Upgrading the PlayStation 3’s Storage Device
Storage devices are being used in almost every electronic device these days. Each of the
devices available have different purposes, but what type should you choose if you’re planning on
upgrading a PlayStation 3 gaming system? Although there are many varieties of storage devices
available for and compatible with the PlayStation 3, it is difficult to decide on which type is best
to use. There is much data and many reviews available for each type, but not all can be found in
the same place. I’m going to provide information on the three most popular types used to
upgrade the memory capability on the system and the most important Pros and Cons for each;
allowing you to decide for yourself which is the best type for you and your purposes.
When replacing a hard drive in a gaming system there are several important aspects you
need to consider before deciding which to purchase. First you need to look at the cost of the
device. You will also need to consider the total capacity of the storage device, the warranty if
available, the acoustics (how much noise is produced) and most importantly, the transfer speed.
While the transfer speed isn’t very important on home computers or laptops it is very important
for gaming systems. The transfer speed is what determines load times while playing games, the
various load times that are affected are boot up and shutdown times of the system and games.
The videos for cut scenes, if there are any, and lag times of loading maps and environment.
You will also need to check to ensure that each hard drive is compatible with the device
being upgraded. The PlayStation 3 computer and gaming system is compatible with any hard
drive with the dimensions 3.75” (Width) x 0.4” (Height) x 4” (Depth). Hard drives of this
dimension are also used in laptops, so they are very easy to locate and recognize. The hard drives
being evaluated and which are compatible are the Seagate® Momentus® XT HDD (Hard Disk
Drive), Momentus®, and the Intel® X25-M Mainstream SATA (SSD) Solid-State Drive.
Momentus® Hard Disk Drive series
The Momentus® is the first hard drive that I looked into using for upgrading the
PlayStation 3. This is how Seagate® describes the Momentus® HDD in their product overview.
“The Momentus family is designed for standard form factor high-performance and mainstream
laptops, entry-level laptops and external backup storage enclosures.” (Product Overview,
It comes in various capacities up to 750GB, which provides the storage of many videos
and songs. This is great if you also plan on using the PS3 as a media center. The Momentus also
has a 5 year limited warranty to accompany it. The Momentus® series hard drives can be
purchased for a very reasonable price, the cost for a 500GB hard drive at
WWW.BESTBUY.COM is $89.99. A great price if you’re on a strict budget, as USER DP1214
posted in his comment about the hard drive on Bestbuy.com. “This was the least expensive 500
GB, 7200 RPM laptop drive I could find the week I needed one and that was pretty much the
only factor in my decision. I've used every brand of hard drive known to man and don't anticipate
any issues with this one.”
(DP1214, Good value-but watch the Best Buy pricing strategy)
The transfer speed of the Momentus® hard drives on a 7200 RPM spindle can reach
300MB/s but are limited horribly by having 5.6ms latency (lag time). By having such a large lag
time, each time the hard drive needs to be accessed for anything, you will have to wait for it to
load. In the gaming world, having to wait for load times can be the difference between life and
death. It can also make or break the gaming experience of the individual playing.
The acoustics of the Momentus® series are pretty horrible at 2.3 to 2.6 bels or 23 – 26
decibels (a typical conversation between humans is between 40 and 60dB). [Sound Pressure,
www.wikipedia.org] The level of sound output by this hard drive combined with the cooling fan
of a PlayStation would require you to increase the volume of your television, possibly to
damaging levels. With further research on the internet, these hard drives have numerous bad
reviews. USER FatChance explains on his comment posted on www.bestbuy.com. “About a
week after the initial installation I started to hear a click. Being in IT this immediately worried
me. […] As time goes by the clicks are happening more and more. Will be replacing this drive in
the next day or two.” (FatChance, Research on the web before purchasing this item)
Momentus® XT Hard Disk Drive Hybrid series
The next hard drive I looked into was the Momentus® XT series, the difference between
the standard Momentus® and the XT series of hard drives is that the Momentus® XT series are
hard disk hybrid drives. They are a hybrid of standard HDDs and SSDs (solid state drives).
These hard drives have a standard spindle with which the data platter spins and a solid state
component, which is similar to the standard flash drive, also known as a thumb drive. By
utilizing the Adaptive Memory Technology, the load times of some programs and files are
reduced, as stated in the product overview on http://www.seagate.com/www/en-
us/products/laptops/. “Adaptive Memory technology intelligently monitors frequently used
applications and data files, then places them into the solid state portion of the drive so they can
be quickly recalled. Adaptive Memory technology enables the drive to tailor its performance to
the user.” (Momentus® XT)
This series of hard drives comes in three different sizes, 250, 320 and 500GB, three
different sizes all large enough to handle most situations even backing up other storage devices.
They come with a 5 year limited warranty and the 500GB HDD on www.bestbuy.com sells for
$149.99. This hard drive is a great upgrade for the cost, and can even upgrade your system’s load
times for only a small cost increase from standard HDDs. USER Alanl on www.bestbuy.com
explains why the hybrid feature is worth the extra cost towards the upgrade. “The
additional/upgrade cost was $30 at the time I got my new laptop. That's insignificant compared
to the potential savings, so I sprung for it. […] Absolutely no difference in installation. The
"hybrid" part (the flash memory) is completely transparent. No driver. No software. Looks and
acts like a normal drive. It learns usage patterns and will cache your commonly-accessed files,
which ends up being operating system files and application files.” (Alanl, no-brainer
performance boost) His entire evaluation can be found in the customer reviews section of the
Momentus® XT 500GB hard drive on www.bestbuy.com.
Unfortunately the hybrid configuration doesn’t help to reduce the acoustic level of this
hard drive series. The Momentus® XT series operates at 2.3 – 2.5 bels (23-25 dB) and even with
the solid state portion, the transfer speed doesn’t improve the load times of programs and files
that aren’t used often. The latency of the Momentus® XT is 4.17ms with a 7200RPM spindle
speed the transfer rate can reach 300/MBs. Even though programs that utilize the Adaptive
Memory technology load faster, data transfer speeds are unaffected by the hybrid components.
Purchasing this hard drive for secondary storage is a bad idea as USER Alanl explains on
www.bestbuy.com. “No difference in file transfer speed. Don't waste money by putting this in an
external enclosure. It won't move files any faster.” (Alanl, no-brainer performance boost)
Intel® X25-M Mainstream SATA (SSD) Solid-State Drive
The last hard drive I looked at for an upgrade possibility was the X25-M Mainstream
from Intel®. This hard drive is known as an SSD, a solid state hard drive, meaning that it is in a
completely solid condition. Being in a solid condition helps to reduce wear and tear, as well as
noise from motors spinning. SSDs are similar to RAM (Random Access Memory) and Flash
With no moving parts in the Intel® X25-M Mainstream, the acoustics level can only be
registered with equipment designed to pick up faint sounds. The human ear is unable to detect
any sounds coming from the device. It comes with a 3 year warranty and the transfer speeds are
incredible. While the read/write speeds reach 250 MB/s the operating latency is only 65. A more
detailed description of the speed capabilities of the Intel® X25-M Mainstream are explained by
the Intel® PR in the review done by Nathan Kirsch of LegitReviews.com. “Specifically, Intel’s
new SSD provides a 25 percent further reduction in latency, for quicker access to data, operating
at 65-microsecond read latency compared to approximately 4,000 microseconds for an HDD.” -
INTEL PR (Kirsch)
Since this is a SSD the storage, capacity is limited to 160GB maximum size with today’s
current technology. The cost can be unbearably expensive for anyone on a budget when a 120GB
SSD sells for $249.99 at www.bestbuy.com.
My Personal Choice
Out of the three hard drives I looked into purchasing for an upgrade for the PS3 system, I
would have to select the Intel® X25-M Mainstream. Even with the higher cost for the product,
video gaming load times are very important. By having such a low latency, cut scenes from
games will load almost immediately. If one is gaming online against other people, the load times
for the environments could help you get the jump on your competition, giving you the edge.
Since having the edge in online gaming is extremely important there really is no substitute for
this hard drive, because winning really is everything when playing games online.
B e s t B u y. " S e a g a t e - M o m e n t u s 5 0 0 G B I n t e r n a l S e r i a l A T A H a r d D r i v e
f o r L a p t o p s . " B e s t B u y . B e s t B u y, 2 0 1 1 . W e b . 2 2 F e b 2 0 1 1 .
B e s t B u y, . " S e a g a t e - M o m e n t u s X T 5 0 0 G B I n t e r n a l S e r i a l A T A H a r d
D r i v e f o r L a p t o p s - S i l v e r / B l a c k . " B e s t B u y . B e s t B u y, 2 0 1 1 . W e b .
2 2 F e b 2 0 1 1 . < h t t p : / / w w w . b e s t b u y. c o m / s i t e / S e a g a t e + + M o m e n t u s + X T +
500GB+Internal+Ser ial+ATA+Hard+Drive+for+Laptops+ +Silver/Bla
B e s t B u y, . " I n t e l ® - X 2 5 - M M a i n s t r e a m 1 2 0 G B I n t e r n a l S e r i a l A T A I I
S o l i d S t a t e H a r d D r i v e - S i l v e r . " B e s t B u y. B e s t B u y, 2 0 1 1 . W e b . 2 7
F e b 2 0 1 1 . < h t t p : / / w w w . b e s t b u y. c o m / s i t e / I n t e l % 2 6 % 2 3 1 7 4 % 3 B + -
&st=solid state hard drive&cp=1&lp=1>.
Intel, . "Intel® X25 -M and X18 -M Mainstream SATA Solid -State Drives .”
Kirsch , Nathan. "Intel X25 -M 160GB 34nm MLC G2 SSD
Benchmark Review." Legit Reviews 23 Jul 2009 : 1-13. Web. 22 Feb
Seagate. "Momentus® Laptop Hard Drives." Seagate. Seagate Technology
LLC, 2011. Web. 22 Feb 2011. <http://www.seagate.com/www/en -
S e a g a t e . " M o m e n t u s ® X T S o l i d S t a t e H yb r i d D r i v e s . " S e a g a t e . S e a g a t e \