11-02-2009 #1CJPC Guest
PS3 TOOL DECR-1000A Internal Pictures and Details Available
Recently the PS3 Dev Team received a PS3 Reference TOOL Kit and detailed the Frontside and Backside of the hardware.
Today we popped off the top of our PS3 TOOL to share how this monstrous machine works!
For starters, the cover is large but thin, and quite sharp (it drew blood!). Underneath the top cover are multiple steel covers, nearly 1/8th of an inch thick. This keeps the PS3 TOOL shielded, and also helps with ventilation.
Of an interesting note, the covers are so thick they block the WiFi and Bluetooth signals - this is why a PS3 TOOL needs an external antenna. Once the shielding covers are removed (along with about 15 screws) the signal can escape the system without issue... and we can start to see the internals of the PS3 TOOL.
Looking at the overview, on the far left features, from top to bottom, the System HDD at 400GB, the BDEMU HDD at 400GB, as well as the BD-ROM drive at the bottom.
To the right of that, there are air channels that are used as an intake, sucking air in from the front, passing it through the BE/RSX heat syncs, and out the back.
Prominently featured at the top is the Power Supply, the large heat sink directly below that is the RSX, and right below that is the Cell. To the middle-right of the Cell/BE, is the WiFi/Bluetooth hardware - which as noted, needs the external antenna to work.
Below the IDE cables labelled "ATA0 SYSTEM" and "ATA1 SYSTEM" are the video components - which are all doubled, two video chips, even dual HDMI transceivers. These HDMI transceivers are under the AV sub board, which provides Multi AV and VGA output - one of the features a PS3 TOOL has over normal hardware.
Back right are exhaust vents, which suck air out of the system. Featured in the second picture (below) are two air vent channels, which are embedded in the thick steel covering that help route air away from the CELL/RSX, and towards said exhaust fans.
Below these fans, there is a large heat sink - underneath it is the Southbridge. The Southbridge controls just about everything in the system - which is why it is so very, very interesting!
Finally, onto the thing that really makes the PS3 TOOL stand out- the Communication Processor at the bottom. It is essentially its own embeded system - think of it like a tiny PC, inside the TOOL.
On powerup, it is turned on first, talks with the Southbridge, and via its own Debug link, is able to essentially control the entire system.
Of course, depending on the Southbridge Firmware, the CP can either just Debug games, or Debug (and dump!) the Kernel and Hypervisor memory areas. However, to do this, a special internal Sony update is required.
More next time, when we will get into details about each specific chip - there are quite a few different chips in here compared to a Retail or even Dev PS3 units - and the BD drive is quite interesting too!
More PlayStation 3 News...
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Another nice update CJPC! It's interesting to learn a bit about the hardware that so few people outside the "Big $" have access to.
Looking forward to the next update on the chips!
11-02-2009 #3Starlight Guest
Looks pretty nice inside that unit and good luck with in finding out more details on this unit, as not many people get to take apart a unit like this and nice job guys on the details and pics so far.
11-02-2009 #4tilla Guest
I remember having several test-tool related injuries with these bad boys back in the day Truly huge, and not really built with convenience in mind at all - at least at EA, whenever one got unplugged at all a technician had to come around with a laptop to reactivate them manually with some special piece of software. Very annoying.
11-02-2009 #5Preceptor Guest
Nice update CJPC! It's really nice to see the internals of such a beauty! It's surprising how much the Retails / Devs differ from this monster. Makes them both look like cheap crappy versions of this masterpiece...
Just some little questions, and I'm pretty sure you were expecting this with your post.
You said you need a special sony update to dump the hypervisor / kernel memory areas (I bet like 30 million people are dying to to take a lookie at those memory dumps). Soooo, what do you mean by that? Do you need a special firmware for that or what?
Are these updates hackable or are they included in the whole chain of trust DRM that only sony can provide such an update and you need to be like sony CEO's son to get one of those? (for this question I pretty much know the answer, but just to be sure...). And finally, is this update some piece of hardware like a usb plug or something?
11-02-2009 #6walidahmadi Guest
This thing looks like a monster. It makes the retails a bunch of crap. The most interesting thing would be the debugging ability of it. Looking forward for the next..
11-02-2009 #7aries2k6 Guest
Thanks for taking the time to share this info, CJPC.
Most people, like myself, will probably never see one of these but I still find it interesting. Its nice to know what´s out there.
That machine is really a beast.
I hope you can tame her and learn everything possible about the ps3.
11-02-2009 #8CJPC Guest
As for the updates themselves, I'd rather not get into how they work yet - going to save that for a future news post - but we are learning quite a bit, it's very interesting to say the least!
But, the update is just software, no hardware devices etc - so that makes it a bit easier on us!
11-03-2009 #9angelbemine3 Guest
Kinda intresting that the TOOL uses IDE HDD and not SATA like retail.
11-04-2009 #10CJPC Guest