14 February 2014

How old is my PS3, really?

Here's the deal: I finally got myself a PS3! That sure took a while, but they've just been to expensive and most of the games I'd play on it were also available on PC (God bless Steam, its games and the sales they have!). But this time I had a great offer, one of those too-good-to-refuse deals: an 80GB second generation PS3 with 2 wireless controllers, a HDMI cable (those tend to be kinda expensive if they are branded and this one is made by Microsoft) and FIFA 2010 which I am probably never going to play and finally, "some random papers, probably manuals... in a wrap" (I will get back to this at the end). All that for 100 Euros. Cute, eh?

I took it home, plugged it in, had a little trouble with HDMI that was set for full HD while I only had a HD-ready TV screen. Fixed that, then had some minor trouble navigating the menus since it was all in Danish language but I figured it out. After 30 minutes or so, I made a factory reset, signed into PSN with my brand new username and voila - I am a proud owner of a PlayStation 3. But one thing was still bugging me - how much was it used before I took it in and is it in danger of a dreaded YLOD (Yellow Light of Death)?

I used Google to find out if there is a way to read some kind of log from PS3, to find out how long it has been on. But no, nothing. Those people who had the same idea and asked such question on internet were told that there is no way to find that out.

There is.

PS3 has a hard disk. Hard disk has a S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology) tech in it and one of its reports covers the power-on time. So, I removed the HD from PS3, connected it to my PC and powered it on. I used a software called Hard Disk Sentinel to find out what I needed. It reported 140 days and 1 hour. Voila, now I know how much my "new" PS3 has been used before it got to me.

Power on time report by Hard Disk Sentinel

(The timer on the screenshot is from another Hard Drive, not the one used in PS3)

Hard Disk Sentinel is just one of the possible solutions. There's another (Japanese and free) S.M.A.R.T. reader software called Crystal Disk Info that can do the same thing.

Of course, this report is useful ONLY if you are 100% sure that this is the original hard drive used in the console since it was made. The same technique can be used on Xbox 360, PS4 and any other console that uses hard drives, whether they are HDD or SSD.

Oh, and that wrap filled with random manuals and whatever? It was actually a special edition of The Last of Us. The guy who sold me PS3 had no idea it was there :)

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