Monday Blues: Upgrading The PS3 Harddrive

It was a fine Bank Holiday yesterday: the birds were tweeting and the sun was shining, but in anticipation of today’s PlayStation Event (and the masses of cool downloads we’re getting later on) we decided it was time to upgrade the TSA PS3’s 60 GB harddrive.

A quick call to our local computer suppliers and a drive into town produced a 160 GB harddrive for the tiny sum of £55. Bargain, we thought, if only the rest of the process would be as painless.

Back at TSA Towers we flipped off the harddrive cover on the PS3 to reveal the Blue Screw Of Doom, and then suddenly we remembered we’d been here before, trying to get this damned screw out of it’s hole. For anyone unfamiliar, Sony have managed to construct the screw thread out of adamantine steel and the hole where the screwdriver goes out of jelly – meaning that no matter which screwdriver you use, you’re not going to be undoing this screw in a million years.

So, with the socket already knackered, it was time for the drill. With the PS3 on it’s side, upside down, we proceeded to drill either side of the screwdriver socket to form a groove right across the screw. 30 minutes later, an eye full of sharp metal, we’d managed to take enough out of the screw head to force a flat-head screwdriver into the new slot, and out the Blue Screw Of Doom came.

Fantastic – the little catch flipped up and the casing, along with the tiny harddrive, slid out. We popped it back in, then left it backing up for just over an hour, before taking the harddrive back out and having a proper look at the case… Then we saw 4 more screws holding the disk in place…

These were even worse. The tightest, snuggest screwdriver in the world couldn’t get these out without destroying the head, so it was back to the drill, lengthways across each screw, for approximately 90 minutes. Finally, after much frustration (and one snapped drill bit) we’d managed to get one screw out, another one splintered into tiny fragments all over the room, and the remaining two were still wedged firmly in place like limpets.

With more frustration that ever thought possible, the casing was bent right back, snapping in two, and thus leaving the half with two screws in still stuck to the old 60 GB. With a hammer and 5 minutes of banging out in the corridor, the first half of the casing was flat enough to secure back to the new harddrive, albeit now quite a sharp, and probably not terribly safe slice of metal.

With the one complete screw we bodged the remaining bit of casing into the PS3, forced the new disk in and shut the plastic door, knowing we could never move this PS3 ever again. The restore went fine, however, and we’re now the proud owners of over 110 GBs of free space, and several bits of embedded steel.

These demos better be good, Sony…

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