For some time now those of us looking to upgrade out PS3 Hard disc drives (HDDs) have faced an upper maximum limit of 500GB. Though 2.5″ SATA drives are available in sizes of 750GB and even 1TB (1,000GB) these drives exceed the standard 9.5mm height for 2.5″ internal drives and are 12.5mm high which in turn means that they will not fit in your PS3.
The reason the high-capacity HDDs are also physically larger is because they contain a third disc, or platter, holding the extra data. The practical limit for data storage on a single side of one platter has been around 125GB for a while now, with 500GB drives using both sides of two platters. Here is the relevant part of the specifications for the family of Toshiba drives to which the 120GB HDD found in the PS3 Slim belongs. You need one data head per side of the platter being used for storage.
The amount of data that can be stored within a given area of the surface of a platter is referred to as the areal density. Toshiba’s new MKxx65GSX range of HDDs has an increased maximum areal density which allows them to store 160GB on a single side of a single platter. The new maximum is 528.5Gbits/in2, a staggering 528,500,000,000 discreet binary 1s and 0s in a space slightly larger than a standard British first class stamp!
What this means for us PS3 owners is that Toshiba will now be producing a 640GB HDD that we will be able to fit in our PS3s, both Fat and Slim. You will not find them in stores yet as Toshiba are not scheduled to ship them to distributors until sometime between October and December this year. The part number to watch out for will be M6465GSX.