Sunday, February 25, 2007

PS3 Hard Drive Upgrade and Yellow Dog Linux

- Anything you do to your PS3 you do at your own risk!
- Upgraded my PS3 to a 160gb hard drive and installed yellow dog linux on it.
- I picked up a Hitachi 160gb 5400rpm sata 2.5" hd from newegg for $130.
- I also picked up a sata/usb 2.5" enclosure: Vantec NexStar 3 for $35. I stuck the original ps3 60gb into the enclosure for some handy portable storage (FYI the ps3 formatted hard disk is unreadable until you init/partition/format it). The enclosure works ok but is pretty picky about the usb ports. The manual states it might not work with front mounted usb ports due to lack of shielding on the internal cable. They weren't kidding. I tried it on 2 different pc's and the front usb ports wouldn't work with it. Plugging it directly into the motherboard ports does work. Plugging it into a powered usb hub (in this case a belkin) worked fine too.
- If you have issues formatting large drives (like your original ps3 60gb hd) in fat32 under winxp try this tool:
Just be careful you format the right drive!
- Used my Logitech mx3000 wireless desktop. It works fine with the ps3.
- First run the backup utility from the system settings menu. It works even better than I thought. I used an external hard drive formatted to fat32 to backup to since it required 4gb of space. That's because it backed up everything into a few archive.dat files. This includes not only save games but all trailers, games, demos, and even ps1/2 memory cards I had.
- Swapping the hard drive was pretty easy. Just follow the directions carefully in the back of the ps3 manual. Be careful not to strip the 4 screws when removing the hd from the cage.
- Once you boot up the ps3 again you'll be asked to format it. After that go into the system settings and format it again. This format lets you allocate 10gb to other os. Kind of silly that you can't choose the amount of space.
- Now you can go restore that backup using the same backup utility. You should have everything pretty much exactly like it was before except you've got that 10gb partition ready for installing linux.
- Grab the two otheros files at the top of this page:
- read through and follow this guide:
and this one:
- Toggling back to booting the gameos is easy: just type boot-game-os at the kboot prompt. To go back to booting linux just select system settings - default system - other os.
- I played around with firefox, open office, and a few other apps. It worked ok. The firefox browser sure is better than the built in ps3 browser. Too bad the flash support is kind of broken on it.
- Wired networking works fine on first boot. Wireless isn't supported yet.
- VNC viewer crashed on me when I tried to use it.
- Googling a bit I noticed you can install VLC or MPlayer to kind of use the ps3 to stream media. It looked a bit involved so I haven't tried it yet. Also, without some sort of port to use the cell SPU's it seems HD content kind of stutters.
- Other resources:

I recommend you don't upgrade the hard drive until you are near running out of space. Hard drive prices are always falling/increasing in capacity. I probably wouldn't have done it now if I knew the backup utility worked so well and complete. Just make sure you have an external hard drive formatted in fat32 handy. Linux is interesting in so far that you can actually officially do it. If a good native built media player comes out for ps3 then I think that could be the YDL killer app.

UPDATE: 3/14/08
- I also got a 40gb ps3 and installed a later version of yellow dog linux on it. You can read about it here.

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