I won't put any proof of this but you can easily google this to confirm.
Sony just dumped the PS3 60 GB by 100 bucks, so its 500 now.
They are essentially stopping production on the 60 GB model and rolling out the 80 GB for now on. Once stock is out on the 60, its gone for good.
So whats the big deal... Hardware. The 60 GB and the 80 GB are not the same.
The 60 GB model came with more hardware, specifically, the 60 GB model came with complete PS2 hardware built in. In every PS2, there is a chip called EE, Emotions Chip for short. Its what gives the characters in all our favorite games those lovely expressions on their faces :-). One of the big reasons costs were so high is because they essentially Built a PS2 and a PS3 both in the same box.
So the 60 GB is supposibly able to play All PS2 and PS1 games with ease (cause the hardware is built in).
This isn't so with the 80 GB. With the "Newer" PS3, they removed the hardware to drop the price. They are using Software emulation in the PS3 to play PS2 and PS1 model games.
The issue: Software Emulation doesn't work on all the games. Presently it works on about Half your PS2/1 games. Sony is "expected" to update there emulator to run more games. Microsoft does this with the XboX360 presently.
...But there is no guarantee that your PS3 will actually play your old games.
So if you are interested in getting a PS3 as a PS2/1 replacement.. Opp to find the 60 GB model (you can remove the drive and put a 200 GB one if you so want to). Also, if you do, get the North America Model, because they removed the chips out of the 60 GB ones in Europe.
60 GB PS3, the new ebay toy...