While preparing to move this Sunday, my mum highlighted the idea of entertaining the guests for the pre-house warming prayer sessions taking place on Saturday, one day before we move. The simple idea was to bring the TV, but just in case we couldn’t get reception that day, our backup is to play some movies.
At the same time, I chanced upon someone selling his PS3 for a good deal ($500 with seven free games) so I decided to go for it. This would be a chance to get to know more about the competitor machine.
In the course of a few hours of playthrough on Sunday night, I discovered some unwelcome features:
– Every game (disc or downloaded) needs to be installed, and waiting for it to finish somewhat eliminates the anticipation
– Downloading and installing games takes time and varies from one game to another
– The available space in my 40GB HDD easily reduces to 13GB, after installing 3-4 games (thanks to games like Metal Gear Solid 4)
– Game downloaded from the PSN Store does not auto install (excuse me, if i download it, it means i would like to play it)
– The Online ID availability search is dodgy (one minute it says ‘eMeNZee’ is available and the next minute it says I can’t register it)
– When playing games, the trophy system sends out an alert for an achievement, but it appears on the top right without a sound and it doesn’t motivate you to work for the next one.
– I upgraded my PS3 Hard drive and my trophy collection is not synchronised even though I had logged in using the same account.
So I attempted to upgrade my PS3 HDD to a bigger drive – not that I intend to play that many games but because having a small available space left irritates me. As it is, my mum had already taken over the PS3. I downloaded games which were not available on Xbox360 Marketplace (Flow, Flower and Cuboid) which do not require many button presses (because she has weak arms) and she played them the whole day on Mother’s Day.
Before attempting to upgrade, I heard a couple of horror stories and there were limited reports on the Net. So I decided to try out on my own and document it. Yes, it appears that on PS3, you have the freedom to upgrade your own drive (the warranty seal applies to another portion of the PS3). So before you shell out big money on that newly released 160GB PS3, don’t forget that you can settle for one with a small HDD and upgrade separately, for a fraction of the cost!
Here are excerpts from the PS3 Manual (thanks to joystiq.com):
Before you proceed with the upgrade, you need some handy screwdrivers and a new SATA 2.5inch HDD. I got a Samsung 320GB HDD for a little over $100. Find a good tabletop to work on. You don’t want to lose your screws.
You need to backup your current data. For some reason, my Maxtor Mini is not recognised by the PS3 so I had to refer to a USB Flash Thumb drive to copy my game saves. Doing so will create a Folder in your thumbdrive entitled ‘PS3’.
Once you’re done, unplug everything and access the HDD compartment from the side. Peel open the cover and carefully unscrew the blue screw. This is the famous blue screw that people warn about. If you’re not careful, the screw head can get damaged. Use a proper Philips screwdriver. Rotate to the left to unscrew.
Pull out the latch (notice the White PS3 has a different catch, based on pictures for Black PS3).
Unscrew the four screws that attach the Hard drive and replace it with the new one.
Make sure the catch is facing out (notice that the text label for Samsung is inverted compared to Seagate).
Screw back the four screws but not too hard. Then insert it back and put back the blue screw. Close the compartment.
I made a mistake of not inserting the HDD fully and that registers panic for a few minutes. I thought I was using a HDD that’s too big for the PS3 to recognise.
So make sure you insert it in. You know you’re on the right track if the compartment can snap back to place easily.
Follow the instructions on screen as the PS3 attempts to reformat the new HDD.
If it requires the latest firmware version 2.70, you can download it online here to your flash thumb drive (it’s about 150kb) and reinsert to the PS3.
Firm up your settings and get back to that tedious downloading and installing games, including that lengthy process for MGS4…
At least now (or for a while) I don’t have to bother about not having enough space on the PS3.
Now I can go back to playing on my Xbox360.