Friday, January 04, 2008

GamingSteve.com and Playstation 3 (40GB)









- So I've been listening to the Gaming Steve Podcast for over 2 years now. He's in the industry and runs a casual games studio. He also is pretty well connected especially with Blizzard and Spore information. Anyways, I've always found his meaty podcasts (warning they are pretty long) informative and entertaining. I think we are in the same age bracket (mid 30's), is a family man like me, and seem to have similar tastes in games so I found him easy to relate to. I especially like his retro reviews since I've played many of those games in my youth. Well, a few months ago he kind of stopped the podcasts temporarily since real life got in the way as it often does. He recently started podcasting again and decided to have a contest where all you had to do was email him with your game of the year and explain why. I decided why not. This time the prizes were much bigger. Usually he gives away gaming swag. But this time to celebrate his podcast come back he was also giving away a free game of your choice and the first place prize of a game system of your choice. I've never won anything on a podcast before so you can imaging how excited I was when I heard him start reading the email from the winner in this podcast episode. FYI my GOTY is Crysis. I highly recommend you give his site a look and his podcast a listen. He also runs a pretty active forum.
Anyways a BIG THANKS goes out to Gaming Steve for the free Playstation 3 and for shipping it to me so quickly!

- Got it in last night. Shipped from amazon.
- It's very similar to the 60gb I got near launch. It's missing 2 usb ports, only has a 40gb hdd, no backwards compatibility at all with ps1/ps2, and no card reader. The 60/20gb models had both ps2 cpu and gpu for nearly perfect 100% backwards compatibility (and nice upscaling to make your ps2 games look better than ever). The 80gb dropped the cpu but still had the gpu so they did the cpu using software emulation. Emulation isn't perfect so compatibility wasn't as good. Now to further reduce cost the 40gb drops both the ps2 cpu and gpu and therefore no backwards compatibility of any sort. Interesting that the flap on the top left which usually conceals the card reader slots is locked down so you can't flip it open. The back IO ports doesn't seem to have changed at all. The face plate around the optical drive is now a flat silver vs the chrome finish on my 60gb. Also, this unit is practically silent (not that my 60gb was all that loud to begin with). It still has wifi which I didn't use since my house is fully cat5 wired.
- Since upgrading the downstairs home theater the original 60gb ps3 has pretty much permanently relocated there for blu-ray duties and some gaming. So this 40gb fits nicely upstairs in the game room where my 60gb use to sit. It's hooked up via hdmi to my 40" samsung 720p LCD HDTV and optical for the 5.1 sound. No backwards compatibility isn't as big of a deal upstairs since my ps2 is still hooked up to that tv.
- I have another Nyko Blu Wave remote control on order for integration with my harmony.
- After initial setup, upgrading to latest 2.10 firmware (it came with 2.0 installed) and a few quick tests I decided to swap out the hard drive. I had upgraded my original 60gb to a 160gb so I still had the original 60gb pretty much just sitting around. So I went ahead and took out the 40gb and stuck in the 60gb.
The original 40gb hard drive:

- Next, I decided to go ahead and install yellowdog linux on it. I reformatted the hard drive with 50gb to ps3 game os and 10gb for other os.
- There is a newer version of YDL since I installed on the 60gb. They are up to 5.02. Go DL the image from one of the mirrors.
The file you need is yellowdog-5.0.2-20070711.iso.
Follow this install guide.
It's even easier than before. All the files you need, even the boot loader, are in the dvd image. So you no longer need a usb key drive.
- I tested it briefly, fired up firefox, it seemed to work fine. OK back to the game os. I tested out the sample blu ray disc that was included that has a bunch of game and movie trailers.

It also came with Spiderman 3 on blu-ray though I had already bought the trilogy on blu-ray. I guess I'll give it away to somebody as a gift.
- Multiple console experience: On the 360 I ended up getting a 512MB MU and putting my profile on there and all my save games. This works pretty well except to login to live I had to always go grab my MU and move it from system to system. The PS3 makes it really easy to enter login credentials for PSN on multiple consoles and have yit automatically login (none of this profile file crap that can only exist in one place like on the 360). Save games are always saved to the hard drive so you have to copy them to a usb key drive to move them between ps3's.
- Re-downloading my PSN games was a snap. In the top right corner of the playstation store is a download list. After downloading my payed for content again and installing I was up and running the full version of the games.
- Setup the media streaming from windows media player 11. It worked fine. I tested an xvid file which played fine.

Overall it's a great system. The lack of usb and card reader is no big deal since you can grab a usb hub and a usb card reader for next to nothing. As long as you don't need ps1/ps2 backwards compatibility this is still the best blu-ray player (and upscaling dvd player) out there (now even better with profile 1.1 support), and it is starting to get better as a game machine (Uncharted is really great).

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