Guys not to sound stupid here, but I'd like to throw in my two cents.
If anyone has tested it yet, try taking 2 HDDs of different or the same size.
Format both of them on the same PS3, then view the data on them with a hex editor.
This should give us the answer to the HDD serial number.
But with my experience in encryption, I believe sony wouldn't have tied it down to the hdd itself.
In fact - They must be using the motherboard SN as well as (maybe the BBE chip) to marry the HDD to the board.
I mean, if we think of it straight-forward, we could easily put the same HDD with a lower FW from THE SAME SYSTEM, and it would probably read it and prompt for an update (Never tried it, anyone else?)..
Or the two of the same hdds with the same fw version from the same system.
I do understand that their encryption alg is chained - and we could be heading in the right direction IF we did put a "middle-man" in between the HDD and PS3, we could do that with multiple HDDs and run the "middle-man" into a data comparer, that way it wouldn't take an load of a long time.
My experience with FS algorithms isn't too great, but I do know that the first sector is usually untouched, since if it was, the PS3 would toss it and ask for a format. No one would sink that low as to encrypt the header in the first 1024 bytes on the HDD.
I do know as much that the PS3 is in fact using FAT or FAT32. I've been scanning a bit left and right and doing a ton of research against this, but nothing that would help anyone at the time.
So what we're dealing with is a system SN and possible BBE chip SN that is used as the block key. and by block key I mean their whole algorithm key.
If anyone wants to correct me, Go right ahead. But I'm not new to cryptography or filesystems OR computers for that matter.
Any questions, I will clarify everything I've said.