Upgrading the super slim 12gb ps3

I have an original phat PS3 that I bought in March 2007 and upgraded to 500GB. It gets used every day in the living room by the fiance who uses PlayTV to pause, rewind and record copious amounts of television. That PlayStation is mine and I’m meant to be playing games on it but because the fiance has an iron grip of my balls, I only really play on it once a fortnight, tv schedule permitting.

When the slim PS3 came out, we got one for the law firm and I thought, great, I’ll stay back and play my games there in peace and quiet where no Chihuahua or blessed nagging can get to me. This never happened because when I’m in the office, I want to finish that one last thing. And then another.

So now that the super slim PS3 came out, I went stuff it, I’m getting one for my home office. I am going to close the door on the fiance and dog and have my little space where I can zone out and play games because I want to and they’re fun. Having just upgraded my Macbook to a solid state drive, I decided to buy the smaller and cheaper 12GB PS3 and hopefully slot in the 2.5″ SATA II hard drive so that my digital downloads can have somewhere to sit. It was really easy and this is how I did it.

I ripped off the top cover and I stuck in my old hard drive. I didn’t take out any screws and the hard drive is a bit wobbly inside with about half a centimetre gap all around it, but that’s ok because the PlayStation’s going to sit on my desk behind my monitor. I should probably have unscrewed things and ensured the hard drive was properly cased or at least pad it out so that it fits snuggly and unmoving inside the bay but I’m insistent that this is fine. There was no hard drive inside to take out and replace, so I’m guessing the previous 12GB is internal flash space somewhere on the motherboard.

The PlayStation had to format its new innards and I’m assuming it loaded its OS onto the new 320GB capacity. It took a while but it’s working lovely now. I’m playing Uncharted 2 in peace and its so much easier to ignore the fiance and dog now.

So I guess what I have to impart to anybody else looking to buy the cheaper 12GB version and upgrading it themselves is this: It’s so easy. Just rip it off and stick it in.

I think it’s a good idea to pad out the hard drive inside the bay with non-flammable material so that it doesn’t wiggle and wear out the connector if you move it around too much but that’s not a concern for me because this console is going to be planted unmoving on my desk for quite a while. If you think the PS3 is going to be dropped or shaken by a child, maybe go so far as to indulge in some good old duct tape to secure the cover so that the hard drive doesn’t disconnect and fall out. That’d take some furious toddler shaking but just in case, I guess.

31 thoughts on “Upgrading the super slim 12gb ps3”

  1. Youve stated that the 12gb slim formats the new hdd installed? I want to put the hard drive from my sons busted (ylod) ps3 into it, In this case will my son lose all save data dlc etc on the drive? Or will it be accepted as it is being direct from a ps3 already? Assuming no disc corruption of course.

    1. I’m sorry but I don’t know. I would suggest that you backup your hard drive, stick it in and then see if it formats it. If it does, you have a backup. If you don’t, jackpot! Good luck!

  2. so i just got a 12 gb ps3 and i want to upgrade it, but the drive i want to buy is sata II, so i was wandering if the ps3 suports sata II or do i have to find a sata 1 hdd

  3. ok so there wasnt a hard disk in the compartment
    u just put one in
    and when u switched it on it came that ps3 cant find os and u formatted da hard disk and installed da firmware
    the ps3 boots from da hard disk only right?


    For those of you installing a hard drive on the 12 GB Super Slim PS3 (the most recent model) you will notice that it has no hard drive by default, therefore it lacks a certain metal piece that should be used when installing one.

    I am talking about the so called “Mounting Bracket”. It is a Sony official accesory to mount hard drives on, in order to assemble them properly.

    You can google for images to know what I am talking about. Since it is an official accesory, you will find it at your favorite retail shop.

    It is very important to use it, otherwise you could damage the hard drive. By using this you can move around your console and everything will be fine.

    It only costs 10 bucks, so it is more than worth it.

    1. I very much so recommend this official mounting bracket. I saw it today for $11AUD at a brick and mortar game store. I upgraded my PS3 and wrote this entry before the release of such mounting bracket and well, my apologies for not including it.

  5. Hi

    I have installed an external HDD and ps3 had copied all the flash data into the HDD. as one of your comments, it reads that the ps3 will only use the HDD, that means the OS and game data will be stored on to the HDD.

    I want to know what if the HDD is removed, will the PS3 work from flash memory (I know the game data may be lost if stored on HDD), secondly can I store games onto the HDD, instead of changing the game DVD/BD every time.

    and how about CFWs will it affect the flash memory or will only be installed on the HDD

    1. If you remove the HDD, your system will still boot and run.

      You can store some games on the HDD to save on load time. They will ask you to do this the first time you put them in. I think others, it’s in the menu. Others you can’t at all – it depends on the developer.

      I don’t know anything about custom firmwares flash the system, so I’m guessing whatever the OS sits on. I think it is independent from the HDD.

    1. Doesn’t matter, SATA is backwards compatible though you should just get whatever is cheap. The PS3 itself is limited to SATA I (1.5GB speeds).

      Money is better put towards games. As long as your hard drive is 2.5″ to fit and some sort of SATA.

  6. Hi awsome idea I got my ps3 12g 2weeks ago about the 2.5 hardrive can it be any small one or is it a laptop hdd I’m new @ this and wanna enjoy more games thanks

    1. Any standard 5400rpm 2.5 inch SATA HDD (laptop HDD size) would suffice. If you show your salesman that, they’ll point you in the right way. Good luck!

    1. Yeah, since writing this post nothing much has changed. The PS3 boots itself on at night to do updates and I’ve given it a fair go in the weekends with long bouts of game time. I’m running all the Skyrim DLC off of the hard drive and there’s been no stuttering or any niggles.

  7. Hi. Great advice! Had to cut the case off the hard drive as screws would just not come off and it would fit in with case on. Quick question on guidance on how to stop it flapping around. What would you insulate/support it with? Very wobbly at the moment. Thanks!

    1. I have no insulation or support on mine as its kept stationary in a fixed spot on my desk behind the monitor. I wouldn’t know what to suggest except for anything that doesn’t insulate heat or is flammable. Looking at my desk right now, I would use a bit of electrical tape on one side?

  8. Hello, you do not use the CECH-ZHD1 support for the hard drive.
    As was set the new hard drive?
    I have a Seagate 2.5 “- 5400 simply just turn it formatted in Fat32?
    Since I have no data to save then do a full format system?

    Thank you

    1. Hi there,

      Yes, I didn’t use the hard drive bracket that Sony now provides. It wasn’t available when I did this, at least not in Australia. I didn’t do any prior formatting and the PS3 did that for me on first boot up. It’s an unavoidable thing and will make your 2.5″ 5400rpm spinny disc drive run great.

      Hope that helps and happy gaming,

    2. thanks mann followed your instructions and everything works fine. I used blu-tac to stop it flopping around.

  9. Awesome thread. I copied exactly, however i left the silver case surrounding on the hard drive from the old brick one as well. I just bent the tab slightly to take up the gap and it fit snug as a rug. no movement at all. PS3 works fine and i can now play more than 2 games.

  10. i want to ask you if you can still use the 12gb flash memory after you put your hard drive and does the console let you choose if you want to install a game between the flash memory or the hard drive… and thank you

    1. No, you cannot use the 12gb flash partition after putting in the spinny hard drive. Installing disc games and digital downloads do not give you an option between the two.

  11. So you’ve had all three of the hardware revisions, which would you recommend? My original model PS3 is on the blink (intermittent YLoD) so I’m looking to replace it.

    Would you recommend the slim model (1st revision) or the new 12GB slim (2nd revision)? Is one noisier than the other? It would be used a fair bit for blu-rays.
    If both are less noisy than the original PS3, then ignore that question. I’m not worried about HDD size as I have the 320GB drive from the “fat” PS3 ready to go.


    1. Hey David,

      Thank you for the comment. My weekly average is 0 so I’m a little bit happy with yours.

      I would recommend the super slim, 2nd revision for two reasons. I can’t notice any significant difference with performance or noise except that it is smaller. Also, it is cheaper and that bit of money saved can go a long way with picking up some more blurays.

      They are both less noisy than the original phat with how that likes to go into thermonuclear fan mode after a few hours of gaming.

      I hope that helps and that you replace your dying ps3 soon before it goes and potentially corrupts your hard drive too. I’ve had one yellow light experience and after a while, it just wouldn’t boot taking my game saves with it.

      All the best,

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