November 23, 2009 // 12:56 am
- As we have been bringing you the first looks at the PS3 TOOL and its internals
, we plan to detail every last part of the PS3 TOOL - starting with the big chip differences.
Today we are focusing on four important chips, specifically the PS3 System Controller, Flash, Flash Controller and IO controller.
Let's start with the System Controller. In the picture (below), it is top center. The System controller, CXR713F120A, is slightly different in part number from that of its retail equivalent (CXR713120).
It is interesting to note that we have also documented this chip in Prototype PS3 systems - meaning that the chip is most likely for old stock, reserved for development systems. Later on, in PS3 TEST's the chip model was changed back to that of its retail equivalent.
The system controller is equivalent to the medulla oblongata of your brain. It controls the systems basic functions - like power. It's the thing that makes your PS3 beep when you power it on. It also has some other interesting features, many of which we are still working on documenting.
To the left of the System Controller are some pads and buttons - the button resets the system, while the pads are for signals that are brought out (like JTAG, two UART's, and a few other Debug interfaces).
Next, in the bottom left of the PS3 TOOL mainboard is the system flash, the Samsung K9F2G08U0M. Unlike that of a retail of its time (2006-2007), the PS3 TOOL features a single 2 Gigabit flash, vs two 1 Gigabit flashes like on a retail system.
Why this was done is a guess - perhaps to save space on the PCB (it is quite packed). Still the same amount of storage (256MB) as that of a retail (of its time), but in a higher density package.
To the right of the flash, is the flash controller (the CXD4302GB). The CXD4302 on a retail system handles the interleaving and byteswapping of the dual flashes, and then allows it to talk with the rest of the system. The same occurs for the most part on the TOOL, however there is also an extra pad for an additional flash - perhaps as a "patch".
Of course, that big Debug header stuck between the System Controller and the Flash / Flash controller is likely an interface that allows quick programming of the flash itself - when Sony uses the PS3 TOOL to develop and test firmware upgrades, it is imperative that they have a hardware recovery method.
Finally, on the lower right hand side are more TOOL-unique features. First are the OS0-OS7 LED's, they mimic the front panel GPIO output, and there is the CXD9790GG.
The CXD9790GG helps handle communication between the Communication Processor, and the system controller, and southbridge. Using this path, the CP can talk to the System Controller, and bring the system up, down, and change its boot settings.
More soon, followed by what we've done so far on the incredible PS3 TOOL!