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My PS2 has finally died, and I am looking to hunt down a PS3 60GB for the hardware backwards compatibility. I've located a few for ~250$. Since I've never really used a PS3, I have a few questions. First, the one I am looking at the most says it comes with the 2.7 firmware. If I upgrade the firmware, will that completely remove hardware backwards compatibility for PS1 and PS2 games? According to Wikipedia all firmwares can play PS1 games, but emulation for PS2 games seems to be a bit less clear.

Second, can I replace the internal hard disk with a custom one (something like a 1tb hitachi travelstar)? I've found reports that the hard disks are user upgradable on wikipedia.

I'm just trying to figure out the current "state of the union."

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What country are you in? The answer varies between NTSC and PAL PS3 hardware. –  Shinrai Jul 26 '12 at 15:13
    
While I can't comment on the state of backwards compatibility, I am relatively certain that there are no restrictions on installing a new SATA hard drive. The PS3 itself includes a tool to backup to an external hard drive and then to restore to your new internal drive once the upgrade is complete. –  RESPAWN Jul 26 '12 at 15:15
    
I am located in the US so I'll be using an NTSC system. I know that software backwards compatibility was removed for PS2 (though i've seen statements that it is still there for ps1). However for the devices which have hardware backwards compatibility, i'm not sure if the newer firmwares actively disable it or not. –  Matthew Jul 26 '12 at 15:21
    
Don't bother with an old PS3. Most of the PS3s of that era are dying now, mostly with YLOD. If the one's you've found are repaired units, they will probably last less than 6 months at best. You'd be better off just buying a new PS2. –  YellowMegaMan Jul 27 '12 at 0:29
    
I honestly agree with @YellowMegaMan, except that I'd add a superior solution (given the poor output of a PS2 on a modern television) might be to use an emulator if you have a decent PC. I have FFXII sitting in the DVD drive of this system and a DS3 hooked up right now, actually. –  Shinrai Jul 28 '12 at 0:24

2 Answers 2

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The firmware should only be especially relevant if you have the 80GB model that implemented software emulation (which was comparatively poor at first, although I believe newer firmwares improved it some). The earlier 20GB and 60GB models actually have the CPU and GPU of a PS2 onboard, so it's practically working natively, and that'd be the best approach. The newer firmwares do not disable this functionality.

All PS3 systems can play PS1 games on all firmwares (it's all software emulation, which is trivial for a system with the PS3's horsepower), so this shouldn't be a concern.

Note that Sony actually keeps a database on what works properly. The support isn't 100% across the board for any variant of the systems - there are a few games that are buggy.

The hard drives are upgradeable relatively easily, and there's built in backup and restore functionality.

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That's exactly what I needed, thank you! –  Matthew Jul 26 '12 at 16:21

Current generation "Slim" PS3's have software backwards compatibility. They won't play any PS2 games, but they'll most PSX games.

The 60GB launch PS3, however, most certainly will, due to it's hardware backwards compatibility, as you know.

Since this PS3 has the guts of the PS2 inside it, firmware updates do NOT affect it's compatibility. Personally, I have two launch PS3's, and they both make no fuss whatsoever, no matter what game I play. I have tried to keep them updated as needed, although I'm not OCD about it. No problems, either way.

As for hard drive replacement, as @RESPAWN said, the PS3 has tools for data backup, and as long as you have a laptop SATA HDD, you're good to go. Pop off the side panel, remove the screw, the casing with the HDD just slides right out. Replace HDD, and you're good to go.

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Slim PS3s will not play PS2 games. The first hardware run had hardware backwards compatibility, the second run had software, but nothing after that had either starting in late 2007. To put this in perspective, every PS2 backwards compatible model shipped with Sixaxis instead of DualShock 3. –  Shinrai Jul 26 '12 at 15:24
    
@Shinrai He specifically mentioned launch 60GB PS3s. Those, as far as I know, all have hardware backwards compatibility. –  Frank Jul 26 '12 at 15:26
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Right, I'm correcting your very first paragraph. "Current generation "Slim" PS3's have software backwards compatibility." This is only true for PS1 games - they won't play any PS2 games. Not a single one. :) –  Shinrai Jul 26 '12 at 15:33
    
Really? Huh. I didn't know that. –  Frank Jul 26 '12 at 15:36
    
@fbueckert And that's probably why they dropped compatibility :) –  Tacroy Jul 26 '12 at 22:56

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