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PS3 Firmware 2.80 Secret Discovered

Well, it took a while, but we can all finally say, "ah-HA! Found it!"

When PlayStation 3 firmware update 2.80 became available, there was more to it than just the standard description: "The playback quality of some PlayStation 3 format software has been improved." We had heard there was one specific feature the update provided that wouldn't become clear until a later date, and everyone seemed to have their own theory. A few sources even stumbled upon minor changes, like PS3Attitude finding an increased character limit during chat, and TheSixthAxis saying the update was needed for the console's music video application, VidZone. But we needed a developer to tell us the big secret: according to GameZine, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves producer Sam Thompson exposed the truth during an interview at this year's Comic-Con event in San Diego. And that secret is...more RAM:

"Naughty Dog is constantly working to improve every aspect of the gameplay; be it animation, lighting, sound, texture fidelity. You know if you look at the game itself with the 2.80 engine update, you know we're adding more memory, so we get a lot more utilisation of the SPUs so we increase our optimisation of the Cell processor as well. So we've got from the engineering side all the way up to texture fidelity, artists adding in even more...I mean there's really not a singular aspect that's not been improved in the game."

Obviously, something came about during the 2.80 engine update that allowed the team to "add more memory," and as GameZine points out, "a reduced OS memory footprint is a common inclusion with PS3 updates." For our part, we're hoping this is the end of the 2.80 rumor mill, and it's interesting to see how Sony is helping developers. Still, we don't understand why they didn't just tell us this when the update released. Well, whatever.

7/27/2009 Ben Dutka

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Comments (38 posts)

fluffer nutter
Monday, July 27, 2009 @ 10:37:53 AM
Reply

So, essentially they're stating that the footprint of the OS, contained in the RAM, is smaller, huh? Interesting. Now I need to go remind myself just how much RAM is in the system. Was it 256MB?

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Kevadu
Monday, July 27, 2009 @ 11:06:49 AM

256 megs of main memory and another 256 megs of video memory.

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whooka
Monday, July 27, 2009 @ 10:59:47 AM
Reply

bah, Sony just put one of these in the firmware update, from the old DOS days..

DEVICE=C:\DOS\HIMEM.SYS /TESTMEM:OFF
DEVICE=C:\DOS\EMM386.EXE RAM MIN=32768 X=B000-B7FF D=64
DEVICEHIGH=C:\DOS\CDROM.SYS /D:MSCD000
DEVICEHIGH=C:\DOS\ANSI.SYS
LASTDRIVE=G
DOS=HIGH,UMB

;-//

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Ogibillm
Monday, July 27, 2009 @ 11:12:17 AM

now that's old school. it was crap like that that changed me to a console gamer permanently. nothing worse than coming home with a new game that your system could *technically* run only to spend an hour or so tweaking autexec.bat and config.sys so you could actually run the damn thing. it was just the way things were... and then the playstation came and all was well.

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Tim Speed24
Monday, July 27, 2009 @ 11:20:21 AM

Amen.

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Highlander
Monday, July 27, 2009 @ 11:52:05 AM

LOL, well that gained you a few KB at least...BTW, never quote DOS commands again if you want to live. I saw those commands and had flashbacks, bad flashbacks, of PC support during the pre-windows days...

If you'll excuse me, I must go and read a chapter in Kernighan/Ritchie to cleanse my mental palette.

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Nynja
Monday, July 27, 2009 @ 12:07:14 PM

< cringes > Ahh memories...

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Alienange
Monday, July 27, 2009 @ 3:51:57 PM

autoexec.bat and config.sys ... snappin' crap man! How can you bring that up?! I'm going to have nightmares for weeks now!

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, July 27, 2009 @ 5:19:26 PM

The tricatillamania is setting in again...

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Scarecrow
Monday, July 27, 2009 @ 9:40:48 PM

I've been a console gamer all my life. So thankfully I'm not familiar with those commands

But yeeeeh, consoles are v-game's HOME, and rightly so.

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Gregory Freeman
Tuesday, July 28, 2009 @ 1:45:55 AM

Before my time...

well, not really... i was only 2 when ps1 came out... but its close :P

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Qubex
Monday, July 27, 2009 @ 11:31:05 AM
Reply

Its the only problem the PS3 really has... limited memory... if the beast had come with a gig, or was expandable... there would be many happy years to come...

Q!

"i am home"

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fluffer nutter
Monday, July 27, 2009 @ 11:42:07 AM

http://talkplaystation.com/ps3s-ram-and-rsx-explained/

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Highlander
Monday, July 27, 2009 @ 12:08:25 PM
Reply

Well there's only so much that they can do since there is a physical limit of 256MB of XDR System RAM in the box. The PS3's OS used to take up a considerable number of MB even when a game is running.

For Naughty Dog to say "with the 2.80 engine update, you know we're adding more memory, so we get a lot more utilisation of the SPUs so we increase our optimisation of the Cell processor as well.", it has to be more than a marginal shrink of the OS footprint. I wonder if they re-structured the OS to have more running from the ROM, or perhaps making far more aggressive use of paging the OS to disk?

Perhaps Sony found a way to shunt some of the resident OS into the video memory, much like the DOS=HIGH and deviceHIGH commands that 'Whooka' mentioned above used to do with DOS. Those commands used to let you make use of the memory above the 640KB limit that DOS and PCs had. PCs started coming with 1MB of physical RAM, leaving 384KB of the 1MB spare. That RAM was used to cache the ROMs for the various devices in a computer. However most PCs still had considerable free space that you could use. So DOS could use some of that 'HIGH' memory, and could load some device drivers there too, leaving as much of the main 640KB system memory available as possible. The PS3 has 256MB of video memory, if a game rendering at 720p did not use all that memory it would effectively go to waste.

I just feel like it has to be something significant to result in "a lot more utilisation of the SPUs".

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kevyd09
Monday, July 27, 2009 @ 12:58:43 PM

i have read this 3 times and i still dont understand it!! think ill go back to the plastic thing on the wall i found... when i press it 1 side the light goes on!! then i press it again it goes off!!! its some sorta magic i tell you!!!:P

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Highlander
Monday, July 27, 2009 @ 1:11:20 PM

@kev

I'm an un-recovered geek afflicted with geek memory, so I remember trivial tech detail. It's a curse.

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kevyd09
Monday, July 27, 2009 @ 3:21:28 PM

its not a curse its a blessing mate i wish i was more technical knowlageable!!
i hope u dont think i was trying to mock you because i wasnt!

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Highlander
Monday, July 27, 2009 @ 4:53:46 PM

No problem Kev, no worries.

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Strker777
Monday, July 27, 2009 @ 2:22:26 PM
Reply

What the hell, "DEVICEHIGH=C:\DOS\CDROM.SYS /D:MSCD000"????????
that not correct the clue is /CDROM.Sys/ is only for Cpu memory unless I'm missing something? Dos is not supposed to be added to sony system because its an M$ system I thougt PS3 ran on Linix Op sys. Someone Please correct me if I'm wrong? Might haved missed something! Highlander? I'm very confused!!!

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dveisalive
Monday, July 27, 2009 @ 3:55:24 PM
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Well if you ask me the PS3 really has 512 mb of total ram. Sony needs to update to were you can use the XDR with the GDR3 ram. What was the point of Sony shipping the PS3 with the Nvidia RSX when cell can emulate it and is more powerful.

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Highlander
Monday, July 27, 2009 @ 4:45:53 PM

Can't happen, the memory is partitioned at the hardware level.

There are advantages and disadvantages to having the memory partitioned the way it is. There is no real inherent advantage to a unified memory architecture, because you still have to segment the memory between video and application. It's just a soft partition instead of the hardware architecture.

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Kangasfwa
Monday, July 27, 2009 @ 4:08:40 PM
Reply

I'm not a tech guy, so the only way I understand how more memory could be added would be to unlock the last cell (or whatever it is). Why is the last cell locked anyway?

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Highlander
Monday, July 27, 2009 @ 4:52:52 PM

The Cell has 8 SPUs, but the PS3 chips only have 7 of them activated. This was done because during early manufacture the yield rate of 100% perfect chips was low, everyone knew it would be low, it's always low for a new chip, especially a large one like the Cell. However because a few flaws on the chip here and there might only render one of the SPUs inoperative, leaving the rest of the chip in a 100% working condition. IBM designed the CPU so that after manufacture it could reconfigure itself depending on what units were completely functional. If an SPU wasn't working right, there are special fuses on the chip itself that are blown to turn that element off permanently leaving a fully healthy Cell CPU with seven SPUs. By doing this the number of good CPUs that were produced was increased resulting in cheaper chips, and better production yields.

Even if every Cell produced now is 100% healthy, an unknown number of earlier chips only have seven working SPUs so you can't just switch on number 8, since many PS3s don't have a working number 8 to use.

Even so, turning on the 8th SPU would only give an additional 256KB of local store, that is only available to the SPU it's attached to. So somehow turning on the spare SPUs wouldn't help increase the memory available.

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Highlander
Monday, July 27, 2009 @ 4:42:47 PM
Reply

Whooka was just throwing out some old DOS commands from the days when PCs could only effectively use 640KB of RAM and there were a few tricks to use some additional memory that newer(at the time) PCs had. The idea being that perhaps Sony could use some similar tricks to change the way that the firmware runs and which memory it uses to free up some system memory for games to use.

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whooka
Monday, July 27, 2009 @ 8:56:08 PM

exactly. i was trying to be funny as well as i'm sure 'adding memory' via a firmware update is alot more complicated then a few lines of dos (or equiv) code. the dos days weren't that bad, you had alot of control over your PC and you actually learned alot of stuff still useful today messing with autoexec and config to get games to run. and i'd guess i'm not the only one out there who's first IT job was repeating these dos commands to people over the phone to help them get the games to work. now that part WAS hell (no remote assist type stuff back in those days)..'type c, colon, back slash, sir', 'no, c COLON', 'no, the backslash is the one that goes the other way', 'the colon is the one that looks like two periods, sir', etc, etc. 'ok, now type mem', 'ack, you still need two more bytes free to get this game to run!!'

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Highlander
Monday, July 27, 2009 @ 10:43:23 PM

I always loved the constant exchange;

Me: Alright, not press the return key and type...
User: wheres that then?
Me: What?
User: The return key, I don't see one.
Me(rolling eyes): It's the same as the enter key.
User: OK, which one?
Me: Either!
User: Numlock is on, does that make a difference?
Me: No, please press the retu....enter key and type format c: /s

Almost as good as folks looking for the 'any' key, which I have experienced, it's not just an urban myth.

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Strker777
Monday, July 27, 2009 @ 5:54:12 PM
Reply

Thnx for clearing that up Highlander!:)

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Strker777
Monday, July 27, 2009 @ 6:01:19 PM
Reply

I just assumed tht since linux doesn't run DOS programs that the ps3 won't run it unless they were secretly working with M$! No wonder anyway thnx again! U have my enternal gratitude with ur brilliance posts!XD

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Scarecrow
Monday, July 27, 2009 @ 9:41:36 PM
Reply

Sounds cool

Uncharted 2 looks amazing! If this update allowed that, then HELL YEAH! 2.80 for the win!

Imagine 3.00 :E

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___________
Tuesday, July 28, 2009 @ 6:08:41 AM
Reply

now lets hope in the next update or by the end of the year sony will FINALLY incorporate all the features the 360 had on launch.
every day i use my 360 i find a new feature i dident know existed and wished the ps3 had it.

like being able to have the console on standby while charging controllers.

console on standby while downloading files.
thats a massive help i can leave demos on overnight instead of waiting hours druing the day.

much much much faster downloads, i downloaded the ninja blade demo 600MB if memory serves me in 25 minutes.
the latest firmeware update took 2 and a bit hours and it was 1/3rd the size.

the 360 works much much much better on slower internet.
now that my service has been throttled since i went over my limit.
i turn on my 360 and boom im on live.
i turn my ps3 on.
please wait connecting to the PSN
please wait connecting to the PSN
10 minutes later.
connection to the PSN timed out.
rince and repeat i was at it for over a hour today than said stuff it.
now i see why you have to pay for XBL.
sony update your bloody servers, if we have to pay for PSN so be it.
im sick of this bloody dead slow internet its driving me insane.
and they expect me to get a PSP go for this?
imagine how long i will be waiting for GT PSP.

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Highlander
Tuesday, July 28, 2009 @ 10:48:21 AM

Sorry, I don't believe you when you say "every day i use my 360 i find a new feature i dident know existed and wished the ps3 had it". Other than the cross game chat feature, there are just not many 'features' that the 360 has that the PS3 hasn't got. I'm not going to get into a comparison match feature for feature, but I think you're wrong, and vastly overstating the features of an Xbox360.

Your console is not in standby while downloading something from the net, it's still active and shuts down after the download is complete. There is simply no other way to do that. PS3 can do the same, you can configure it to shut down after a set period of time, and configure it not to auto-shutdown while doing certain things.

Your bad network performance with your PS3 is not Sony's fault, it's the configuration of your router. I bet your PS3 reports that the NAT type is type 3. I have no trouble with getting signed into PSN, I don't get kicked out after 10 minutes, nor do firmware updates take a couple of hours to download. However those symptoms are consistent with a bad router configuration. Choosing to blame Sony right off the bat, leaves me wondering whether your motives are entirely honest.

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___________
Tuesday, July 28, 2009 @ 6:22:32 AM
Reply

as for the ram.
wouldent creating a buffer help free up some of the ram, since you can use a small portion of your HDD as if it was RAM?
i dont understand what sony did with the PS3.
they went all out with BD and cell than totally cheeped out with ram and VDU could of been better.
rams very important, my rig has 6GB DDR3 ram and crysis by itself nothing else running at max is using 60%.
sony should of put minumum 2GB.
DDR3 ram is dead cheap and faster at 1333Mhz.
i dont see why XDR would be any different.
dam programming is hard, im totally dreading IAUC, thats going to be hell.

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Highlander
Tuesday, July 28, 2009 @ 10:39:37 AM

'buffering' RAM contents to HDD is otherwise known as virtual memory. The trouble with it is that hard discs are several orders of magnitude slower than even slow RAM. So there is a performance hit. In addition you have the processor overhead of managing the paging scheme to swap memory in and out from disc. It's too slow for practical use in a game console.

What Sony did with the PS3 is build a system with 256MB of dedicated video memory and 256MB of system memory. The system memory is XDR RAM and runs at more or less the CPU's clock speed resulting in faster transfers and lower latency. Sony didn't cheap out for the memory, they put the fastest class of memory available (and expensive too) into the system for maximum performance. As for the GPU, RSX is more than a GPU, portions of it handle the audio and it's also the memory controller. RSX is part GPU and part chipset. As far as it's GPU capabilities are concerned, it's more than adequate for the purpose. Compared to a current GPU from either nVidia or ATI it's not that great, but then again no three year old GPU is.

There is very little point comparing a 6GB DDR3 configuration with the memory architecture of a PS3, the two are so different that it renders the comparison irrelevant. Incidentally the bandwidth between the Cell CPU and the XDR memory is 25GB/second, even DDR3-1600 (the best around) currently tops out at 12.8GB/second, more or less half that of XDR.

The thing is you can't directly compare the architecture and performance of a PS3 and a PC, they are too different.

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___________
Wednesday, July 29, 2009 @ 5:29:36 AM
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its not 3 its type 2.
ive forwarded all the ports sony gave me,put the ps3 in a DMZ if it still does not want to work properly thats not my fault.
not to mention i cant access PSN ATM because it keeps timing out.
not to mention im constantly being signed out with a 8002AD23 error code every 20 minutes or so, check google theres hundreds of posts with people having the same problem when i ring sony they act dumb "ahhhhh we dunno what it is" i ask them what the error code is referring to and they reply no idea. thats a real help if they dont know what the error code is how the ..... am i suppose to fix it
never ever had any networking problems with the 360.
im using my net now with my laptop its slow because ive gone over my download limit but i can accsess any website i want.
even if i disconnect all comps from the net so the PS3 has full bandwidth it STILL times out.
if my laptop can use the net, my PC, my mums PC, my dads laptop, my 360, my iphone why not the ps3.
as for downloading my ps3 makes a racket while downloading i cant sleep all though i guess moving it to a different room while downloading would solve that.
but than i dont want it running to long im scared it will YLOD on me and my warranty is long gone.
i can leave my 360 on and its whisper quiet just like it is while charging a controller.
2 verry simple features but make a massive difference.
i want the PSN to be better because i download all my demos and such for the ps3, i only buy exclusives for the 360 but if the PSN does not improve dramatically i may be forced to change that.
as for the RAM.
its not the speed thats the problem its the ammount, adding a extra 512MB would of worked wonders.
512MB just sounds pissy compare to todays standards.
as crytek said the main factor of why crysis would not work on consoles is the amount of ram, its intriguing and i often wonder what we could be seeing if the ps3 did have 1GB of memory.

Last edited by ___________ on 7/29/2009 5:41:29 AM

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Highlander
Wednesday, July 29, 2009 @ 12:57:12 PM

100% agreed on the amount of memory. It should've been 1GB total, or at least half a gig of system and a quarter gig of video. Too late now though...

On your network thing, Your connection speed and trouble isn't typical. I think that if your networking issues were solved, you'd find things are far better than you think regarding PSN and PS3 online. Is your PS3 using wireless?

When your bandwidth cap resets next month, use the PS3 browser and go to somehwere like DSLReports.com and run some of their tests. They have web based utilities that can diagnose connection problems as well as let you test your actual bandwidth. At least that way you'd be able to see whether there are problems with your configuration, one way or another it should give you more information to use when talking to Sony's customer service, or your ISP.

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___________
Thursday, July 30, 2009 @ 8:06:49 AM
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yes i normaly use wireless i allways monitor the signal strength to make shure its not to low, and its never dropped below 80%.
99% of the time i get that error code im using wireless but i have had it with wired to.
i remember when i was downloading the KZ2 demo i started with wireless it timed out twice so i connected a cable it solved the timing out problems but still took a very long time.
im wondering if a new router will help not fix but improve the problem i want to get a Dlink DGL-4500 but there impossible to find here.
next month ill try those tests see if that helps.
otherwise i may have to give in and pay the 100 or whatever it was to get sony to look into it.
thanks for the advice.

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fluffer nutter
Friday, July 31, 2009 @ 11:02:53 AM

I have that router. Got it for $30 at Best Buy on clearance because they stopped carrying D-Link. It's awesome. I've got so many devices connected on my network and nothing ever drops. Just wanted to let you know that it is a quality piece of equipment.

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___________
Saturday, August 01, 2009 @ 9:46:17 AM
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thx its bloody hard to find here.
and off ebay its 400 bucks.

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