One of the coolest things about Sony’s PlayStation 3 is the fact that it’s probably the most open of all the current-gen systems. Unlike the 360 which uses a proprietary-formatted HDD and the Wii, which doesn’t have a HDD at all, the PS3 allows you to easily replace the system’s hard drive with a bigger, faster one using standard, off-the-shelf PC parts (a good thing, with all those blasted installs).
The technically proficient folks over at Digital Foundry did just that, replacing the standard drive with some of the newer, more mature Solid State drives – and found that game performance increased.
In previous tests of this nature, Digital Foundry found the performance gains to be slight to non-existent – but the new breed of SSD’s bring with them some quantifiable performance gains – particularly games that utilise mega textures.
iD’s Rage saw many instances of texture quality decreasing, with various pop-ups all caused by a slow-down in texture streaming rates – but those instances were significantly reduced with the installation of faster SSD, something that was apparent in Brink as well. Even a pre-patched Skyrim saw most of its lag issues resolved with a faster HDD. Digital Foundry notes that performance has improved on regular drives with the newest patch.
Not all games see similar improvements; Battlefield 3, Assassin’s Creed Revelations didn’t see much in the way of improvement, although all games saw shorter load times.
There are pros and cons to upgrading to a SSD on your PS3, and it’s obviously quite an expensive endeavour – but if you need to upgrade your drive anyway, a SSD is probably the way to go. On the one hand, it is very cool that a simple upgrade can give a console a bit of a boost, but on the other it all starts becoming too much like a PC, detracting from the simple plug-and-play console experience.
Last Updated: February 20, 2012