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PS3 TOOL DECR-1000A Internals: The Communication Processor

650°
242w ago - We have explored most of the internals of the PS3 TOOL, with world-exclusive pictures, not too many people are willing let alone crazy enough to open one of these beasts!

Now we start getting to the more interesting aspects of the TOOL, and what makes it different from everything else.

The Communication Processor, or CP is a small, embedded computer, inside the PS3 TOOL. Essentially, it is a totally separate system, isolated from the PS3 side of the system.

For a little bit of history, the PS2 TOOL worked the same way, there was a small, embedded computer on a PCI card inside of the PS2 TOOL, it facilitated communication between the hardware (PS2) and a PC.

Of note, the PSP TOOL is somewhat similar, however the CP is embedded on the mainboard, vs on a card (like the PS2/PS3). The same principle applies to the PS3 TOOL, the CP handles all communication between the PS3 side of the PS3 TOOL, and a networked PC.

So, the CP makes the PS3 TOOL "special" as it allows the debugger to tap into hardware lines on the system itself, to get more debug output, among other things.

Starting from the top of the picture (below), the CP has a connector, labelled CN5001 - this connects to a RJ-45 jack, and a RS-232 jack on the TOOL...
 

PS3 TOOL DECR-1000A System Controller & Flash Chips Detailed

500°
244w ago - As we have been bringing you the first looks at the PS3 TOOL and its internals, we plan to detail every last part of the PS3 TOOL - starting with the big chip differences.

Today we are focusing on four important chips, specifically the PS3 System Controller, Flash, Flash Controller and IO controller.

Let's start with the System Controller. In the picture (below), it is top center. The System controller, CXR713F120A, is slightly different in part number from that of its retail equivalent (CXR713120).

It is interesting to note that we have also documented this chip in Prototype PS3 systems - meaning that the chip is most likely for old stock, reserved for development systems. Later on, in PS3 TEST's the chip model was changed back to that of its retail equivalent.

The system controller is equivalent to the medulla oblongata of your brain. It controls the systems basic functions - like power. It's the thing that makes your PS3 beep when you power it on. It also has some other interesting features, many of which we are still working on documenting.

To the left of the System Controller are some pads and buttons - the button resets the system, while the pads are for signals...
 

PS3 TOOL DECR-1000A Internal Pictures and Details Available

550°
247w ago - Recently the PS3 Dev Team received a PS3 Reference TOOL Kit and detailed the Frontside and Backside of the hardware.

Today we popped off the top of our PS3 TOOL to share how this monstrous machine works!

For starters, the cover is large but thin, and quite sharp (it drew blood!). Underneath the top cover are multiple steel covers, nearly 1/8th of an inch thick. This keeps the PS3 TOOL shielded, and also helps with ventilation.

Of an interesting note, the covers are so thick they block the WiFi and Bluetooth signals - this is why a PS3 TOOL needs an external antenna. Once the shielding covers are removed (along with about 15 screws) the signal can escape the system without issue... and we can start to see the internals of the PS3 TOOL.

Looking at the overview, on the far left features, from top to bottom, the System HDD at 400GB, the BDEMU HDD at 400GB, as well as the BD-ROM drive at the bottom.

To the right of that, there are air channels that are used as an intake, sucking air in from the...
 

PS3 Reference Tool - DECR-1000A Backside Detailed

550°
251w ago - Sony's PS3, circa E3 2005 - it was great. Dual HDMI outputs, 3X LAN and lots more.

Last week we covered the PS3 DECR-1000A Front, and so today let's take a peek at the backside of Sony's PS3 Reference Tool.

We can cut right to the goodies! Back of the tool: starting on the far right features a power connector to the variable 100-240V PSU, for multi-region support.

Next up is the AV, there is your normal AV MULTI Out for standard composite output. Directly next to that is a TOOL exclusive feature, a DSUB connector for hooking up a VGA monitor directly, instead of using converters (if need be).

Below that are DUAL HDMI outputs, however after SDK version .85 output to the second HDMI connector was disabled - however all the hardware is still functional, so it could be enabled on a whim.

Next to the HDMI outputs is the Optical Output, just like on a PS3, it passes high quality sound to a receiver, not as good as HDMI, but quite well.

Next up - the LAN. Just like the original PS3 plan, the TOOL does feature 3 system RJ-45 Jacks, however the right most two are disabled, although all of the hardware is still intact. The other is used for the system, to access PSN and play...
 

First Look: PS3 TOOL - DECR-1000A Front Detailed

700°
252w ago - Earlier this month I purchased a PS3 Reference Tool Model DECR-1000A.

Today I had time so here are some details on exactly what the front of it consists of... I will do a follow-up on the backside and internals soon, and then we'll get into the PS3 Dev aspects of it.

We all remember E3's PS3 - Dual HDMI outputs for extra high-definition widescreen goodness, a built in 3 port gigabit switch, 6 USB ports - features that were trashed. But, on the PS3 Tool, these features are still present, albeit dormant.

Pictured below is the front of the PS3 Tool (click to enlarge it, so you can read the labels), complete with the hidden ports uncovered for you to look at.

The PS3 Tool features, starting from the front left - dual HDD caddies, both sporting a 400GB SATA Hard disk, with eject buttons. - the left most (HDD) is used for the system, while DEV1, holding BD Emulator Images - allowing testing of .ISO's right from a hard disk!

Below that, a Foot Switch Jack is featured which can be used for throwing exceptions for development while playing, among other things.

To the right are 6 USB Ports. The 2 ports marked "extra" were originally intended for the REAR...
 
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