The PS3 HDD Upgrade Thread (2009 Edition)

Mejilan

Running off of Custom Firmware
#1
Almost everything you need to know about upgrading your Playstation 3's HDD! ~ 01/14/2009

I've culled a lot of the great information and discussion results posted in this thread, and decided to assemble them (with credits) into this first post. Bear in mind that this is, in essence, a distillation of the information available inside this thread, as of this revision date. If you want to partake of all of the juicy details, by all means read through the thread.

If anyone has issue with anything I've quoted, please PM me and I'll deal with. I do plan on keeping this OP updated periodically, and welcome suggestions as to possible additions/revisions to this post. Many thanks to all who've contributed. You are unsung heroes for shining your light of knowledge and so banishing the darkness of our ignorance.

Basic Info and Process Summary:
Goldrusher said:
hdd requirements:
• 2.5" SATA (aka a laptop hdd)
• 9.5 mm height
• speed: 5400 rpm or faster
• cache: 8MB or more
• size/capacity: as much as you want

screws:
• use the biggest fitting screwdriver you have, and use one that looks "too big" before trying with a smaller one
• use pliers to loosen them a bit, if the screwdriver you have messes them up

back-ups:
• the backup utility backs up everything, except for the user info (Mej edit: and Trophy data, so synchronize to server first), which is stored on the PS3 itself
• you can't use a backup from one PS3 on another PS3

installing the new drive:
• you might need a "storage medium" containing the latest system software, which can be found here: http://www.us.playstation.com/Support/SystemUpdates/PS3/pc_update.html
Killthee said:
You can find out how much space you're currently using by going to Settings -> System Settings -> System Information

The backup software will not backup the local Trophy data and copyright protected Videos (not sure about PS1/2 virtual memory cards). It will backup everything else; DRM free Videos, Music, Pics, PSN Games, Game Install's, Game Data, Partial Downloads, Copy Protect PS3 Saves, etc...

To perform a backup you just need a FAT32 partitioned drive/mem card with enough space to hold everything.
Regarding Tools...

Mej edit - Just use pliers and save yourself the frustration. The main blue screw gave way easily enough, allowing me to pull out the PS3's HDD tray. But those four evil bastards that secure the HDD to the tray? Use pliers to unscrew them. Way easier, and you won't damage the screws. I basically destroyed 3 of the 4. Only 1 came out with a screwdriver before getting stripped. I had to remove the remaining 3 screws with pliers, and just generally had an easier time with that tool instead of the screwdrivers.

Jim said:
Don't use a jewelers screwdriver. Don't use a jewelers screwdriver. Don't use a jewelers screwdriver.

Those screws are made for Japanese Industrial Standard bits. The next best thing is a large handled screwdriver with a long, snug fitting bit. Test fit whatever you have with a big handle and use that. The screws come right out. Big screwdriver, small bit.

Small jewelers screwdrivers, even though they look like they would fit, are no good.

More or less. Mostly because you don't have enough twisting leverage, and some of the screws are tight enough (not everyone's are) where trying to apply enough pressure and twist with the with the small handle will cause it to strip, since the bits aren't designed for those screw heads. (Mej edit: It's an issue of torque.)
Pristine_Condition said:
I think there are a couple clarifications to be made here:

Don't use a "jewelers" or "precision" screwdriver with those tiny, thin metal handles. That's why you had to mess with the vice to get enough torque. If you use a larger handle diameter, you can get plenty of leverage/torque. That's just basic physics at work. You won't think the screws are too tight if you use a better screwdriver handle. Believe me, the first two swaps I did were with precision screwdrivers, and I definitely had to "break" the initial grip of the screws with a needlenose to avoid stripping. Since I switched to a larger-handled set, I haven't had to do it.

I use a set designed for use with electronics construction/repair, with a handle that is about twice the size of a precision driver, but still has the little piece on the top of the handle that spins. My set is the "5 Piece ESD Safe Screwdriver Set" by General Tools Mfg. Co. (Pt. No. 713, UPC 22170) which I bought from Fry's Electronics for around $15.

Also, the #0 screwdriver size is actually too small. You can get the job done in a pinch with that size, but you really risk stripping the screw more than if you use the PROPER SIZE, which is a #1. (#1 x 2-1/2" to be precise)
So... Phillips-head screwdrivers, or Pozidriv? Tutorials and whatnot out there can't seem to agree? NeoGAF to the rescue! Specifically...
Durante said:
I just opened mine (Mej edit: PS3) and investigated it ;)
The screw heads are not pozidrive at all. They are Philips, and unlike most said previously, after some testing I would suggest a #2 Philips bit to screw/unscrew them.

(I don't get the whole problem though now that I tried it, they are easy to remove/replace with a philips #1 or #2 bit, and quite possible with a #0 or a pozidrive #0/#1)
When all else (read: screwdrivers) fail, there's always...
Beardz said:
You will need this
Viable HDD Candidates:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148336 (Verified by Mejilan)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148371
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136314 (Verified by Sporty)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136197 (Verified by pj325is & Colonel Nelson)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136279 (Verified by leehom)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822152111 (Verified by Jim)

What's this about 7200RPM HDDs over 5400RPM HDDs? And what about the cache?
Depending on when your PS3 was manufactured, and which "generation" of hardware you have, your PS3 probably came with a 5400RPM drive featuring a 4MB or 8MB cache. It's commonly accepted that the PS3 does not properly utilized faster spinning (7200RPM) HDDs. You WILL get a nominal boost in load times, but nothing truly substantial. However, getting a HDD with a larger cache (such as 8MB or 16MB) does seem to result in more tangible performance benefits! There used to be concerns that 7200RPM drives generated too much heat for the PS3 to properly diffuse, and this might have been true two years ago, but honestly, it sounds like a bit of FUD to me...

What about all these new-fangled SATA 3.0 drives I keep hearing about? Some report that the PS3 prefers the older SATA 1.5 drives, and will occasionally fail to recognize SATA 3.0 drives upon boot... Well, you can force your SATA 3.0 drives to function as SATA 1.5 drives by properly applying jumpers. Refer to your HDDs documentation for further details. Here's an idea of what you will need...
mintylurb said:


The one on the left is usually used for 2.5" hdds. The one on the right is for 3.5" hdds or cdvd/br/hdvd drives.
Finally, Links to Tutorials:
How to upgrade your Playstation 3 harddrive ~ Gamespot.com, James Yu, 08/03/2007
How to Swap Out and Upgrade a PS3 Hard Drive ~ Gamepro.com, Tenacious Moses, 08/01/2007
Upgrade the PS3 Hard Drive to get more Space for Games, Demos, and Media ~ About.com, Jason Rybka

PS3 Hard Drive Upgrade Tutorial [Video] ~ IGN Entertainment via YouTube
How to upgrade your PS3 hard drive [Video] ~ CNet.com via Youtube

Further Reading and Miscellaneous:
chimster said:
Can't really help you with selecting a hard drive but you might be able to find something in this thread.
http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=240615
polyh3dron said:
Original post below: ~ 01/09/2009
I swear I did multiple searches. I couldn't find any single thread dedicated to PS3 HDD upgrades, and the best results that I could find were mostly 2007 threads. I wasn't about to necro-bump one of those, especially since technology (and prices) can change quite a bit 1-2 years.

So here I am. I've got a US near-launch 60GB PS3 model. I'm looking to juice that up a few times over. I'm pretty sure I need a 2.5" SATA HDD (laptop-sized?) and some kind of special screw driver so as to not strip the screws that secure the HDD.

I've never shopped for this sized HDD before, so I'm not too sure what makes for a great deal/value. Considering that I just got a cheapy 500GB HDD upgrade for my PS2, I'd like to get to at least half of that with my PS3, while staying within ~$100 price-range, if possible. I have a marked preference for Seagate. 5400RPM vs. 7200RPM? I'm eyeballing a couple of Seagate Momentus drives over at Newegg at the moment...

Also, what do I need in order to perform a comprehensive backup of all of my saves, DLC, etc. I've not filled up the 60GB drive, so I'm not too sure how much I need to backup, or how much the PS3's backup software actually does backup. Saves and DLC, I imagine, are included. Any on-board vids and songs as well, right? What about retail game installations?

Edit - So what screwdrivers WILL I need?
 

Mejilan

Running off of Custom Firmware
#7
Yeah, yeah, I checked Google and hit up some tutorials as references, but most of those are from 2007 also. I'd also like to discuss HDD options, something the tuts tend to avoid doing. :(
 
#8
I have a 320 GB Samsung Spinpoint M6 (something like that) in mine. Works fine.

I stripped my screws and used needle-nose pliers to get em out.
 
#10
I think the word from previous threads was to use needle-nose pliers or something to hand-loosen the screws as an alternative to using some screwdriver that looks like it fits but ends up just stripping the whole thing.

5400RPM is fine. Make sure it has enough cache.

You can plug in any FAT32 device to do a backup. External HD, USB key, probably even SDcard/Memstick/CF if you have one big enough for the full backup (It won't do partials, which is kind of annoying if you have a ton of music/video/photos as it insists on backing those up too.) I don't think it touches retail game installs but it should back up all of your saves.

One thing I'm not sure if the backup utility does is copy all your PS1/PS2 saves. Seems unclear to me but maybe someone here knows for sure. The one PITA for this is if it doesn't, you'd have to backup every game save individually as for some reason the PS3 can't do individual backups per-virtual card.

(Trophy data isn't backed up though, so just do a trophy sync before you start swapping out.)
 

Raistlin

Post Count: 9999
#11
polyh3dron said:
OMG amazing :lol



Anyway, I purchased the Sammy Spinpoint M 320GB HDD. It's 5400 RPM, 8MB cache. I've been quite happy with it.

Unfortunately, you can't really find 2.5" drives with more cache at 5400 RPMs anymore. Typically, you don't want to go to 7800 RPM drives for temperature reasons, unless you KNOW that particular drive runs cool.


It's too bad Western Digital hasn't brought out their 'Green' line for 2.5" HDD's. Seems weird when you think about it. Lower power consumption and lower temps actually makes more sense in a laptop than most desktops. Regardless, I love their drives in my server ;)
 
#12
I put in a 500GB WD drive recently. I think it's the largest available.

I second the recommendation for deployment of needlenose pliers.
 
#15
I dont remember where i saw it but some media outlet did. They say it helps load times and everything, but spending $700 on a high speed large sized solid state drive is still to prohibitively priced.

Oh and Mejilan. 5400 rpm works well I heard that 7200 can cause heat problems sometimes. However, that 16 MB cache is pretty nice.
 
#17
I just put a 500G WD in 2 weeks ago. Costs about $110 from newegg. Read all the threads and tutorials and found it was actually easier then most of the tutorials seems to make it out to be. I've read problems with the screws, needing to put firmware on a USB drive before hand.

I did all those steps, but the screw didn't get stripped, just used slow turns with enough pressure, probably luck on that part. Downloaded the firmware and had my USB thumb drive set up but after I booted the new drive I didn't need to upgrade, guess it's later models that do, not sure (mine is a launch 60GB).

Everything works just as before except instead of 10G free I have 400G free after my ipod was completely copied and old 60Gb data restored.

I used this HDD
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136314
 
#18
Mejilan said:
Yeah, yeah, I checked Google and hit up some tutorials as references, but most of those are from 2007 also. I'd also like to discuss HDD options, something the tuts tend to avoid doing. :(
lol, nothing has changed from 2007 to 2009 in terms of upgrading the hdd's.

I'd go for that 500gb. The 7200 RPM does nothing in terms of adding performance to the PS3. A bigger cache does help though.
 
#19
kairu said:
I dont remember where i saw it but some media outlet did. They say it helps load times and everything, but spending $700 on a high speed large sized solid state drive is still to prohibitively priced.

Oh and Mejilan. 5400 rpm works well I heard that 7200 can cause heat problems sometimes. However, that 16 MB cache is pretty nice.

I think newegg had 128GB for about 250 awhile back. I would love to see what kind of difference it makes in person. Too bad I'm not rich!
 
#22
Mejilan said:
Thanks Crazymoogle.

I'm scoping out these two models right now:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148336
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148371

$100 for a Seagate 320GB 7200RPM 16MB cache HDD
$110 for a Seagate 500GB 5400RPM 8MB cache HDD
If I remember correctly, the ps3's SATA interface is only 1.5Gb and those 2 Seagate drives are SATA 3.0Gb. Although SATA 3.0Gb is backward compatible, the ps3 from time to time won't recognize SATA 3.0 Gb drives when it boots up. This was happening to my PS3 as well. One way to solve that problem is to force the drive into SATA 1.5Gb mode. For more info on how to set seagate hdds into 1.5Gb mode, check this link.
 
#25
I just installed a new HDD in my PS3 a week ago.

Went from a Hitachi 100gb 5400 rpm 8mb cache to a WD Black? 250gb 7200 rpm 16mb cache and it makes a noticeable difference.

I couldn't tell you if the new HDD generates more heat, but if you think about it this way. The faster it spins + more cache = less time spinning = less heat? :D

Everyone says 7200 isn't important, but it makes a noticeable difference imo.

I bought this one http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136279
 
#26
leehom said:
I just installed a new HDD in my PS3 a week ago.

Went from a Hitachi 100gb 5400 rpm 8mb cache to a WD Black? 250gb 7200 rpm 16mb cache and it makes a noticeable difference.

I couldn't tell you if the new HDD generates more heat, but if you think about it this way. The faster it spins + more cache = less time spinning = less heat? :D

Everyone says 7200 isn't important, but it makes a noticeable difference imo.

I bought this one http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136279
They did recommend the 5400 rpms drive as they spin slower thus generate less heat. A faster rpm drive will spin faster thus more heat being generated.
 

Pimpbaa

Official Forum Cocksucker
#27
What hard drives are they putting in PS3 at this moment? I assume all revisions had nothing too fancy (small cache). Anyone notice any performance increase (load times) with a drive with a large cache?
 

Killthee

helped a brotha out on multiple separate occasions!
#28
Mejilan said:
Also, what do I need in order to perform a comprehensive backup of all of my saves, DLC, etc. I've not filled up the 60GB drive, so I'm not too sure how much I need to backup, or how much the PS3's backup software actually does backup. Saves and DLC, I imagine, are included. Any on-board vids and songs as well, right? What about retail game installations?
You can find out how much space you're currently using by going to Settings -> System Settings -> System Information

The backup software will not backup the local Trophy data and copyright protected Videos (not sure about PS1/2 virtual memory cards). It will backup everything else; DRM free Videos, Music, Pics, PSN Games, Game Install's, Game Data, Partial Downloads, Copy Protect PS3 Saves, etc...

To perform a backup you just need a FAT32 partitioned drive/mem card with enough space to hold everything.
 
#29
mintylurb said:
If I remember correctly, the ps3's SATA interface is only 1.5Gb and those 2 Seagate drives are SATA 3.0Gb. Although SATA 3.0Gb is backward compatible, the ps3 from time to time won't recognize SATA 3.0 Gb drives when it boots up. This was happening to my PS3 as well. One way to solve that problem is to force the drive into SATA 1.5Gb mode. For more info on how to set seagate hdds into 1.5Gb mode, check this link.
It should be no problem with that regarding performance. Not that a 2.5" HDD is able to achieve 192MB/s... :lol
 
#30
Has anyone put their factory ps3 hdd into an sata enclosure? I just bought a $7 enclosure off ebay for s's and g's. It's only 40gb but I think I'll leave it in my backpack and use it for school shit and emergency porn
 

Raistlin

Post Count: 9999
#32
pj325is said:
Has anyone put their factory ps3 hdd into an sata enclosure? I just bought a $7 enclosure off ebay for s's and g's. It's only 40gb but I think I'll leave it in my backpack and use it for school shit and emergency porn
I'm thinking about putting it in my iStar HD (Networked Media Tank). That way, I can use it as a secondary bittorent client.
 
#33
leehom said:
I couldn't tell you if the new HDD generates more heat, but if you think about it this way. The faster it spins + more cache = less time spinning = less heat? :D
it's not like hard drives spin only when reading. if the drive is on it's always spinning at the rated speed (5400, 7200, 10000, 15000...)

:)
 

Raistlin

Post Count: 9999
#37
Manp said:
it's not like hard drives spin only when reading. if the drive is on it's always spinning at the rated speed (5400, 7200, 10000, 15000...)

:)
Except for the weird WD Green drives. They're actually variable rate.



That, and if you set up your machine to spind down on idle, obviously it ain't running then (of course that isn't an option for PS3).
 
#39
Serious question..what do you guys do with the HDD space? I have an 80GB, I just dump demo's for my kids. I stream my media from my PC

What am I missing here?
 
#40
linkboy said:
Anyone know how this HDD is

Western Digital HDD
I upgraded my PS3 with this drive, which I think is the same model (at least, the model numbers are the same):
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136197

I had no problems, and having all the space is luxurious.

OP, buy a set of precision screwdrivers if you want to ensure you don't strip the screws. Something like this:
http://www.amazon.com/FULLER-135-09...d_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=hi&qid=1231517732&sr=8-1
(You only need #0, and maybe #1 too, so any set with those should be fine).

The screws are absurdly tight. I actually put my screwdriver in a vice so I could use both hands to twist the drive casing before I got it off. No wonder so many people strip the screws.
 
#41
Dunlop said:
Serious question..what do you guys do with the HDD space? I have an 80GB, I just dump demo's for my kids. I stream my media from my PC

What am I missing here?
I think for many people it's nice to never have to think about space. I am using about ~200M now between demos, Linux, videos, pictures, and an "epic" amount of UT3 mod content.

I have about 6 VC/WiiWare games and bunch of game saves on my Wii, and I have to constantly clean the fucking fridge. When I got my PS3, part of what sold me was the fact that I'd never have to deal with the bullshit that Wii and, to a lesser extent, 360 owners have to put up with.

I do wish, however, that I could assign more than 10GB to my linux partition. The two choices for partitioning schemes are pretty lame--why not at least throw a 50/50 one in there?
 

Mejilan

Running off of Custom Firmware
#42
Thanks for the HDD and screwdriver links, folks!
I wonder why I can't find a Seagate 500GB 7200RPM 16MB drive anywhere...
 
#43
Quoting myself:

Jim said:
Don't use a jewelers screwdriver. Don't use a jewelers screwdriver. Don't use a jewelers screwdriver.

Those screws are made for Japanese Industrial Standard bits. The next best thing is a large handled screwdriver with a long, snug fitting bit. Test fit whatever you have with a big handle and use that. The screws come right out. Big screwdriver, small bit.

Small jewelers screwdrivers, even though they look like they would fit, are no good.
And I grabebd a SAMSUNG M6 Series HM320JI 320GB 5400 RPM 8MB last year for $99. Works perfect. Quiet. Already half full, lol.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822152111
 

Raistlin

Post Count: 9999
#45
Dunlop said:
Serious question..what do you guys do with the HDD space? I have an 80GB, I just dump demo's for my kids. I stream my media from my PC

What am I missing here?
Some of us download tons of demos and PSN games (and don't clean up the demo's :p).


Even with little in the way of media (I stream from my server), my 60GB was pretty much filled when I swapped out. Boy did that take a while to backup and restore ;p
 
#47
Jim said:
Quoting myself:
Don't use a jewelers screwdriver. Don't use a jewelers screwdriver. Don't use a jewelers screwdriver.

Those screws are made for Japanese Industrial Standard bits. The next best thing is a large handled screwdriver with a long, snug fitting bit. Test fit whatever you have with a big handle and use that. The screws come right out. Big screwdriver, small bit.

Small jewelers screwdrivers, even though they look like they would fit, are no good.
Are you calling precision screwdrivers "jewelers screwdrivers"? Because they work fine. At least, all the anecdotal evidence I gathered before performing my upgrade said they worked, and when I did my upgrade I had no stripping problems.
 

Raistlin

Post Count: 9999
#48
Septimus said:
Any links/stores that have good prices that are Canadian?
I have no experience with the company, but this site was referenced in the original PS3 HDD upgrade thread.

It's for the Sammy Jim just mentioned (we, and several others have this drive).


original thread

link to post mentioning the Canadian site

Note, I didn't pay attention to the recommendation, so you may want to browse the thread and see if anyone has impressions regarding that company. Also, I have no idea if there are better prices available. You may want to ship around.
 
#50
Colonel Nelson said:
Are you calling precision screwdrivers "jewelers screwdrivers"? Because they work fine. At least, all the anecdotal evidence I gathered before performing my upgrade said they worked, and when I did my upgrade I had no stripping problems.
More or less. Mostly because you don't have enough twisting leverage, and some of the screws are tight enough (not everyone's are) where trying to apply enough pressure and twist with the with the small handle will cause it to strip, since the bits aren't designed for those screw heads.