After you have downloaded some demos, PSN games, installed a few installation data packs and added various media your PS3 hard drive starts to show its limits. It doesn’t matter what version of PS3 you have, extra storage space can always come in handy and upgrading to a larger capacity hard drive couldn’t be simpler. This is something I’ve wanted to do for sometime now, having extra storage within the console rather than using an external drive has its benefits. My PS3’s warranty expired not long ago and my hard drive conveniently decided to kick the bucket so the timing couldn’t be better. As simple as this procedure is there's always that slight chance something can go wrong and we will take no responsibility for any hardware failures or problems that you may encounter. Don’t let that scare you though, this guide will walk you though it step by step and once completed you’ll be shocked on how straight forward it is.
Choosing a Hard Drive
A Sata 2.5in hard drive
The PS3 uses a Seagate 2.5in Sata 5400RPM laptop hard drive. When it comes to selecting a new hard drive it’s all up to you on how large you want the capacity to be(available technology will be the size limiter) and it doesn’t matter what brand you use either as long as it’s an 2.5in Sata hard drive. 5200RPM is recommended although a 7200RPM will still work but some people have experienced overheating issues from the faster drive speed. It’s your call on the drive speed, I personally recommend the 5200RPM drive just to be on the safe side. There’s a good selection of compatible drives on the market with a 320GB being around the $100AUD mark and 500GB costing around $160AUD, if you’re not in a hurry it’s always best to shop around and as technology advances the prices of these hard drives will continue drop.
What you’ll Need
Equipment and tools required
- A replacement 2.5in Sata laptop hard drive.
- An external storage medium formatted to FAT32 for backing up data. Either an external hard drive or a large capacity USB flash drive will do the job.
- Sixaxis controller, you’re not going to get very far with out one.
- The correct sized Phillips head screwdriver. It is very important that you have the correct sized screwdriver because the screws that hold the hard drive in place are securely fitted and it’s easy to thread the tops off. If this happens be prepared for a lot of extra work.
- A small flat head screwdriver or something with a small flat tip to pop open the hard drive dust cover
- A flat clean surface to work on
- Something to occupy your self while watching progress bars, some of these take upwards of 20 minutes
Backing Up your PS3 Data
If you have a brand new PS3 console and are game enough to pull it apart you can skip past this step. In the PS3’s menu select Settings> System Settings> Backup Utility> Backup and then follow the prompts to back up your system data. It is recommended to try and do a clean back up which means avoiding all unnecessary back ups. All media that’s on your PS3 that you can easily replace, demos and unused game data should be deleted. Not only will this reduce the risk of backup errors it will also speed up the process.
Removing the Original Hard Drive
The PS3 hard drive cradle exposed
With the PS3 console disconnected from the power source and placed on a flat surface use your flathead screwdriver to pop open the hard drive dust cover located at the bottom on the console. With the dust cover removed the PS3 hard driver cradle will be exposed, in order to remove the cradle and hard drive you need to remove the blue anodised screw which you can see pictured above. This is the part when things can go sideways if you don’t be careful, make sure you have a Philips head screwdriver that fits the screw head perfectly or you can damage the screw quite easily. Hold the console with one hand (get someone to help here if you like) and using a sensible amount of force slowly remove the blue coloured screw. If you feel the screwdriver slipping out of the screw head then you need to apply more fore to the screwdriver.
At this point the hard drive is ready to be removed
Once the blue screw has been removed lift the wire latch located on the hard drive cradle and then slide the unit back. At this point the hard drive plus cradle is now ready to be extracted from the PS3 console.
Swapping over the Hard Drive
The original PS3 hard drive removed
Now that you have the PS3’s hard drive out of the console you do the swap over. There are four Phillips head screws holding the hard drive to the cradle, these screws are also tightly fitted so take the same precautions as you did when removing the blue screw. While doing this keep a mental note on which way the hard drive faces so you don’t have to do things twice.
The new hard drive fitted to the cradle
Place your new hard drive in the cradle and screw in the four screws. Pictured above is my 320GB Western Digital hard drive fitted to the PS3’s hard drive cradle. From here on you basically reverse the steps you took to remove the hard drive cradle. Place the new hard drive back into the PS3 console, slide it across until it locks into place, push down the wire latch and refit the blue screw securely, clip the dust cover back on, plug everything back in and fire it all up.
Once you turn your PS3 console on for the first time after installing a new hard drive you will automatically be asked to format the hard drive. If you just replaced a hard drive in a new PS3 console then you are ready to go from here, all you have to do configure the system settings to you likings.
To restore you PS3 to it’s original state prior to removing the internal hard drive first plug in the storage medium you used to backup your system. Then via the menu go to Settings> System Settings> Backup Utility> Restore> and follow the prompts. (If you are interested in adding another operating system to the PS3 this would be a good time to explore that before you restore your PS3)
From here on you get the pleasure of watching a very uninteresting progress bar crawl its way across the screen and that’s it you’re done! See that wasn’t too hard was it? Once completed you can go back into the System Settings and under System Information you can see the amount of available hard disc space you now have and yes, just like every other system the PS3 will tax its fair share of space.
If you get stuck or are uncertain about anything there’s many knowledgeable members on this site that will be wiling to help you out.
Written by Matthew Armitage