205w ago - Below is a video from TheIndianKhan on YouTube and some info on Zpack for PS3, which claims (ZPack FAQ) to be the first PlayStation 3 backup system.
To quote: I found this in my holiday in Korea, there are PS3 cafes which run their games from external harddisk without using the original disks. I am one of the first who tested this Zpack System.
Zpack is the first working Backup System for PlayStation 3. It was especially designed for PlayStation Cafes across the world to avoid damaging your original game disk and beware them to be stolen by customers. You will not need the original disk to play on your PS3 anymore just start any game you have directly from your external hard disk.
Zpack comes to you with a USB Dongle and a DISK with the Zpack Software, which you only need the first time for installation. The USB dongle have to be connected to your PS3 all the time. When you run a PlayStation Cafe with 8 PlayStation Terminals, you will need 8 Zpacks for each PS3 Terminal to run the games from the external drives. Please pay Attention for our Zpack bundles.
Below is another upload of the first video as it currently appears dead:
Yet another Zpack video by ps3depp too:
Here is yet another Zpack video.. this time for Virtual Tennis Pro 3:
Rough translation for second video by Riberygehtab: Zpack for PS3 - Backup Motorstorm 3 game on external PS3 HDD.
Installation: So easy, I've never patched a game console. Heard that contributed to the development of Zpacks a developer of the PS3 has.
Application: Very easy and clear handling. Backup of games take a minute to external HD up to 25. Online backups are playable.
Price: Well 100€ + 10€ shipping was a bit steep, but it was worth to me in the end.
Disadvantages: Not functioning under linux, delivery times are somewhat long, but understandable, is designed for your busy boys.
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The dongle is likely proprietary hardware with custom firmware running on it. Quite likely the cost of DIY to clone it would be well more than just buying it. It's not simply data that can be copied onto a generic removable storage usb stick.
In terms of running without it, likely not possible because once your system is patched you're running CFW and it's likely needed to keep the keys valid. My guess is if you tried it would just tell you to reinsert the key at best or hang booting but it would be nice to have a definitive answer to that question.
This assumes that it's actually real to begin with...
I see we are all agreeing that the dongle is probably used to gain low-level entry to the ps3 system, etc. I'm curious as to how hard it would be to rip off the content and then share it, allowing for DIY kits. It's bound to happen, I'm just very curious about their comment about not plugging it in.
It gives no direct info on what would happen, just a kind of empty warning. I'm positive if it does have some kind of protection, it's most likely to be picked up by an AV. Disabling it or running it with linux all together seems the best option. Would be interesting to see who's got the money/ opportunity to get it (if it's real and not a hoax) and then muster up the balls to try to share it :] Any volunteers?