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My PS3 Hard Drive Upgrade Experience

September 9, 2008

***UPDATE 9/26/08***

Well another friend with a 60gb stock PS3 installed Wipeout and his install time was 2 minutes 40 secs, which ends up being only 20 seconds longer than mine with the upgraded drive.

So it seems that my new drive is definitely faster, but more importantly, it seems like the 40gb PS3 is equipped with a slower drive here. Interesting. ***

***UPDATE 9/25/08***

Today I and a friend both downloaded and installed Wipeout HD which clocks in at just under 1GB. I installed it on my upgraded hard drive which is now a 200GB, 7200rpm, 16mb cache drive. My friend installed him on a stock 40gb PS3.

My install time from the moment I pressed ‘X’ was: 2 minutes 20 seconds
My friends was: 4 minutes 49 seconds.

So it seems with my 7200rpm and 16mb cache drive, the install time was cut in more than half! Pretty impressive results.

Future hard drive upgraders may want to keep this in mind when selecting their new drive.***

***UPDATE 9/14/08*** After downloading the Socom Beta, I timed the approx. 1.5gb install. From the moment I pressed ‘X’ to install the beta, it took exactly 4 minutes to finish the installation.***

***UPDATE*** With the announcement of the Bioshock 10 minute Install, I will be collaborating with Julian, assuming he buys Bioshock ;-), to time the difference between his install w/ a standard PS3 HDD and my new 7200rpm, 16mb drive. I will post results next month when the game releases.***

Well, between game data installations, saved game data, ripped music, and TONS of DLC, I’ve been fast approaching the limit of my 60gb hard drive. As I was getting close to filling it and realizing that a LOT of games are coming out this fall, I decided it was time to perform a hard drive upgrade for the PS3.

The Drive
I opted for a Seagate Momentus 7200.2 200gb hard drive. The drive runs at 7200 rpm and features a 16mb cache (double the normal 8mb). I chose this drive as I wanted to go at least 200gb as I have almost filled up my 60gb in just over a year’s time and I wanted to go with the 7200 rpm as opposed to the 5400 rpm drive that is standard in the PS3. The difference in speed isn’t huge (there’s some comparisons out there that show a few seconds shaved off load times and 10-40 secs shaved off installations), but the prices have come down and it was worth it on this particular drive. I found this drive on sale at CDW for $93.99. If you’re only looking for a 160 gb drive, there’s some drives for approx. $70 out there.

The Backup Device
Well the first step was backing up all of my data on the PS3. Fortunately I found that I could do this using my 30gb Ipod Video. One inconvenience I encountered was that I use a Mac computer at home and this formats my Ipod hard drive in a Mac format. To be able to use it for data backup on the PS3, it needs to be a Windows formatted drive. This means that if you run a Mac at home, you need to take your Ipod to the nearest Windows PC, run Itunes, select ‘Restore’, and it will format your Ipod to a Windows-based drive. WARNING: This will erase ALL of your music/movies/etc on your Ipod so make sure all your files are backed up on your computer before doing this.

The Backup Process
Next, I simply plugged my Ipod into the PS3 and the PS3 recognized it as a USB storage device immediately. It’s a 30gb Ipod but had 27gb free. I had 32gb of data to backup on the PS3 (47gb was used so approx. 15gb of hard drive space is reserved on the PS3 for it’s OS and other files). After deleting 5gb worth of game data and duplicate game saves, I was ready to begin the backup process. I simply selected the ‘Backup Utility’ from the XMB. It asks you to select your backup device and I selected my Ipod. It then takes about 30 secs to scan the external drive to see if enough space is available. If there is, it starts backing up. It took just over an hour to backup 27gb of data.

The Hard Drive Replacement
Wow! This literally took me less than 10 minutes to do and that includes using canned air to clean out the PS3. First of all you’ll want to turn off the power switch in the back and then remove the cables plugged into the PS3. Then on the side of the system there is a cover that you just pop off. One screw holds the HDD carriage in place. Remove it and use the pull tab to slide the carriage to the right and then out.

NOTE: This is a great time to use a can of compressed air to clean out your system. I sprayed air through the air vents and the opening where the HDD was.

Remove 4 screws to release the HDD and swap it with the new one. Put everything back together and you’re done.

Restoring Your Data
When I turned the PS3 back on it formatted my drive which took just a few seconds. Note: The PS3 saves your online profile and your trophy data on its internal memory so you can instantly hop online if you wanted. I plugged my Ipod back in and selected ‘Restore’ from the XMB. It formatted the HDD again and it took about the same amount of time to restore as it did to backup the data, about 1 hour.

The Aftermath
Well, I haven’t played it to notice any speed differences but everything returned to normal, just the way I had it, including my theme. The only problem I had which was just a minor inconvenience had to do with trophies.

I clicked on the Trophy Collection folder and it was empty. Scared, I quickly clicked on my PSN ID and saw all of the trophies were still attached to my PSN ID thankfully. So I then opened up a game of Warhawk and exited out and behold! The trophies for Warhawk showed up in the trophy folder. Looks like if you upgrade your HDD you’ll need to pop in all the games you earned trophies in, exit out, and then they all appear, just how they were. A minor inconvenience but nothing major.

Final Thoughts
Kudos to Sony for making the upgrade of a HDD so incredibly easy. It took less than 2 1/2 hrs, start to finish to upgrade the drive, with the bulk of the time spent in backing up and restoring my existing data. I’m hoping the 200gb drive should hold me over for a while with the inevitability of digital downloads on the horizon.

In Summary
(1) 200gb Seagate Momentus 7200rpm, 16MB cache HDD
(1) Fine-Pitch Phillips Screwdriver
(1) 30GB IPod (formatted for Windows)

– 1 hour of backing up data
– 10 minutes of HDD swapping
– 1 hour of restoring data

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Julian permalink
    September 9, 2008 4:58 pm

    Nice Feature, I’ll add it to the sidebar later

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