After Hours

Cracking open the Sony PlayStation 3

Sony PlayStation 3 in pieces

Once the initial launch rush died down, we were able to finally buy a Sony PlayStation 3. After taking it for a test drive, I began the surprisingly easy disassembly process. Come along as we go inside the PS3 and see the hardware that makes Sony's $599 console tick.

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

63 comments
sanky_the_wiz
sanky_the_wiz

Heyyy... I followed the steps exactly...how do I assemble it baack? How about a new slideshow with assembly? ;-)

daniellaughton
daniellaughton

i noticed whilst view the gallery that this only applys to the 60g series with a 1.5 and 1.0g blueray the 2 gig bluray is better equipt and more reliable this stetp by step is different to the 40g consol also when removing the upper casing you can just remove to small screws before taking off the lid located directly above two large screws above th ecard reader slot and the memory card reader will remain in the lid but remember to tilt the lid forward and remove the ribbon from the lower side of the card reader before trying to put the lid to one side then remove the card reader from the lid by releasing the too clips this is a safer way to remove the lid without causing damage to the card reader or lid also in reguards to the comment about the $500 graphics card its true but also false the bluray circit board contains a processor which is one of the moset powerful in the world the chip in the blueray drive is 500 GBP i can assure you the infomation i have previded is corect as i work of sony reapirs in reguards to the power lead having scres going though them is simple the power lead going from the motherboard to the bluray has to pas throught the hook near the power and eject chip and a word of warning on the top of the power and eject chip there are to z shaped conectore the when the lid is closed conect to the buttons ont he outside of the consol if thease get squashed or streached which is easly done the buttoms wont work

kyle09
kyle09

A few months ago, I purchased a refurbished 80gb PS3 and saved about $150. 2 weeks later, it stopped reading discs. The company sent me another PS3 and I "forgot" to return the damaged one. So now I have 2 ps3s. A few weeks ago, the power shut off on the new one and never turned back on; not even a red light. After doing some research, I found out that it's very likely that the power supply was damaged, so I thought it would be a good idea to either switch power supplies or switch blu-ray drives, using this site as a reference, so that one of my two ps3s can function. I decided to switch power supplies first and it worked! One hour later, I had a functioning ps3! My life is finally normal again. No more reading books. No more studying for as long as this PS3 lasts! Excellent post. FYI: If you lose power and you happen to find an extra power supply, and you have enough balls to void your warranty, it is possible to remove that piece first (the blog suggests removing the memory card reader first) to save time

bdugan
bdugan

I got something stuck in the blu-ray drive and Sony informed me this voided my warranty. Voided it! That sucked. So I opened it up bit by bit and this set of pictures helped me put it back together. Thanks! Anyway, after I put it back together, it booted up OK once and then didn't boot up again. I took it apart again, and it turned out that if you look at picture 29 (at http://content.techrepublic.com.com/2346-10877_11-41891-29.html) there's a power cable of some sort to the blu-ray drive. When I opened it up, I accidentally tore off that little sticker that holds the cable next to the power supply. The cable flopped around loose, and it turns out that when I screwed down the posts as the final put-together step, one of the screws stripped the insulation off the wire. Then, I gather, it was shorting as it touched the side of the power supply. I opened the PS3 back up, taped up the wire, put it all back together, and now it works fine. The moral of the story: Tape that cable back to the side of the power supply if you tear it off; the sticker is there for a reason.

richard
richard

Thank you for an exceptional article - gave me the confidence to open my ps3 to fish out things my baby son had posted into it!

rick
rick

This was extremely helpful, but now when I turned my ps3 on, the red light starts blinking and it turns yellow for a split second and then back to blinking red. What does this mean? Does it mean that when I hooked up the green and yellow cable with the washer and screw...that i did not put it back in the right place. If anyone could help me out since sony is not much help. Thank you.

samyali202
samyali202

Hi Guys!! I know Technology is Nice, But. I still Belive Japaneese steal our Monney :)) nice show bro:)

sponia
sponia

From the looks of things, I would guess that the two boards you identify as the wireless components are differentiated by function, not protocol. I'm going to speculate that the rear board is the analog, or "radio" part of both network interfaces and the front board is the digital side. The differences between bluetooth and 802.11 are only of detail; different frequencies and encoding methods. It makes more sense from a manufacturing standpoint to build one radio that can handle both frequencies and one digital unit which can decode both protocols than to build completely separate interfaces for both.

cbw92480
cbw92480

Sony told me that thares no sales for new HDD's,and you can putin a laptop HDD....but SCEA told me it may mussup your PS3 and vold your PS3.

ssaus2
ssaus2

there should be a case top on the playstation 3 and should be made out of steel.

zhoer1
zhoer1

this little piece of gadgetry is not worth what youre paying for.

kkmcse
kkmcse

made by Foxconn (Hong Hai) in ShenZhen, Guangzhou China. We supply some of the components to Foxconn. I've visited the factory "town" of about 5 city blocks, like a university campus. Interestingly, full of high school aged kids running around working there. No cameras, no mobile phones, nothing electronic can be brought into the facilities. the entire PS3 probably costs less than $150US to make.

chamid2
chamid2

That's because it has an integrated graphic processor, not a video card, similar to that of the Wii & the Xbox 360.

denniselectro
denniselectro

I might have missed it while looking at the pics of the motherboard , but is'nt this thing supposed to have an really powerful graphic card? i thought that's was one of the things that made it priced so high in the first place. (here's an example of desktop version of the card: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GeForce_8_Series )

Species8472
Species8472

What the **** is that? You can get SATA DVD-ROM drives, HD Drives. The Blueray player doesn't use SATA.

gzablodski
gzablodski

I would like to give author a credit for doing something that probably none of us would do i.e. buying an expensive piece of a hardware and immediately taking it apart. It is really interesting to look inside the guts of this shiny box and follow the logic of its designers. Although the future of PS3 is not clear, I think it does not deserve such a bad press and overall negative reaction of those who judge too hard too soon.

jlouras
jlouras

This article was interesting for me to know how the PS3 was inside. Finding out the techspecs by myself was usefull and my less IT educated friends, but "addicted" PS players, were all very interested in this small report. Either you want it or not, you cannot find an article like this in any PS official website, and I congratulate Bill for having the guts to "almost" destroy his highly expensive toy so he can share with us his interests. Also this was a nice way to advertise TechRepublic's Website to my non IT friends. Joao

bixbyru
bixbyru

...calling the main board a motherboard? There aren't any daughterboards; a motherboard has sockets to which other boards directly conect. "tis right up with calling /'s "backslashes." Freakin' ignorance. You may think this overly nit-pickey on my part, but standardised, precise terminology is not optional in the technical fields. Bix

bixbyru
bixbyru

The initial hype about the PS/3 was that 'twould consist of four or six interconected PPC chips, each provided with an attached vector processor. In other words, a small supercomputer. I couldn't wait to get my hands on one so as to start porting Linux or BSD. Ah, well... Bix

bixbyru
bixbyru

In '72 I built the first Pong machine on the block from 45 military surplus transistors (anyone remember Poly Packs?) and a several dozen other parts. Total cost was about $15 or so. Not on the block, actually, as I lived on a dirt road in the San Bernardino mountains and the nearest neighbour was a quarter mile (and three turns) away. No RF - I ran cables from inside the TV - from the tuner and the main chassis - and put a toggle switch on the TV case to select tuner or external input. Maybe this was the first TV with an external video input... This was a tube set made in the early sixties, and I was 10. Shall I see if I still have this Pong machine lying about (I actually may) and post pictures? Now, as to my first computer... Bix

mtribble
mtribble

Are you showing PC novices how to make repairs and up grades to their soon to be outdated PS3 gaming systems, or is this just something that you feel IT pros really need to know.

jdriggers
jdriggers

Try reading the script from bottom to top.:-)

shifty89
shifty89

i agree, the costs of this machine are astronomical, what i dont understand is how sony manege to make such a huge loss on every one of thier ps3's

lnewberry
lnewberry

I enjoyed this, I love to see stuff torn apart. I would if it didn't void my warrantee. I can?t beleve people here are woried you spent too much, to me it looks like a neat strategy; To use company funds to buy gaming consoles? for research sources for a couple of articles. Do you have to stay after work to play them? Or are you allowed to take them home? I got My 60 gig Video I-pod that way. I just have to give 2 classes a year on how to pod cast.

fszczerba
fszczerba

Actually it's $800 to $900 just for parts. This is no different from any other console at launch (except maybe Nintendo). Microsoft lost a lot on initial XBox sales, but have more than made that up on games, network services, etc. Sony did the same with the PS2. At that rate Sony has lost something like $300 million USD on PS3 sales to date....

denniselectro
denniselectro

yeah i know. but still , before the launch of the system there was a rumor that the ps3 cost so much because it had a very pricey graphics processor. I only put up that link at an example. I read in a bull shit Game Informer mag. that that nvidia card was the Pc equivalent to the ps3's graphics processor.

chamid2
chamid2

neither do the Wii or Xbox 360 in their construction. Even the 360's HD-DVD add-on player is a USB-connected unit. so, what's your point?...

Linda.S.Tamplin
Linda.S.Tamplin

You feel that 'Motherboard' is only appropriate if there is a 'daughterboard' -- the term 'mainboard' implies the existence of a secondary or tertiary board... and MOST people understand the reference when 'motherboard' is the term used. Give the guy a break!

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler moderator

Bix, You know, I actually debated whether to stick with "motherboard" - the more common PC term or go with a more technically accurate term -- main board, main PCB, etc. I stuck with motherboard as I felt it was the more familiar term. And, it appears mistakenly so. I will endeavor to be more accurate in the future. For the record, I don't think I've ever called a / and backslash.

Ambercroft
Ambercroft

That would be neat to see. Would you have the plans for your creation?

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler moderator

Bix, If you would be willing to send me photographs (with descriptions) of your Pong machine, I would like to publish them. Send me a private message if you're interested.

justinm
justinm

Go for it, old school was the best!!

support
support

Much like many things in quantum physics, you just suddenly get it or you don't. Better explained by the word, Epiphany (feeling), a realization or comprehension of the essence or meaning of something. Loosen your tie, take a deep breath and look at it as a simple pleasure if you must. Good Luck

ttocsmij
ttocsmij

Like most of us [engineers], I think they just like to take things apart and see what's in them. It probably seems a bit odd to a manager but don't worry, I am sure they won't hurt themselves (thus incurring an insurance event). I imagine it's how a lot of young folks get started down the engineering path (although now I advise most of them to seek educations in various medical fields since engineering seems to be headed overseas).

joel.sison
joel.sison

I quite enjoyed see the guts of PS3. Thanks for taking th time to do that.

Rising Star
Rising Star

I for one found this article very interesting. I doubt if I will ever take a PS3 apart, but I still enjoyed finding out what is inside one. Can't say that I "needed to know", but thanks to TechRepublic for the learning experience - and I'm glad it still worked in the end!

solaris_bb
solaris_bb

Since most techs game to relieve stress, and inevitably end up modding or experimenting with their consoles, I think this is an excellent post. In addition it highlights some key points when disassembling a device and those of use that work with manufacturing equipment notes on dissembling a PS/3 could very well come in handy as similar hardware is often used. Furthermore? Do you really think the forum should only be about ?Standard? computer related issues?

Qantm
Qantm

Doing all the work of dissection and photographs kind of justifies the need for the PS3 and that it was used for business purposes, right?

chamid2
chamid2

that's the name of the game here. With the ease of replacing the HDD with one larger or smaller than the ones in both the 20 & 60 Gb versions, you aren't limited to what the manufacturer has to offer. Also, in images 78-80, the cooling unit, with its copper tubing winding over both the CPU & GPU, is designed in a way that will introduce the possibility of water-cooling to the PS3. Don't be suprised if someone decides to build one as an experiment, and it touches-off a spree of similar units.

lsangree
lsangree

I'd much rather my 13 year take it apart and study it than actually play on it! Maybe learn something... :) They would be willing to take a loss on the system for the same reason desk jet printers and cell phones are cheap. It's the consumables - buy more ink, minutes, games... Once you're hooked it's a steady cash stream....

mindhuntr
mindhuntr

Oh yeah! Now I can justify getting a PS3 for my next web page development system. Yes, honey, it also plays games but I really needed it for web page development. Thank you very kindly for pointing that out, Frank

dillon_hillier
dillon_hillier

I cannot for the life of me get that torx screw out. I have the right size bit but that pin is hampering my efforts. are there torx bits available that have a hole for the pin or should I drill a hole in the bit with a press? Let me know what you think. Cheers

almo215
almo215

I was comletely captivated with your article. It allowed my imagination to work overtime to ponder how difficult it must have been to design all these components to work together and function adequately under who knows how many constraints and parameters. Give Sony a lot more credit for what they have accomplished. Money insn't the only consideration when evaluating a product's value. Heck, my 1st computer cost $1895 - the Osborne 1 with 64K memory and dual 180K floppies. No hard drive either. We probably need to consider how far technology has advanced to appreciate any new product. almo

almo215
almo215

If I remember correctly the Commodore 64, when it first came out cost about the same as the PS3 does now. Note also: The Commodore had 64k memory, used MS Basic and had no hard drive. almo

nocahoma
nocahoma

I was assuming their would be a couple of hundred dollar bills inside this thing, because it's certainly not worth the price.

bixbyru
bixbyru

I apologize bit snapping at you. You know you've been doing too much support when you start spelling loser with a "u," and you inadvertently stepped on one of my pet peeves. (Good little peeve; here's a Scooby snack!) BTW, I'll see if I can dig up that oh-so-long-ago project. Later, Bix

TUFOP
TUFOP

Medical procedures are going overseas too. You need a kidney or heart or whatever and are not going to live until your name comes up on the waiting list you go to China.

TUFOP
TUFOP

This is an excellent post. I can't believe someone involved with computers in any way would find it anything but informative and well worth the read. Thanks for taking the time doing it. I would have never thought the HD would be of an older vintage.

Constantdrone
Constantdrone

This forum should include random topics, even if your only responce is "hmmmmm". I need to know that there is something out there past microslop short comings and end user fouls ups. I enjoy that someone has the time to produce this sort of thing.

bixbyru
bixbyru

It's quite possible - and would be typical - that the drive parameters are coded into the ROM. This would make upgrades less than feasible. Bix

jdriggers
jdriggers

Yes, there is a set of torx with a hole in the shaft. You might try drilling it if you can't find a set, but the drill press is your only hope of not injuring yourself when doing this. Most tool dealers now have the one you need.

larsamund
larsamund

I cant verify it but I have heard that Sony take a loss on each console they sell. So to your point; it's worth more than the sticker price.

PDFITZG1974
PDFITZG1974

Unfortunetly it's very expensive hardware, and not everyone is going to appreciate it or be able to afford it. Personally, I am really enjoying the PS3, and being that I wanted a BlueRay player, it was the best deal on the market. I had already invested over $4K into HD compatible components and a new entertainment cabinet, so the purchase made sense to me. XBox 360 elite with HD-DVD player is more expensive than PS3 and still not as well integrated or presentable (They have a big lead on next gen games though-I love Gears!). To each their own. Anyway, it was pretty cool to see the PS3 component breakdown. Paul

jfelt5
jfelt5

why would anyone put money into the console it would be dumb

TUFOP
TUFOP

Why the two+ year old Seagate HD? I would not be happy if I didn't get something current. Maybe an upgrade to a newer HD is doable but I would think some of the "newer" features on a current HD may be a waste of time and money if the system can't take advantage of them.

ttocsmij
ttocsmij

Oh yeah! Now I can justify getting a PS3 for my next web page development system. Yes, honey, it also plays games but I really needed it for web page development. Thank you very kindly for pointing that out, Frank! :-)

fszczerba
fszczerba

The user manual tells you how to replace the hard drive with any 2.5" SATA HD. Doing so does _not_ void your warranty. They also explicitly support external USB devices like storage, mouse/keyboard, headsets, etc. Sony also provides instructions on installing a 3rd party OS (particularly Linux) and provides the necessary bootloader utilities. The necessary drivers are open source and on track to be included in the mainstream Linux kernel.

daniellaughton
daniellaughton

i can..... sony do make a loss on every console they sell and the reason for this is that the circut on the blueray drive sony buy for 500 GBP

shifty89
shifty89

you do realize that was sarcasm??

se_xis_fun
se_xis_fun

u get some of your money back dont u