Because, as we are all aware, the internet knows EVERYTHING, a quick google search came up with an explanation; I have an original, launch day, 60gb model. The processor in this one isn't quite as efficient as it is in the newer ones and produces more heat. Over time, if the lead free solder gets too hot, it essentially melts and/or cracks. This means the components don't connect properly and so it stops working.
I have four basic choices:
1 - Send it to Sony to get it fixed. This will cost approx £150 and they'll either fix it or send me a refurbed one of the same spec.
2 - Scrap it and buy a new one for £199.
3 - Send it to an independent place for repair at about £40-£70.
4 - Try fixing it myself.
Well obviously it makes no financial sense to send it to Sony since they only guarantee it for 90 days. I could send it to the independent or I could, via a handy YouTube video, do exactly what they would do myself at a fraction of the cost. If it doesn't work, at least I tried and I go off and buy a new one.
So tomorrow, dad and I will be doing PS3 surgery. We have to take the thing apart, clean off the old thermal paste, use a heat gun to reflow the solder (basically melt it and get it to re-set), apply new thermal paste and stick it back together again. Hopefully that'll sort it.
I'm certainly not going to be paying for someone to do what we can do for £10!