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Home > Hardware Reviews > Games

Thursday, January 04, 2007
Buying a Sony PSP

1. Introduction

Without any doubt, the Sony PSP is one of the most successful portable entertainment consoles ever built. Its powerful engine and amazing features have made it very popular among users. We decided to create a buying guide for those who feel they could enhance their portable gaming with a brand new Sony PSP. This guide will cover specific details about hardware revisions, firmware and of course memory sticks. Let's begin.

- Why this guide is needed?

Most of you are probably asking yourselves what, another PSP buying guide? Not exactly... This guide aims at offering you specific details about important features that advanced users look for. The recently released PSP hardware cannot be downgraded to the "magic" 1.50 firmware and many users are very frustrated about this. How you can identify if a console has a "good" or "bad" firmware revision? In our quest to find which Sony PSP will better suit our needs, we came upon an interesting discovery. Every retail package indicates which firmware revision is being used. That is very important. Why? Because all PSP's with 2.80+ firmware cannot be downgraded to 1.50 (at least at the time this article was written).

Is that bad? It depends. If you don't care about homebrew applications and underground development projects, then no. But if you want to use the full potential of the PSP platform, a PSP with a lower than 2.80 firmware revision is required. So how can you check this important aspect quickly? Fortunately, there is a particular bit of information you should look for on the retail package:

The red arrow in the photo above shows a letter under the voltage rating. This letter indicates the firmware for the PSP unit. You should keep in mind the following list and buy accordingly:

  • no letter = 1.0 (Japanese Release) 1.5 (North-American release) confirmed
  • A = 1.5 confirmed
  • B = 1.51 confirmed
  • C = 1.52 confirmed
  • D = 1.52 confirmed
  • E = 1.52 confirmed
  • F = 2.0 confirmed
  • G = 2.01 confirmed
  • H = 2.50 confirmed
  • I = 2.60 confirmed
  • J = 2.70 unconfirmed
  • K = 2.71 confirmed
  • L = 2.81 unconfirmed

This information of course is not ours. It's taken from QJ.NET forums, kudos the QJ.NET users who assembled the above list. We suggest you visit QJ.NET forums and read more about this subject.

To be able to downgrade your PSP, you should buy one with at most a K revision (2.71). If you buy the L version, then you are out of luck. Recently released PSPs have a different hardware revision too. The so called "cursed TA-082" board revision is no longer an issue, provided that you have 2.71 firmware! There is some information that other colors than black (for example Pink) use a much newer board revision, "TA-086", so we suggest you avoid buying them. The white version doesn't seem to include the new TA-086, but be sure to check which firmware is being used.

Of course, the above applies when buying from a store. In which case, you can inspect the retail package and identify which firmware is installed. When buying online however, this is not possible. So what can you do? We don't have a lot to suggest, other than ask the supplier to identify the firmware for you, but you can never be sure that they will provide the correct information or may not know what unit will eventually be shipped, since marketing and sales departments are two totally different "stories".

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