Upgrade the PS3 HDD

Upgrading your PS3 Hard drive

Upgrading the PlayStation 3 hard drive is a simple process. In the Sony PS3 manual Sony actually tells you how to do it, but towards the end they throw in a bunch of protective legal mumbo jumbo saying you may void your warranty. My best guess, if your console needs service, re-install the original factory hard drive before sending it in. Upgrading the hard drive may void your warranty, so do so at your own risk. Here is what you will need to perform the upgrade.

In the picture below you will see a screwdriver, a notebook SATA 2.5" 160GB hard drive (you can use any size, but use a 5400RPM drive, although I hear 7200 shouldnt hurt it), and an external USB hard drive, you'll need the hard drive if you wish to save content from the old PS3 hard drive.

The first step is making sure you have a nice, clean, safe area to work and that you have the above materials and tools. If you have all of this, then you are ready to begin upgrading your PS3 hard drive! Continue to the next step...


Now that you have decided to upgrade the PS3 hard drive and have all the required tools and materials, you are ready to backup the content on the PS3 to a removable USB hard drive. When I did my backup I used a Maxtor 80 gigabyte USB hard drive, but any USB hard drive with enough space will do.

Connect the USB hard drive to the PS3 and the PS3 system software will automatically recognize the external USB hard drive, allowing you to copy contents from the PS3 to the external USB hard drive. You can now move on to the next step.


This is fairly simple, just use the navigation in the PS3 to locate the media you would like to backup and copy it to the USB hard drive. The console settings, online IDs and so-forth are retained in the PS3's flash memory, so there is no need to copy this content. Be sure to move any game content, such as game saves and game demos, as well as any other media, such as pictures, video, movies, and trailers.

Once all the content you wish to backup has been moved to the external USB hard drive you can safely remove the USB drive and power down the PS3 console. You are ready to swap the hard drive now. Move on to the next step.


It is important that you disconnect all cables from the PS3, including video cables, controller cables, other accessory cables, and especially the power cable. Now move the PS3 console onto a work area you have prepared and place it on its side as shown in the picture below. There is an HDD sticker on the one side, this side should be up.

Right by that HDD sticker is the plastic HDD cover plate, this can be removed easily with a flat tip screwdriver, or by simply using your finger nail to pry it up and off. Move on to the next step.


Once the cover plate has been removed you will see that there is a hard drive carriage. secured by one screw. Use a phillips screwdriver to remove this screw, doing so will allow the old hard drive to slide out from the unit, from there you will have direct access to the PS3's hard drive, and you can change it. Move on to the next step.


You have already removed the only screw securing this, so give it a tug and pull straight up to remove it from the PS3 shell. Move on to the next step.


Now that you have the hard drive carriage in your hands you will notice that there are four screws securing the hard drive to the carriage. Remove the four screws using a phillips screwdriver and replace the hard drive that is there with the new one you purchased, or have available, to upgrade the PS3 hard drive with. As previously stated, you must use a SATA laptop hard drive in this application.

The console firmware sets the read write access speed to the hard drive, so it is recommended to replace the PS3 hard drive with a similar SATA laptop hard drive that has more capacity than your current PS3 hard drive (I used a 160GB Maxtor). The PS3's original hard drive is a 20, or 60 GB SATA laptop hard drive rated at 5400 RPM, a similar speed replacement is recommended.

Be sure to re-secure the new hard drive in the exact location the old hard drive was on the carriage., and secure it with all four screws. You are now ready to move on to the next step.


Now you simply slide the carriage. back into its original location, the carriage. will help to guide the drive to the connectors. Gently move the hard drive into the slot and when you reach the end use a firm press to ensure the connections are made properly. Don't go overboard though, pressing too hard may damage other components of the PS3.

With the new hard drive securely in place, simply re-secure the one screw to the carriage and place the HDD cover plate back on the side of the PS3. Move on to the next step.


Once you have reconnected all of the cables, such as power, video, HDMI (everything you normally use when you play on your PS3) you can turn the power on.

The PS3 will recognize that the hard drive you just installed will need to be formatted, and will prompt you, with confirmation, to do so. Say yes to these questions to format the new PS3 hard drive. Once the format has been completed you are ready to use the PS3 with your newer, bigger, and better hard drive. Move on to the next step.


Once you have formatted the new hard drive using PS3's system software you are ready to move any content that you backed up in an earlier step back to the PS3 console. Just hook the USB hard drive back up to the PS3 and move the content you copied earlier.

You're done! Congratulations, you just upgraded your PS3 hard drive. I recommend keeping the original PS3 hard drive in a safe place, in the event anything goes wrong with your PS3 I do not know how their support team will react to an upgraded hard drive, so you'll be able to swap it to the factory original before sending it in for repair, etc.
 
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mobius387

beer snob
Premium Supporter
Feb 16, 2009
4,404
Milwaukee, WI
thanks jroc. this will be very useful to me soon. ill be upgrading probably in spring sometime as im running out of space. hopefully HD's will drop a bit in price by then too.
 
Jan 29, 2009
7,187
I'm actually thinking of changing my 120GB to a 500gb, and then put the 120 in my computer.. we will see...
 

mobius387

beer snob
Premium Supporter
Feb 16, 2009
4,404
Milwaukee, WI
are you running out of space that you want a bigger one? im asking cause im deciding what to put in mine. i was thinking 320, but im pretty sure i want to start putting my movies, music etc on the PS3 HD (right now they are stored in a 500 GB external). would 320 be enough or should i get 500?
 
Jan 29, 2009
7,187
are you running out of space that you want a bigger one? im asking cause im deciding what to put in mine. i was thinking 320, but im pretty sure i want to start putting my movies, music etc on the PS3 HD (right now they are stored in a 500 GB external). would 320 be enough or should i get 500?
120gb is enough, i just hate having to delete demos etc. I also have 40gb of music I want to put on my HD, and then all my PSN games... plus videos, demos, etc. 320 should be enough, but 500gb will future proof me..
 
I've got a 160gb in mine right now. I've got some demos and games and what not and still have about 100gb or so.

@Horhay - I went with a 5400rpm just cuz that's what was specified by sony. I don't you'll see much in the way off seek speed and what not from a 7200...
 
Jan 28, 2009
5,035
Manteca, CA
I've got a 160gb in mine right now. I've got some demos and games and what not and still have about 100gb or so.

@Horhay - I went with a 5400rpm just cuz that's what was specified by sony. I don't you'll see much in the way off seek speed and what not from a 7200...
Same drive/speed I got. I still have over 100gb free. A few psn games and tons of DLC on it. I haven't put music though, but won't be a problem with over 100gb free.
 
I've got a 160gb in mine right now. I've got some demos and games and what not and still have about 100gb or so.

@Horhay - I went with a 5400rpm just cuz that's what was specified by sony. I don't you'll see much in the way off seek speed and what not from a 7200...
Agreed is won't be, but it's like 20 bucks more :) so why not lol

I'm putting a 500GB 7200 in mine here eventually, I was searching hard for 750GB or 1TB .. they're just not available yet in 2.5" and like one I did find was just advertised wrong as it was like a 3.5" really.
I hope Read times don't get worst.
 
Jan 29, 2009
7,187
Jrocca, you should also explain how to do this with an enclosure, as this is becoming more and more used.
 
Jan 29, 2009
7,187
What do you mean? putting an HDD on an enclosure?
Putting a hard drive in an enclosure, which turns it into a HDD, just make sure it gets formatted to FAT32 with swissknife.. and if need to be partioned use norton partionmagic. This way people can use their HDD's in their laptops to backup there PS3, to change out the drive, and not spend $100 on an external HD, only costs about $10-$20 then.
 
Well the enclosures usually come with picture instructions, you just have to make sure that if you got a SATA drive that the enclosure supports SATA. Nothing too difficult, but you have to format to FAT32 in order for it to work with your PS3, Linux doesn't read NTFS