How to Upgrade the PS3 Hard Drive to Create More Space for Games

Download more digital content by adding storage to your PlayStation 3

PS3 Console

SCEA

The Sony PlayStation 3 has a finite amount storage space, which means there's a limit to how much digital content you can download. Fortunately, it's possible to upgrade your PS3 hard drive so that it can hold more games, movies, and other media.

Instructions and pictures in this article refer to the original model of the Sony PS3, but the process for upgrading new consoles is similar.

What Do You Need to Upgrade a PS3 Hard Drive?

You will need the following tools to upgrade your PS3 hard drive:

The console firmware sets the read-write access speed to the hard drive, so it is recommended to replace the PS3 hard drive with a similar SATA laptop hard drive that has more capacity than your current PS3 hard drive (such as a 160 GB Maxtor). The PS3's original hard drive is a 20-60 GB SATA laptop hard drive rated at 5400 RPM, so a similar speed replacement is recommended.

How to Upgrade the PS3 Hard Drive

Upgrading PlayStation console hardware will void the warranty, so do so at your own risk.

  1. Connect a USB hard drive to the PS3 to back up content. The PS3 system software will automatically recognize the external USB hard drive, allowing you to copy contents from the PS3 to the external hard drive.

    Connect a USB hard drive to the PS3 to back up content.
    Jason Rybka
  2. Copy the old PS3 contents to the USB drive. Locate the media you would like to back up on your PS3 and copy it to the USB hard drive. The console settings, online IDs and so forth are retained in the PS3's flash memory, so there is no need to copy this content. Be sure to move any game content, such as game saves and game demos, as well as any other media, such as pictures, video, movies, and trailers.

    Copy the old PS3 contents to the USB drive.
    Jason Rybka
  3. Power down the PS3 console and remove all cables. It is important that you disconnect all cables from the PS3 including HDMI cables, controller cables, and especially the power cable. Failure to do so may result in electrocution and/or damage to your PS3 unit.

  4. Remove the PS3 HDD cover. Move the PS3 console onto its side as shown in the picture below. There is an HDD sticker on the one side; this side should be facing up. Remove the plastic HDD cover plate next to the sticker using a flat tip screwdriver or your finger nail to pry it up and off.

    Remove the PS3 HDD cover.
    Jason Rybka
  5. Loosen the HDD tray screw. Once the cover plate has been removed, you will see the hard drive carriage secured by one screw. Use a Phillips screwdriver to remove this screw, which will allow the old hard drive to slide out from the unit.

    Loosen the HDD tray screw.
    Jason Rybka
  6. Slide the PS3 HDD tray out. Gently tug on the hard drive tray and pull straight up to remove it from the PS3 shell.

    Gently tug on the hard drive tray and pull straight up to remove it from the PS3 shell.
    Jason Rybka
  7. Remove and replace your PS3 hard drive. Remove the four screws in the tray that secure the hard drive using a ​Phillips screwdriver and replace the hard drive with the new one. Be sure to secure the new hard drive in the exact position the old hard drive was on the tray.

    Only use a SATA laptop hard drive to upgrade your PlayStation 3.

    Remove the four screws in the tray that secure the hard drive using a ​Phillips screwdriver and replace the hard drive with the new one.
    Jason Rybka
  8. Secure the new hard drive and reattach the cover plate. Slide the tray back into its original location. Gently move the hard drive into the slot, and when you reach the end, use a firm press to ensure the connections are made properly. With the new hard drive securely in place, secure the single screw to the tray and place the HDD cover plate back on the side of the PS3.

    Never force or use a large amount of pressure when opening cases or installing new hardware. The new hard drive should easily slide into place.

    Secure the new hard drive and reattach the cover plate.
    Jason Rybka
  9. Format the new PS3 hard drive. Reconnect all cables and turn on the console. The PS3 will recognize that the hard drive you just installed will need to be formatted. Select Yes to proceed.

    Select Yes to format the new PS3 hard drive.
    Jason Rybka
  10. Move your content back to the PS3. Hook up the USB hard drive and move the content you copied earlier from your old hard drive. Once finished, you'll still have room for plenty of new digital media.

Keep the original PS3 hard drive in a safe place in case anything goes wrong with your console.