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Newer PS3's go to 128MB Flash from 512MB, HDD Storage Used!


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315w ago - We recently purchased a new 80GB PlayStation 3 console, and our very own PS3 Dev Courier dissected his new system.

The item that peaked his interest the most was that it had one single 56-pin Flash chip, the S29GL128N90TFIR2, and was 128MB in size in contrast to older PS3 consoles utilizing dual (2x256MB) 48-pin chips totaling 512MB. So, he bought a new adapter, and some blank chips and proceeded to pull the 56-pin flash, and dumped it.

To our surprise, he was unable to dump more than 16MB of it! At first, we believed that the other blocks in the flash were protected via password, however there was something else brewing.

He took the 16MB dump that was made and flashed it onto a completly blank chip, and reinstalled it in the PS3.

To our surprise, it worked!

Now, if you recall, newer version PS3 Firmwares have asked for a PUP file after formatting/inserting a larger HDD - This may be why! After flashing back just the 16MB of data, it also asked for a PUP file. So, the PUP was given, it installed the missing files fine, and then booted.

Basically, the system is now storing the majority of the flash contents on the hard disk drive, away from prying eyes. Even on a PS3 TEST console, the areas where the files would be are protected, so they can not be accessed.

This was also true when we wiped the 80GB's HDD, it again asked for the PUP. So, it would seem that the base system is now stored on the flash, and all of the SPRX's, XMB files, and other data is now fully stored on the HDD.

So the question is, why?

Was it just cheaper to replace the flash with a smaller one, or was it a security decision? Were we getting too close to uncovering something on the flash that could lead to a hack in the system?

We don't know yet, but we are still working at it - more to come, including details on the PS3's Service Mode!



Stay tuned for more PS3 Hacks and PS3 CFW news, follow us on Twitter and be sure to drop by the PS3 Hacks and PS3 Custom Firmware Forums for the latest PlayStation 3 scene updates and homebrew releases!

Comments 25 Comments - Go to Forum Thread »

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ionbladez's Avatar
#25 - ionbladez - 273w ago
My two cents -

I'm guessing this would be a security reason.

I mean, think of it this way.

The only way we could *mod* data on the flash is by writing to it, changing the flash's containment size.

Sony probably thought ahead of this, and created a background service to watch changes in the flash, verify, and confirm any data modifications.

It also is read-only so if this daemon is bypassed somehow, we still couldn't write to it since it's on a ''fixed'' size.

And what I mean by fixed is that they have it set for each firmware that only allows a certain size allocation of the flash.
Limiting how much they/we can use to store onto it.

It could also definitely be a reason of cost-effectiveness as well.

Preceptor's Avatar
#24 - Preceptor - 275w ago
Quote Originally Posted by CJPC View Post
The general rule of thumb, if its brand new (within the past year), its most likely the smaller flash, more generally, if the PS3 has backwards compatibility, it is usually the larger flashes, otherwise, the smaller.

hmmm It's from July 08. And it doesn't have backwards compatibility... So it probably has a small flash... Thanks for the info CJPC.

CJPC's Avatar
#23 - CJPC - 275w ago
Quote Originally Posted by shummyr View Post
Thanks for the Info CJPC.

No worries, that's what I'm here to do. Just of note, (I mentioned this in another dev post)

The old PS3 flashes were 2x128MB, while the new one is 1x16MB. There was some initial confusion, the info came to us from our Italian DEVS, hense the title. It is correct, just the wrong MB mb Mb happening (if that makes sense)

shummyr's Avatar
#22 - shummyr - 275w ago
Thanks for the Info CJPC.

CJPC's Avatar
#21 - CJPC - 275w ago
The general rule of thumb, if its brand new (within the past year), its most likely the smaller flash, more generally, if the PS3 has backwards compatibility, it is usually the larger flashes, otherwise, the smaller.

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