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Is there any difference between, for example, a 160GB model and a 320GB model aside from the HDD size? Does any model have newer, more powerful components?

Wikipedia suggests that there isn't a difference, however I'd like to be sure.

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3 Answers 3

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Not all PS3 Slim models are identical. There are some minor and major (depending on your use case) differences between the different Slim modes.

HDD Size

Not all models have the same Hard Drive size from the factory. As they are standard 2.5' SATA drives, you can change this size at any time so is not that important.

This are the different sizes that come in the different PS3 models:

  • CECH-20XXA and CECH-21XXA consoles have 120GB drives
  • CECH-25XXA and CECH-30XXA consoles have 160GB drives
  • CECH-20XXB and CECH-21XXB consoles have 250GB drives
  • CECH-25XXB and CECH-30XXB consoles have 320GB drives

Custom Firmware Support

Not all PS3 models can run Custom Firmware, or CFW. Custom Firmware are special operating system versions for the PS3 that allow you to do stuff similar to the Development Consoles that Sony sells to developers.

All of the CECH-20XX and CECH-21XX consoles can run Custom Firmware, while some CECH-25XX consoles with a Datecode (manufacturing date) of 1A and 1B can. None of the CECH-30XX consoles can run CFW.

Energy efficiency

The CECH-20XX models have the Reality Synthesizer (RSX) chip made in an older process node, which means that they are less efficient than the CECH-21XX, CECH-25XX and CECH-30XX consoles.

The CECH-20XX consoles have RSX Chips made in the 65nm process, while all other models released after that have RSX Chips made in the 40nm process (and some Super Slim models in 28nm).

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  • Nice answer! Is there a reason the 30XX models can't run CFW? is it a hardware lockout or something?
    – Robotnik
    Commented Jan 27, 2022 at 21:46
  • @Robotnik CFW was installed by exploiting a bug found by fail0verflow with the encryption key published by geohot. Due to this bug affecting a part of the console that can't be changed outside of the factory (aka Software Updates can't touch this code), Sony couldn't patch it in existing consoles but could make new consoles that have this fix. This is why all consoles that have 3.56 and higher as the "min praxis" (aka software version installed in the factory) are patched.
    – Lemon
    Commented Jan 27, 2022 at 23:06
  • ill recommend reading the PlayStation 3 homebrew page on Wikipedia, as that explains this a bit better than what I could do.
    – Lemon
    Commented Jan 27, 2022 at 23:07
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All slim models are identical. Only the HDD capacity will vary.
You can have the list of models here.

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Just moved the HD from a broken PS3 Slim to a slightly older variant. On the hardware side, the tray has been changed slightly (a small metal bump is in a different position), so I had to loosen another eight screws. Sadly, that wasn't enough, as the working PS3 refused to recognize the software on the disk.

Bottom line: There are significant differences, and exchanging parts may not work. (Now I'm thinking whether to try switching the power supply, or to try reinstalling the software.)

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    – Community Bot
    Commented Nov 4, 2022 at 19:43

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