The Escapist Show: Episode 40: Putting a SSD in a PS3

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Wow - if I hadn't read the forum posts, I would've assumed you guys were idiots, as the only tests mentioned were all tests that were hindered by the blu-ray.

I guess the limitation on read speed is a memory streaming thing. I know the PS3 tends to stream most of its data, rather than just dumping things into memory and reading it from there. As the developers designed the system with hard drives in mind, there would be little point in making the internal streaming any faster than a 7200rpm hard drive can read.

GamerPhate:

nipsen:

GamerPhate:
Very interesting. I think both theories are possible. If it is a software/driver coded thing, you could over ride it perhaps, but that would likely void the warranty with OS modding through patching.

No. Look - this is not rocket science, and it's not secret information that's unavailable to people who can read. Please, enough.

Thanks for telling me in a nice a$$hat way!

Let's see.. Read what I said about scheduled reads. Then check this concept with your reliable source of choice. Then read about SSD drive transfer speeds. The understand why I am being an "asshat" about this.

paulgruberman:
The PS3 has a SATA controller. Most SATA II devices are backward compatable, but will obviously be limited to the lower throughput. Current generation SSDs may not reach the max transfer rate of SATA II, but they definitely are well beyond SATA.

The HDD is encrypted with a Sony proprietary format. Last I heard this was done by the PS3's OS or possibly the HDD controller, so encryption is done before transfer and could be a limiting factor.

nipsen:

Honestly, though - I was about to congratulate you for stopping people from buying expensive drives in the belief that they would get increased performance on their ps3s. But then you have to go and make yourselves look savvy. Congratulations with today. But surely there are thousands of real, and very questionable business- practices Sony has employed lately that deserves the attention of the masses more than their latest scheme to hate superior hardware that costs a fortune?

Naturally, I know I am asking a lot of you, in that you would perhaps be held to some sort of standard the next time another company did the same thing. Unlike now, when you're simply dissing Sony apparently out of sheer stupidity, and therefore don't have to have this admirably critical attitude towards faceless corporations as a rule.

But I still think you should do it.

Not sure what you're basing this off of. Where exactly are we 'dissing' Sony? Where was a 'scheme' mentioned?

You're saying they are limiting the hard- drives to fit with the lowest standard. As if somehow Sony conspires to stop you benefiting from a new piece of expensive hardware. It's right there in the clip! It's repeated in your "speculation" afterwards on the forum! That's what I'm basing this off of.

It's easy to prove this, if you want to. Just insert a drive that actually has higher burst- rates and transfer speeds - like others have done before. But if you did that and got no change of any kind, then you would have /something/ to sustain your theory. Of course, that the bus on the ps3 only supports 150Mb/s transfer is an element - but the main reason why the increases are so small are the scheduled reads.

--

In any case - I really wish you knew why there is such a thing as a "copy- protection"/encryption/anti- piracy scheme on all modern computers (and consoles) today in the first place. Certainly, this is not Sony's sole accomplishment to create this an industry demand, nor is this much of a secret.

After that, I wish you would do some research on which systems this encryption scheme actually has an impact, where the storage space is an issue, where production of multiple discs will be expensive, and so on. And which systems has quick enough hardware to actually acommodate the "industry demands".

As well as that HDD reads and writes actually does not take up very much of the loading times between levels in the first place. There's a reason why it's possible to replace an HDD with an optic disc in many circumstances. Even though this is not done for performance reasons, obviously.

My apologies for being mad about this - but pushing pseudo- scientific stuff like this isn't very funny. Worse, it means that you are contributing to ensuring we are all screwed over yet again, when "the industry" demands that the customer should pay for yet another idiotic scheme.

nipsen:
Also, an SSD drive typically has faster seek times (no movable parts, mechanical delays). But has lower average data transfer speeds. So what you're really testing is a drive with about the same data transfer rate as the other one. So even if there was a difference, you wouldn't find it in loading times.

While you may have been correct a year ago, SSD technology has improved significantly since then, and this drive is a brand new high-end drive. We don't do full-on benchmarking, but I did find someone else who did compare the predecessor of this drive with a 7200rpm mechanical drive - their results are here. That mechanical drive is likely faster than the one in the PS3

Additionally, loading times in games are generally not limited by the hard drive transfer rate. Game data is typically not very large and may not be contiguous on disk, which doesn't really give a mechanical drive time to spin up and reach its full transfer rate. This is why SSDs are typically an incredible performance upgrade for gaming PCs, while they may not necessarily be the best for, say, editing video.

GamerPhate:
(although the IT tech guy probably knew all along it might not work, but now he gets a new fast arse HD to play with at work)

It was a loaner, we gave it back. Otherwise it probably would have just ended up in one of our web servers ;)

Cool, makes me glad that I didn't bother with solid state when I upgraded my PS3 hard-drive. Though I'm little disappointed that you guys didn't test out the load times for a game running just from the hard-drive, like Wipeout or GT5 Prologue for instance.
Also, wow, so that's what The Endo sounds like, who knew?! My curiosity of The Escapist staff is nearly sated.

While it's a little sad the newer drives won't do anything, it's good to know I might as well spend $50-100 on a really big HDD rather than $500-600 on a slightly bigger HDD.

That is awesome! This was a great TES surprise for me today!

nipsen:
My apologies for being mad about this - but pushing pseudo- scientific stuff like this isn't very funny. Worse, it means that you are contributing to ensuring we are all screwed over yet again, when "the industry" demands that the customer should pay for yet another idiotic scheme.

Really? Because I didn't list possible hdparm parameters, or encrypted file systems that might be in use, or compare proc diskstats against other drives, or analyze the data stream between system and application and instead listed a few likely possibilities, it's anti-Sony FUD? I never claimed to know why the speeds weren't different, I was just listing possible factors that would affect I/O speeds to make the point that several factors can effect loading speed from general lack of tuning for SSD.

Having more information is great, and thanks for sharing it, but being hostile with the delivery is just going to put everyone else on the defensive and overshadow any point you may have.

Virgil:

GamerPhate:
(although the IT tech guy probably knew all along it might not work, but now he gets a new fast arse HD to play with at work)

It was a loaner, we gave it back. Otherwise it probably would have just ended up in one of our web servers ;)

DB server!

nipsen:

You're saying they are limiting the hard- drives to fit with the lowest standard. As if somehow Sony conspires to stop you benefiting from a new piece of expensive hardware. It's right there in the clip! It's repeated in your "speculation" afterwards on the forum! That's what I'm basing this off of.

It's easy to prove this, if you want to. Just insert a drive that actually has higher burst- rates and transfer speeds - like others have done before. But if you did that and got no change of any kind, then you would have /something/ to sustain your theory. Of course, that the bus on the ps3 only supports 150Mb/s transfer is an element - but the main reason why the increases are so small are the scheduled reads.

--

In any case - I really wish you knew why there is such a thing as a "copy- protection"/encryption/anti- piracy scheme on all modern computers (and consoles) today in the first place. Certainly, this is not Sony's sole accomplishment to create this an industry demand, nor is this much of a secret.

After that, I wish you would do some research on which systems this encryption scheme actually has an impact, where the storage space is an issue, where production of multiple discs will be expensive, and so on. And which systems has quick enough hardware to actually acommodate the "industry demands".

As well as that HDD reads and writes actually does not take up very much of the loading times between levels in the first place. There's a reason why it's possible to replace an HDD with an optic disc in many circumstances. Even though this is not done for performance reasons, obviously.

My apologies for being mad about this - but pushing pseudo- scientific stuff like this isn't very funny. Worse, it means that you are contributing to ensuring we are all screwed over yet again, when "the industry" demands that the customer should pay for yet another idiotic scheme.

Dude you are being a little aggressive here.

I think the thing that the guys were really trying to address was 'is it possible to get a performance boost by upgrading your HD to an SSD?'

This is a pretty common question in PC gaming at the moment, never mind commercial companies which have already started making changes. It seems like a logical extension to try it in a console, when you have the option of upgrading the hard drive.

Anyway they answered their question pretty fully. i.e. No.

You need to chill out, it wasn't Sony bashing, although I could start Sony bashing if you want? Maybe we could talk about the development of The Cell processor and how they basically stole Microsofts chip architecture from IBM?

To quote Johnny from fantastic four: *Flame On*

With the Blu-ray drive you'll always see a bottleneck in performance, but if you have DLC I could see how that would load faster, but there is still no explanation for the ridiculous load and install times on the PS3.

Does this count as modding your PS3? If so, a college kid just got arrested for that.

Nerdfury:

Miral:
(I liked the practical theme of this episode, BTW. More!)

Gotta agree with that. There's a lot of reviews, tours and interviews, but the practicality of this episode was awesome. Definitely want to see more user tutorial stuff soon!

They should do a How to assemble a Pc so all the console fanboys stop complaining about how hard it is.

skcseth:
Does this count as modding your PS3? If so, a college kid just got arrested for that.

NO where near. He was modding consoles so that they will play pirated games by chipping them. Chaging your hard drive doesnt even void your warrenty.

I'm sorry, but this wasn't a test of the SSD at all.
It tested install times, and that's dictated by the disc read speed.
A true test of this SSD would be to play something that runs entirely of the HDD, like Wipeout HD or Ratchet and Clank Quest for Booty.

This was not a HDD speed test.

Well, while we're on the topic of bigger HDDs, does anyone know where to get a good sized harddrive for cheap? I've got a 60GB PS3 and I'm quickly running out of room. I've heard that you could get a 250 for only $100 or something, no?

Jumplion:
Well, while we're on the topic of bigger HDDs, does anyone know where to get a good sized harddrive for cheap? I've got a 60GB PS3 and I'm quickly running out of room. I've heard that you could get a 250 for only $100 or something, no?

Newegg to the rescue! - under $90 for a 500gb drive, which is far more than you could use in a PS3 without doing something insane ;)

Virgil:

Jumplion:
Well, while we're on the topic of bigger HDDs, does anyone know where to get a good sized harddrive for cheap? I've got a 60GB PS3 and I'm quickly running out of room. I've heard that you could get a 250 for only $100 or something, no?

Newegg to the rescue! - under $90 for a 500gb drive, which is far more than you could use in a PS3 without doing something insane ;)

My god, are you trying to kill me by nerd-gasam?

Good thing I didn't spend the extra money for SSD, I just upgraded my PS3 hard drive with a standard 5400 RPM 2.5" 200GB Hard drive. THANK YOU ESCAPIST!

Virgil:

Joos:
bla bla bla

bla bla bla :P

Thanks for the in depth reply. It certainly sounds as if there is a software lock on the I/O transfers to keep the games consistent, much like some amiga emulators out there. Sounds oddly archaic that a modern game console would need such imposed limitations, but if it makes my games more stable, I am sure I can live with it.

I suppose this means I will be going for a 500 Gb hard disk drive as I originally planned. Cheers guys!

lol, given its the EXACT same times as the older drive, there must be some artificial speed regulator that may be linked to using the BD drive as apparently it does go faster for downloaded games?

in any case, install time would not change cause it will always go as slow as the slowest component, in this case the BD drive would be segnificantly slower than even the standard 5400rpm hdd.

as for in game load times, you might expect this to be faster as some of the game was installed to the drive right? again, during game loading, id say its loading from the BD drive, i'd say the data installed hard drive ould just be stuff that has to stream in and out during gameplay, such as audio and textures, in this case, the game would have been programmed to work with the standard HDD without any slow down caused by the streaming, so any faster drive is pointless here as well.

Did you try copying media to and from the drive over gigabit?

I'm with matt on this one, MGS4 had a lot more data than just the ten gigs or so that it installed to the hard drive. I have to admit, that was incredibly annoying playing that game with the constant loadings every time you changed a "scene"

Anyway, I think a lot of you should check out this massive, informative article on ssd's. Who knows, you might learn something ;-)
http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=3531

Thank you for that info.

5:25 = SO random!

I have that same shirt that Jason Smith is wearing. And it's awesome.

Also, that seems like a mighty big ripoff, paying all that money for it to do nothing.

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