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Hardware Hacking PlayStation (Games) Games Build

Ben Heck's PS3 Slim Laptop 84

Posted by Soulskill
from the making-small-bigger dept.
We've occasionally discussed Ben Heckendorn's various console modifications, and he's now come out with a new one: a laptop version of the PS3 Slim. It has volume control buttons for the built-in speakers, and plenty of vents for cooling. The display is a 17" widescreen panel, and the Slim's hardware doesn't fill that much space in the case, so there's a neat little compartment for the power cord. Ben's blog post shows details of the laptop's construction.
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Ben Heck's PS3 Slim Laptop

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  • by Anubis IV (1279820) on Friday October 02, 2009 @05:22AM (#29614869)
    Not really a "laptop" in the sense that we're used to thinking, but still a very interesting modification.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by CarpetShark (865376)

      Yeah, it's bulky, and it lacks a keyboard, and seemingly a battery, so it's no wonder there's space to randomly throw the cable in. Still nice, but not really an improvement to throwing a PS3 in a bag and plugging it in at your destination.

      • by fbjon (692006)
        Plugging in to what, though? Having the screen combined still seems like a win to me.
        • Why? Most homes would have a larger screen available, with better placement for viewing than a laptop would provide. Most offices or other commercial places/organisations wouldn't let you plug in a console, pull out a controller and start gaming, even if the console did have a laptop format. Don't get me wrong, it's a neat project, but I'm just saying it's not very practical.

          • by ArcherB (796902) on Friday October 02, 2009 @09:14AM (#29615763) Journal

            Why? Most homes would have a larger screen available, with better placement for viewing than a laptop would provide. Most offices or other commercial places/organisations wouldn't let you plug in a console, pull out a controller and start gaming, even if the console did have a laptop format. Don't get me wrong, it's a neat project, but I'm just saying it's not very practical.

            Actually, most places will let you plug in. When traveling, I almost never ran my notebook off the battery. The airport, coffee shops or just about any other place where I could actually sit down and use my notebook would have a plug available for me to access. I see this as being no different.

            And, sure, while nearly all homes will have a bigger screen, they may not have a better screen. Many homes still have old, non-hi-def CRT TV's plugged into their cable boxes, or have the cable plugged directly to the TV's.

            Finally, I don't think practicality was the point. Sure, it's a nice feature, but this guy made this simply because he could. That was the whole point.

        • by Jurily (900488)

          Unless this thing has its own built-in power plant, you'll have to plug it in somewhere.

          Solar power is ok for a calculator, but it's not enough here.

    • Perhaps it is more of a "portable" in the sense of the old Osbornes and Kaypros: sure, it weighed 20 pounds, but it had a handle on the back, therefore it was portable!

      And yeah, it's interesting. I certainly don't have those kinds of modding skills. My hat goes off to the guy.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        We called those luggables back in the days.

    • I think the correct term is "desktop replacement". It's a really nice job, but seriously? Sometimes things were not meant to be ported. What's the use of 1080p on a 17" screen? Somehow "stereo" just wasn't what the TruHD format had in mind...
  • He could make some good money selling his 'pieces' -- making console mods might even become a decent first job for him.
    • by Rogerborg (306625)

      "Good money"? Good money is $100,000 a year net before tax. Call it 230 working days in a year, that's $434 clear profit each and every day. Just so we're clear, that's $434 in added value on top of the original hardware costs. Remember to account for shipping, tools and consumables, marketing, and warranty work - and if he doesn't offer any warranty, that eats into the perceived value.

      Once the buzz dies down, do you reckon he can add $434 of value every day?

      Or did you have another definition of "go

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        I don't know how long it would take to saturate the market, as it seems like sort of a small one; but given the prices that crazy fanboys will pay to have perfectly stock consoles a few days ahead of time, he might well be able to pull that by catering to a few well-heeled fanatics.

        However, while the market might be there, I suspect that, once tapped, he couldn't hold out for long. 1 guy, using more or less standard home modding methods(albeit applied with competence substantially above average), doing b
        • by jimicus (737525)

          However, while the market might be there, I suspect that, once tapped, he couldn't hold out for long. 1 guy, using more or less standard home modding methods(albeit applied with competence substantially above average), doing bespoke pieces would have a hard time competing with a smallish pro outfit doing larger runs at somewhat lower prices, with the benefit of actual machine tools, and parts you can only (cheaply) buy in lots of 100, and possibly rework kit above the level of a soldering iron and strong nerves.

          Which is why, for it to work, that one guy has to set up his own small pro outfit, improve his skills and equipment to the point where he can churn them out fast and sell them relatively cheaply. Or glue diamonds all over the thing and flog it to people with more money than sense.

          Suddenly setting up as a business with a view to making a good income looks rather expensive.

          Even then, I can think of two big risks which would basically put him out of business more or less immediately:

          1. Sony decide they don't

        • Maybe modding the console in the same way for in-car entertainment? There are thousands of car modders...
      • by asdf7890 (1518587) on Friday October 02, 2009 @07:24AM (#29615205)

        I would agree with you that it would be difficult to make good money on this as a career move, but he could possibly make a decent amount of extra income (on top of his day job) through doing custom jobs. He would have to charge above the odds to make each individual job it worth his while, but as he would be serving a small niche this wouldn't be unreasonable.

        Of course he may be of the attitude that he does not want to take money for this, as it is his hobby and he might not want his hobby to become a chore (even if it is a chore that earns him money).

      • Good money is $100,000 a year net before tax

        really? so all those people earning less than that but who are their own boss, doing something they love are just poor chumps? not everyone wants to work a job they pretty much hate so that they can write checks at the end of the month for shit they don't need.

  • by yivi (236776) <[yivi] [at] [mutated.me]> on Friday October 02, 2009 @05:47AM (#29614933) Homepage

    Maybe it could be sold with a couple of Lenovo|Mac stickers to bring to some of those very engaging meetings, presentations, etc...

    I.-

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jurily (900488)

      Because real laptops cannot possibly run games.

      I must be getting old.

      • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

        by Pulzar (81031)

        Because real laptops cannot possibly run games.

        No, but real laptops don't *only* play games. If you bring a gaming console to a meeting, it's pretty clear what you plan on doing with it.

    • Maybe it could be sold with a couple of Lenovo|Mac stickers to bring to some of those very engaging meetings, presentations, etc...

      I wonder why Sony doesn't do this, only packaged better? (Internal politics is usually the answer. Dilbert: "Before we defeat our competitors, we first have to defeat the other departments.") If they stick to legacy consoles, they can probably do a lot of this in emulation, with the emulator code running from a ROM.

      Sony could probably boost their share of laptop sales by making their machines capable of playing legacy console games. In addition to bored meeting attendees, there are also game collectors

  • portable (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    So, TFA says he has some spare room which he uses to fold up the power cord.
    According to some sites, the PSU gives 12V and the unit consumes 80 Watts while playing a game.
    throw in some 20 for the screen, which gives about a 100 Watts @ 12v.
    put in some overhead for the speakers and you easily get 9 Amps @ 12v.

    Would it be possible to run this beast of batteries? I know 9-10 Amps is easily done in RC batteries, but would it be possible to game for say 1 hour on batteries in such a compartment?

  • Wow. He essentially made a (bit large) portable Playstation. Why didn't Sony think of that?

  • by marqs (774373) on Friday October 02, 2009 @07:56AM (#29615303)
    That is one Heck of a hack...or perhaps one hack of a Heck
  • this is a very cool portable mod

  • Will Ben Ever Learn? (Score:5, Informative)

    by damn_registrars (1103043) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Friday October 02, 2009 @08:38AM (#29615499) Homepage Journal
    He does great work, for sure. But he has been slashdotted more than a couple times; just about every new console he builds and describes leads to a slashdot article, which leads to his webserver being reduced to a smoldering pile of nothingness. He really should stop using his old XT for a webserver. I suspect his portable PS3 would probably handle the load better...
    • just about every new console he builds and describes leads to a slashdot article, which leads to his webserver being reduced to a smoldering pile of nothingness. He really should stop using his old XT for a webserver. I suspect his portable PS3 would probably handle the load better...

      Or Slashdot could just provide links to the Coral cached version [nyud.net], and solve the problem for every submitted site like this.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Will Slashdot ever learn? Why not coralize these links before posting the article? Why not refuse articles which link to toy webservers which don't coralize, or have the editors coralize such links? Oh wait, that would be suspiciously like editing.

      More on topic, re: cough-positioning, FTFA: I like to make a grumbly, rumbly noise in the back of my throat like a mostly-contented bear. This makes refreshing visual items wiggle around (only at lower refreshes though! and more on CRTs than LCDs anyway) especiall

      • Will Slashdot ever learn? Why not coralize these links before posting the article?

        Yeah, it should be done. Maybe people get some secret excitement of seeing the server screech down from the requests. And the "slashdot effect" has become a meta-brand of its own...

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by GreyWolf3000 (468618)
        There are apparently legal gray areas with that that CmdrTaco doesn't want to get into. If I recall correctly, it's not clear that he has the legal right to take someone else's content, throw it up on some other server that does not earn the original author ad revenue, and post a link to it on the home page.
        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          The point is well-taken, but it would be enough to load the site via coral before slashdotting it (i.e. posting it to the front page) so that coral would have it cached before someone needs to go load it from said cache.

    • The Coral Cache is working pretty well for me: http://benheck.com.nyud.net/10-01-2009/ps3-slim-laptop [nyud.net]

      And the youtube videos are certainly holding up just fine:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-nLEVnM9Cas [youtube.com]
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7AM6NGbPQ-k [youtube.com]
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SKia22tulUg [youtube.com]

    • by Rycross (836649)
      Because 95% of the time he doesn't need anything more than that XT webserver? Because it doesn't make sense to buy the server/bandwidth just for the few occasions when he's slashdotted and has a traffic spike?
      • Because it doesn't make sense to buy the server/bandwidth just for the few occasions when he's slashdotted and has a traffic spike?

        There are ways to accommodate that. If he is using a "professional" hosting company, many of them allow for bandwidth scaling to meet expected changes in demand. If he is running his own webserver, he would be wise to set it up more intelligently to handle the traffic loads.

        Of course, if the answer is the latter rather than the former, his poor little webserver should be a useless pile of rubble now; perhaps he will replace it with a more robust system.

        Though unlike many other people whose sites are

  • Forget about the new PSP go. Check out my new PS3 Go Slim. In other news, Sony may have plans to start producing fitness software/devices.
  • Does anybody have an alternative link?

    • Someone posted one four hours ago. But I guess reading the comments and reading the article are sort of mutually exclusive. :)

  • Does it run Linux? Oh...

  • A video game store just south of Nashville, TN is going to be doing a giveaway with this PS3 laptop as the prize: http://www.facebook.com/posted.php?id=43627590335&share_id=138212171129&comments=1#s138212171129 [facebook.com] (DISCLAIMER: it's my friend's store)
  • by Doc Ruby (173196)

    The original ("fat") PS3s all included an option for the PS3 hypervisor to host an "OtherOS", like Linux, instead of booting into the GameOS. PS3 Linux was a PPC distro running on the Cell's 2.4GHz PPC CPU core, with access to the bus, 6 of 7 working DSPs and other devices (but not the RSX GPU) through drivers and filesystem mapping APIs. I could run Ubuntu on the PS3, install a driver and use mplayer to watch full HD movies from the hard drive or streaming from a network fileserver. I could program the Cel

    • by krakelohm (830589)
      So to answer your question with your own answer, no it does not run Linux.
      • by Doc Ruby (173196)

        It's a rhetorical question. The point is that it's not a laptop.

    • by Khyber (864651)

      As another poster mentioned, it's a 60GB classic PS3, which has hardware PS2 support and sure as hell runs Linux.

      So yes, it CAN be a laptop.

      • by Doc Ruby (173196)

        So it's not a PS3 Slim then. Hard to tell that when the original article is slashdotted, and the story says it's a Slim.

        • by Khyber (864651)

          The article loaded just fine for me just this moment. I don't see why everybody is having issues accessing it directly.

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