, though I'm pretty sure the HDD will fail soon (understandably, it's been 5 years).
Don't trust the smiling penguin! http://backloggery.com/mydogskip93
the extended warranty is crap. If you lose your receipt the extension is voided. why the hell then need a receipt when they know when each console by serial number was purchased is beyond me
Don't forget which company we're talking about. Sony's customer service is TERRIBLE.
MyDogSkip: I've seen a good number of examples of the BC 80GB models getting YLODs but it overwhelmingly seems to be the 20/60gb models which suffer from it. I know the processors got progressively cooler and more efficient as new models came out, but not sure whether the first run of 80gb models had different ones from the 60gbs. So... no idea!
Several of my old video cards from EVGA did, though they've changed to a 3 year warranty recently that you can pay to extend iirc. I've heard of people RMAing ancient cards and getting something better because the card they were using was longer produced, but I think most people upgrade them before they fail. Some of the other video card manufacturers may still have it, one (XFX?) even had a lifetime warranty that you can transfer to another owner.
"The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today."-FDR
Just buy it at Costco. No Extended Warranty needed. You just need a membership and you can return the thing any time you want.. a year.. five years.. whenever. They'll even let you return opened games and blu-ray's. Best store ever.