Buying a PSP

Mekt-Hakkikt

Mpanty's bane
Hello!

Once again I turn here for help. Since I got EA replay last saturday, I'm now looking for a PSP to buy. Just some minutes ago, I got one on Ebay for 156 €. It's used but I can give it back for a time of two weeks without any justification and it comes with a bill so I can bring it back to a store for another 21 months. So I thought, I would take no risk in buying this one. Oh, and it comes with a new (sealed) 64 MB memory stick.
It has firmware 3.03.

But there are some offers with a Firmware of 1.5, 3.03-OEC or 3,10 something which boast you can use "homebrewed" software. They're often a bit more costly and seldom without a bill to give it back.

Are those "special" Firmware worth the risk of not being able to give it back? As far I understand it, with those I can simply put movies/games/files on a memory card and play it from the card. So, any thoughts? Should I stick with my normal PSP for 156 € or should I try to get one of those?

And last question (for the moment): is a 64 MB memory card enough to save games from WC (EA replay)?

Thanks in advance for any advice.
 

Aplha 1-1

Spaceman
With the custom firmware OEM's you run enough of a risk of permanently screwing your PSP which has kept me away from them.
As for movies they can be run off the memorystick after being converted to the right format (which is why I opted for the 1gig stick in place of a free game when I purchesed my unit) which Sony tells you that you need to fork out $20-ish for the software, but I use a freeware program that does the job much better in my opinion, with no Firmware issues.
http://www.pspvideo9.com/
 

Worf

Vice Admiral
You can't downgrade 3.03 yet, I believe.

But I can say that Dark_Alex's firmware is quite safe - you can validate the DATA.DXAR file that's created on your computer, so it was produced correctly, and you just need to have a charged battery and AC power connected.

As for a 64MB memory stick - if you want to try homebrew, or want fast boot times, you'll need a 2/4/8GB card. (I dump my games to memory stick - runs much faster and makes the PSP actually fun - waiting minutes for a game to load gets old...). But 64MB for savegames only is plenty - you'll probably be able to run through 100 PSP games before you start having to manage them.

And yes, all firmware updates have a good chance of screwing up your PSP - including official Sony updates. If you could install a hacked firmware, do it.
 

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
But there are some offers with a Firmware of 1.5, 3.03-OEC or 3,10 something which boast you can use "homebrewed" software. They're often a bit more costly and seldom without a bill to give it back.
When you first put EA Replay in, it should make you upgrade the firmware before you can play, so just stick with the one you got.

As far I understand it, with those I can simply put movies/games/files on a memory card and play it from the card.
The system is designed to play movies, mp3s, pictures, etc, from a memory card. The firmware version does not matter unless you're trying to run people's home made games.

And last question (for the moment): is a 64 MB memory card enough to save games from WC (EA replay)?
Yes. Wing Commander 1 and the Secret Missions themselves are only a fraction of that size.
 

cff

Kilk'dymga'qith laq Ik'vikvi
It all depends wether you want to exclusively use bought software, or if you also want to run homebrew stuff. This includes emulators, or the stuff like "No Gravity".

If you are content with what Sony offers get whatever is cheapest to you.
If you want to do more you will need a PSP with a firmware that is 2.81 at maximum (IIRC).

Movies or music should work on both, its only applications.

The risk of the hacked PSPs is only at the time of flashing as far as I understand it, so if the PSP is already flashed by the seller you should be safe. In any case flashing seems to be far less risky then claimed on the net provided you wait until the progs are out of beta and download them from reputable sites (there are quite some trojans that just fry your PSP)
 

Mekt-Hakkikt

Mpanty's bane
Thanks guys, you're great.

From what I've read so far, I would have stayed with my original buy, since I don't want to take any risks with the PSP and I don't think I'll get big into homebrew stuff. A pity for "No Gravity" though, I thought it was a regular, buyable game.

But I went to Ebay once again today and I bought another PSP. This one is new, comes with an 1 GB memory stick and firmware 1.5 or 3.10 OE-A (it seems I can choose). And I can give it back for two weeks, as the other one. Of course, it was a bit more pricey: 182,54 €.

And I can't really decide. The second one is new, instead of three months old. It has 1GB of memory instead of 64MB (but I only need more if I want homebrew stuff) and it has homebrew-able Firmware (which I don't fancy but if it's only an added bonus, why not), for less than 30 € more. I think, if the second one is not "flashed" thus the Sony guarantee is still valid, I'll get the second one. I like having a new PSP.
But still, advice is always gladly taken.

Though there is still one question:

When you first put EA Replay in, it should make you upgrade the firmware before you can play, so just stick with the one you got.
Does that mean a PSP with a Firmware of 1.5 or 3.10 OE-A is useless because I'll get another one anyway with EA Replay? Or can I circumvent that upgrade without harm?

Thanks again for the given and any future help.
 

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
I think, if the second one is not "flashed" thus the Sony guarantee is still valid, I'll get the second one.
Anything that would let you switch back to an earlier firmware revision in order to play home made games has a voided Sony warranty. The point of having two firmwares is to trick the software against Sony's wishes in order to play home made stuff. So the second system isn't necessarily any newer than the other one you got. Someone has taken it out of the box and used it in order to modify it at the very least.

Does that mean a PSP with a Firmware of 1.5 or 3.10 OE-A is useless because I'll get another one anyway with EA Replay? Or can I circumvent that upgrade without harm?
The whole point of the 1.5/3.1 trick is to avoid having to have the game upgrade you. EA Replay will run on it. If you conside having PSP modding community hacks on your system "harm" though, then anything that circumvents a retail game's upgrade is "harmful."
 

Ijuin

Admiral
If you have the money, I would reccommend getting two PSPs--one with the latest firmware for retail games, and one for homebrew/experimenting with.
 

cff

Kilk'dymga'qith laq Ik'vikvi
Unnecessary. You can emulate any firmware you want on a homebrew enabled system. My PSP runs on 2.81 natively and emulates 1.50 and 3.01 as I need them through HEN-D.
You only have to watch out that you don't install any firmware that comes with a game by accident.
 

Mekt-Hakkikt

Mpanty's bane
OK, I am feeling more and more ignorant about the matter.

I thought that the Firmwares as 1.5 or 3.10 OE-A are completely official Firmwares and that there exist PSP that come with those, maybe rarer or older and that the second PSP I bought is one of those models.
I understood that only downgrading to another firmware lets you lose the warranty.

Just to be clear: even I keep the second one and install accidentally another Firmware through EA Replay - what would be the consequences? If it only means I lose the possibility to use homebrewn stuff, that's OK with me.

I am very thankful for your patience and help!

Oh, and I am certainly not in the position to afford both PSPs. Wish I were, but no. ;)
 

Dumpshock

Captain
It is possible to downgrade anything below a 3.03 Firmware now, but to downgrade 3.03, you need an Original copy of GTA:LCS, which can most likely be found at a local Used games store, or your local movie rental place.

The custom firmwares are useful for running the homebrew applications obviously, and as well, unlock many of the features that are on the PSP as well such as running PSX games, and emulating older, SNES, Genesis, etc, on the PSP without the need for a PS3. The latest I believe is 3.10 OE-A. These OE FW's have become the successors to practically all other older methods such as HEN and 1.5FW hacks.

There is still a 'slight' chance of bricking, but the risk has been rather dramatically reduced in the past few months. And as far as 'accidentally' installing a firmware over a CustomFirmware, I believe that there are measures in place to disallow that. I personally have my AutoUpdate features turned off, and as well, my EA Replay see's my Custom firmware, which is just a modified Original firmware, as Official, and does not prompt for update.

Put simply, the only risk you could run into is a possible brick, but the risk of that is extremely low. If I were to hazard a guess, maybe 1-2% of Downgrades result in a brick, and that usually is from Not following the instructions.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
I thought that the Firmwares as 1.5 or 3.10 OE-A are completely official Firmwares and that there exist PSP that come with those, maybe rarer or older and that the second PSP I bought is one of those models.

They're both "official" Firmwares, but the system itself has been hacked to allow you to use them both at once.

The older Firmware has various holes in it, allowing people to install their homebrew software. The updated firmware (required by newer games) closes these holes. The system you're looking at has been modified so that it can load both of them... the old one to run homemade stuff, the new one to run official software.

Which is to say, its warranty has already been voided.
 

Worf

Vice Admiral
Actually, only firmware 1.5 is an official release. Firmware 2.01SE, 3.02 OE-A/B/C, 3.03 OE-A are unofficial releases done by a third party (NOT Sony).

They are distributed as patches - you need two official firmware files (1.50 and 3.03), and the program the guy wrote that extracts the necessary data from both firmware files, and patches them into a new file. You then flash that new file onto the PSP. It's pretty simple, and others often distribute the resulting combined firmware files. But the OE and 2.01SE ones are not Sony's - they're based on Sony's firmware, but they've been modified.

The OE firmware will skip all upgrade firmware on the cards - even if a newer game came out and the firmware update is on the disc, the firmware simply won't run it.

Anyhow, the nice thing with the OE series is the ability to play Playstation games on it (PSOne/PSX) - yes, I can play Final Fantasy 7 before Sony actually releases it on the Playstation Network (PS3 required).

It's fairly nice, if you get a PSP that can run it. I like to dump my games to memory stick so I can carry lots of them without carrying the discs. (They also load MUCH faster - easily anywhere from 2x - 10x faster).
 

Mekt-Hakkikt

Mpanty's bane
Crap, I should have informed myself better before buying - but the auction was nearing its end and it seemed like a good buy.
When I read "Firmware 1.5 or 3.10 OE-A" in the article description, I thought they had multiple PSPs in stock and I could choose which one I wanted to have shipped to me not that they were hacked and have both firmwares installed.

I am still undecided but I leaning more toward the first buy. I don't want to take any risks, seeing how ignorant I am with those matters and it costs less. Yes, I am a sissy. :)
I just hope the guy won't make any troubles when I want to give it back.

(Problem is, there is a hick with the "give-back-right" with the second one because it reads: "PSP that have been specifically flashed for the customer (1.5) can't be given back because the warranty has been lost." I thought that wouldn't apply to me since I didn't and wouldn't ask to have the PSP flashed for me specifically. Well, I didn't study law for nothing I hope, so maybe I have some tricks up my sleeve. Though if he's being stubborn, I guess I'll take my chances with the flashed one. It's not worth a long hassle. )

EDIT: One more thing: you talk about the risk of "flashing". Now it seems that the second PSP I bought already has been flashed and if it works, I have no risk, have I? Because I certainly do not intent to do any flashing by myself later. I just want to put PSP games in it and play them.
 

cff

Kilk'dymga'qith laq Ik'vikvi
I think that there is a theoretical risk that a hacked firmware might kill your PSP later on if they did something extremely wrong. I don't think I red of a single person encountering this however.
But then I am pretty much a ~~~~ here myself - I just follow intructions and paranoid as I am even crosscheck them at various sources to be sure. Worf might be better informed.


PS: In any case EVERY software you run on your PSP (especially homebrew) is capable of killing the device if it writes to the flash. Thats why there are Trojan checkers out there that verify that the app doesn't do anything potentially nasty. (obviously offical Sony firmware updates fail that test as well)
 

Dumpshock

Captain
Yea, the only risk that you run of bricking your PSP is if you write to the flash, and with the OE FW, it has a recovery tool built in, something the original FW doesn't have. The OE FW carries all of the positives of both worlds. You get all the features of the standard FW and those of the homebrew scene as well.

Personally, my suggestion would be for you to go and get the Homebrew version. It may not include the warranty, but it will provide you with far more playability than a standard FW as your options open up quite dramatically. If you ever find yourself wanting to get rid of the PSP, you can always just resell it on eBay.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Lets get something clear -- when we talk about homebrew applications, exactly what are we talking about? Some neat original software... or a method for playing pirated games?

The video game community at large is remarkably good at mixing its metaphors when such issues are involved...
 

Ijuin

Admiral
Homebrew in this context refers to running emulators for other consoles (SNES, PSOne, N64, etc.) on a PSP, allowing "portable versions" of games that were released for set-top consoles.
 

Worf

Vice Admiral
Homebrew has always referred to unauthorized development of programs for consoles (where authorized development means with full blessing of console manufacturer - i.e., Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony). These programs may be applications or games (usually latter), and games can be ports of existing apps or original designs.

The only "issue" is that allowing homebrew often allows pirated games, or more correctly, bypassing protections on games (since to run homebrew, you have to bypass the protection in the first place).

However, with these homebrew firmware, you can "dump" games from UMD to a memory stick (which I do), simply because UMD is a crappy technology and honestly hinders the PSP by having excessively long load screens. There are a few games that actually are optimized, but the vast majority you'll find spend a good 2 minutes just selecting the game to actually getting to the menu that says "Press Start to continue". (It is technically piracy since you're copying a UMD to memory strick, but if you rip a DVD to your PSP, that's technically illegal as well). Playing from a memory stick makes the experience so much better - your load times can drop to mere 10-30 seconds.

There's a video out there ( http://www.joystiq.com/2006/02/24/load-time-from-hell-psp-game-takes-its-sweet-time/ ) showing a game taking six minutes (!) to load from the XMB to when you're actually playing.

Of course, in no way should you share your ripped games with others. And likewise, you should not download game rips. Download homebrew, emulators, etc., that's fine (but not roms (and technically, dumping a ROM to anything but a ROM chip is illegal unless you can prove you needed it for compatibility purposes)).

I prefer the DS because of its "instant" load times, and until people made playing a PSP tolerable, mine collected dust - watching load screens suck, horribly. Cutting load times down by at least 2x-10x. A convenience is not having to fumble with piles of UMDs on the bus. I also enjoy playing my PSX/PSOne games on my PSP (like I said, Final Fantasy 7 rocks. And the PSP plays it way better than any emulator I've tried - epsxe comes close, but the PSP's is almost perfect, right down to the memory card. Or practising DDR moves.). Legality of it is questionable, since you're only supposed to be playing PSOne games you bought from the Playstation Network, and not ones you made yourself...

BTW - if you can, get a PSP running 3.03OE-A. It can run all homebrew around, and you don't have to worry about upgrading it because that's the latest "open edition" firmware. But like I said, stay legal and buy your games, dump them yourself, and don't share.
 

Dumpshock

Captain
Actually, the latest OE FW is 3.10 OE-A, as for the 3.03 OE series, 3.03 OE-C is the latest.
The majority of the homebrew community still seems to prefer 3.03 OE-C however as 3.10 OE-A didnt really add a whole lot and actually hindered XMB customization of the topmenu_plugin.rco in flash. The 3.10 OE-A mainly added more support for PSX game emulation.
 
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