PlayStation 2 Expansion Bay

From Academic Kids

The PlayStation 2 Expansion Bay is a 3.5" drive bay in the original (prior to model SCPH-70000) PlayStation 2 designed for the network adaptor and internal hard disk drive (HDD). These peripherals enhance the capabilities of the PS2 to allow online play and other features and were shown at 2001.

Contents

Network adaptor

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Network adaptor

The Network Adaptor was released in August 2002 in North America and features a modem and an Ethernet jack for dial-up or broadband Internet connections. A startup disc is included with the Network Adaptor and installs a file on the memory card for connection settings which are accessible by all but one Network Adaptor compatible game. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 was released in November 2001 and supported the Network Adaptor hardware, but not the software as it was not finalized until much later.

Hard disk drive

The Hard Disk Drive (HDD) was released on March 23, 2004 in North America. It requires the Network Adaptor to connect to the PlayStation 2 and to receive power. The HDD has a 40 GB capacity that can be used by games to reduce load time by putting data on the hard drive temporarily, or back up memory card data. Once an HDD is installed into a PlayStation 2 system, due to MagicGate copyright protection, it cannot be moved to another PlayStation 2 system without reformatting the hard drive. A HDD Utility disc is included to allow maintenance of the HDD and in North America, Final Fantasy XI is also included. Currently, only five games support the HDD.

  • Final Fantasy XI is the only game truly dependent on the HDD as it requires various patches and upgrades from Square Enix.
  • SOCOM II: U.S. Navy SEALs supports additional maps, however the files must be copied from a magazine demo disc to the hard drive and cannot be downloaded.
  • Resident Evil: Outbreak installs 1 GB to the HDD for reduced loading times.
  • ESPN NFL 2K5 and ESPN NHL 2K5 use the HDD to improve replays. (If the HDD is not installed, static screenshots are shown as replays. With the HDD, full cutscene-like replays can be displayed.)
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Final Fantasy XI HDD 40GB package

Unofficial software called HD Loader (whose website is unavailable at the time of this writing) allows the user to copy entire games to the HDD and running them without the discs. While some argue that this improves performance and protects the potentially fragile discs, especially from young children, others claim that this only encourages piracy as rented games can be copied and kept forever (see rental piracy).

As of December 2004, it is widely believed that Sony is no longer interested in supporting the hard drive. The new PStwo model of PlayStation 2, which replaced the older, larger model, is not capable of using the hard drive and while Sony has stated they are investigating alternatives, it is thought that none will be forthcoming due to the relatively late date in the product's lifecycle. The absence of support for the HDD in the PStwo also means that Final Fantasy XI can only be played on older PlayStation 2s. Sony's public response at the time of the introduction of the PStwo (in mid-2004) was that "the more hardcore [HDD-interested] gamers...already have their PlayStation 2 units," according to a company statement.

Linux kit

Main article: PS2 Linux

The Linux Kit for PlayStation 2 was released in 2002 and included the PlayStation 2 Linux software, keyboard, mouse, VGA adapter (which requires a sync-on green (http://playstation2-linux.com/docs/howto/display_doc.php?docid=76#Which_monitors_are_supported_and_what_is) monitor), Network Adaptor (Ethernet only) and a 40 GB hard disk drive.

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