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A New Hard Drive For Your Playstation 3?

John McLaggan
Features, PS3

2.5in laptop hard drive deals are popular, such as Play’s £43 for a 320GB 5400rpm drive or Ebuyer’s recent deal for a 400GB drive for £44 plus delivery.  Frequently the question is asked, ‘Will this work in my Playstation 3?’ This article attempts to answer that question by giving an overview of the process.

A New Hard Drive For Your Playstation 3? Sony chose to fit the PS3 with a standard laptop hard drive which is very easy to change and doesn’t void the warranty. However, it is recommended that you should keep the original drive, in case the machine needs to be sent back for repair (see here).  As demos, game installs and media can take up a growing amount of space, it’s well worth considering the inexpensive upgrade to a larger hard drive.

Playstation 3 compatible hard drives

The Playstation 3 will work with most 2.5in SATA laptop hard drives (both SATA and SATAII), however 12.5mm drives will not fit (such as the new 750GB and 1TB drives from Western Digital).  The performance benefits from faster drivers tend to be very small, even with ultra expensive solid state drives (SSD). With these two factors in mind, currently 320GB/400GB 5400rpm drives are a good choice.

Changing the hard drive does not affect the Playstation 2 capability of the console. On an original 60GB PAL console, the backwards compatibility will be retained with the new hard drive. However, upgrading on any of the other PAL models will not restore the PS3 backwards compatibility, as these machines are missing required hardware.

Backing up your content

A New Hard Drive For Your Playstation 3? Before swapping the hard drive out, you’ll probably want to back up the content on your PS3’s original hard drive. This can be achieved using either a full backup option (under system settings) or if you only want to back up certain data, such as saved games, this data can be copied manually under game-> saved game utility.  As triophies are not backed up with either method, go into Game->trophy collection press triangle and choose sync with server.

A usb memory stick or hard drive can be used for backing up, depending on what type of backup you’re doing. If it’s a full backup, an external USB laptop drive is ideal – just make sure it’s formatted to FAT32, which is normally the default.  The PS3 doesn’t support NTFS, which means if the drive is in this format it needs to be changed to FAT32. The built-in utility within Windows will limit FAT32 partitions to 32GB, so instead use a free utility like Swissknife to reformat the drive.

Swapping the hard driveA New Hard Drive For Your Playstation 3?

With all the data backed up, it’s time to swap the hard drives out. The drive is mounted on the left hand side of the PS3 under a cover. A screw holds the hard drive caddy in, which can then be slid out. The hard drive can then be removed from the caddy and the new one swapped in.

Once the PS3 is booted up with the new drive, a system upgrade will be required and then the data can be restored from the external drive in the same way it was backed up. A full backup can be restored under system settings, individual parts can be copied back and trophies simply need to be synced again.

That’s it – enjoy all the extra storage your new drive gives you!

Add a comment 1 comment
Felix Kemp  Aug. 21, 2009 at 01:12

Nice article. I've always known you could switch the PS3's hard-drive, but never really though I'd need to. Maybe once their video service launches I might feel the need for a few extra GBs!


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