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The Ultimate Next Gen Customization Guide


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351w ago - As we've shown before, upgrading your PS3's hard drive (HDD) is a quick and easy process. You don't need to be a master PC builder to do it; in fact, the hardest part is removing the tiny screws without stripping them.

After swapping out our first drive, we naturally wanted more, more, more!. A huge hard drive is obviously great for downloading demos, videos, and adding MP3s to your PS3 library. But speed also counts. Hard drives are comprised of platters that spin to read and write data; the faster that platter spins, the faster the hard drive can perform...leading to increased performance on PCs.

But does the PS3 benefit from a faster hard drive? And if so, is the performance boost worth the extra money?

We put two hard drives, a stock PS3 drive running at 5400rpm, and the other at 7200rpm, through a series of simple stopwatch tests to figure out whether drive speed matters to the PS3. By and large, we found that the gains were tiny.

Does a 7200rpm drive make your PS3 faster? We're about to find out

Note: both drives are Seagate Momentus drives; the 5400 RPM model is the stock option in the 60GB PS3.

PS3 startup time

5400rpm speed test: 15.7 sec
7200rpm speed test: 13.5 sec

VERDICT: This one was the most noticeable; we could swear that the faster HDD allowed the PS3 to start and load the Cross Media Bar slightly faster.

Game background load time

5400rpm speed test: 1.9 sec
7200rpm speed test: 1.9 sec

VERDICT: When you highlight a game icon, the PS3 loads a high-res background image. There was zero discernable difference in the delay here.

Time to load Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection

5400rpm speed test: 25.8 sec
7200rpm speed test: 23.3 sec

VERDICT: Tekken 5: DR is a 555MB game, but we noticed very little difference between the two drives. It's possible that the game loaded a bit quicker, but it was barely noticeable.

Time to load first fight in Tekken 5: DR

5400rpm speed test: 5.5 sec
7200rpm speed test: 4.8 sec

VERDICT: It's probably no faster, as we're talking fractions of a second here and that falls within the margin of error in our loose test.

Time to quit mid-match and return to XMB

5400rpm speed test: 5.6 sec
7200rpm speed test: 5.4 sec

VERDICT: Identical.

Time to install version 1.82 update

5400rpm speed test: 1min 58.6 sec
7200rpm speed test: 1 min 54.2 sec

VERDICT: After downloading the patch, the PS3 must install the update. We were disappointed that there seemed to be very little, if any, real advantage to having a faster HDD here, as the PS3's updates take some time to install.

One somewhat unexpected discovery was that this speedy 7200 RPM hard drive was no louder (or hotter) than its slower counterpart - an impressive testament to the PS3's sound-dampening design. In other words, there's really no reason not to buy a speedier hard drive for your PS3....that is, unless you're concerned about voiding the warranty.

Based on our tests, the 7200rpm hard drive was ever-so-slightly faster, though only the savviest of PS3 owners will notice the difference...and even then, it's mostly psychological.

Where you'll really appreciate a faster hard drive is transferring or downloading full games and other media onto the hard drive. For the faster speed 7200rpm drive, you'll pay around $20 extra across the board. So if you're in the market for a PS3 HDD upgrade, it's worth considering 7200rpm if you plan to frequently transfer gigs upon gigs MP3s and videos. Otherwise, you're better of sticking to a huge-capacity, but slightly slower, 5400rpm drive to save a couple of bucks.

ColorWare Custom Consoles

ColorWare is already known for its high-end laptop and iPod paintjobs. But now, ColorWare will extend its coloring magic to video-game consoles. We mailed in a PS3, Wii, and Xbox 360 for a test run. ColorWare followed our exact specifications and mailed the consoles back for our approval. The results? See for yourself: clean, professional, and highly detailed colored coats.

ColorWare takes apart your console and professionally coats the casing with high-quality paint in a variety of available colors.

Now you can do it yourself. Head on over to colorwarepc.com to find out how.

For more in-depth look at the customization of each system as well as a custom Guitar Hero controller follow the links below:

Microsoft Xbox 360
http://www.gamepro.com/ngc/xbox.shtml

Sony Playstation 3
http://www.gamepro.com/ngc/ps3.shtml

Nintendo Wii
http://www.gamepro.com/ngc/wii.shtml

Guitar Hero Controller
http://www.gamepro.com/ngc/gh.shtml


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!

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