PS3break and X3 Max Review

Discussion in 'Official GBAtemp Reviews' started by OSW, Jan 1, 2011.

  1. OSW

    OSW Wii King

    Former Staff
    Oct 30, 2006
    <font color="#FF0000"> review of the...</font>

    <b><font size="6"><font color="#000080">PS3Break</font></font></b> <font color="#FF0000">&</font> <b><font size="6"><font color="#000000">X3 Max</font></font></b>

    <a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a>

    <a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a>
    <a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a>

    <b>Review samples provided by:</b>
    <a href="" target="_blank">ShopTemp</a> (PS3Break)
    <a href="" target="_blank">X3 team</a> (X3 Max)

    Review by OSW - 1st January 2011

    <b>Review Contents & Index:</b><ul><li><a style="text-decoration: none;" href="#a">Introduction</a></li><li><a style="text-decoration: none;" href="#b">Hardware and Packaging</a></li><li><a style="text-decoration: none;" href="#c">Installation and Usage</a></li><li><a style="text-decoration: none;" href="#d">Feature Summary</a></li><li><a style="text-decoration: none;" href="#e">Backup Loading</a></li><li><a style="text-decoration: none;" href="#f">Updating</a></li><li><a style="text-decoration: none;" href="#g">Homebrew and Linux</a></li><li><a style="text-decoration: none;" href="#h">Conclusion</a></li></ul><div class="reviewbreak"><a name="a">The Beginning</a></div>
    At long last the PlayStation 3 has been hacked.

    For years the console was thought to be an impenetrable masterpiece of security, founded by Sony to avoid continuing their piracy-ridden history, seen most notoriously with its first PlayStation, and later its first PSP. Some hackers showed promise, but homebrew and backup loading remained a dream. Nonetheless, somewhere underground an intense exploration of the ps3 system continued (allow me some artistic license <img src="style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/wink.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=";)" border="0" alt="wink.gif" />), finally cumulating in a breakthrough scene event, the announcement of the original ps3 jailbreak device. It was a revolution, opening up the system to the world and allowing backups to be played off internal and external HDDs via a small USB stick (albeit highly expensive).

    The fact that this first mod was so simple and easy was surprising, possibly nostalgic to those who have experienced the relatively easy hacks seen in the NDS and Wii scene. To me, it was most reminiscent of the infamous swap trick for PlayStation which utilized a quick disk swap to play game backups. Likewise, this exploit requires the user to press power then eject in quick succession (with the dongle inserted).

    From my basic understanding, the exploit works by emulating Sony’s own internal jig stick attached to a special USB hub. This, with the right combination of USB data, triggers the PS3 to boot into an internal “debug mode”, left accessible in the firmware by Sony (ONLY 3.41 and below). This debug firmware is extremely useful as it allows the installation of PKG files (packages for the XMB) and other functions which can subsequently unlock the system’s capabilities. There are actually no software or hardware modifications made by the dongles, as the package installer is an inbuilt function of the debug mode XMB.

    Unsurprisingly, the first custom package released was the backup loader. Of course, backup loading is not the only benefit of a jailbroken PS3. The jailbreak allows us the same level of hardware access as existing games and software. Hence, given sufficient development tools, unofficial games and applications (homebrew) can surely be built to enhance the PlayStation experience.

    <b>Attack of the Clones</b>
    Of course, as is the case with many such devices, clones and competitors were destined to arrive. Within weeks of the initial jailbreak announcement, multiple competitors came to market to compete with the original at a much more respectable price. Two of these competitors are under review today, the PS3break and X3 Max (formerly known as X3jailbreak). In addition, many existing electronic devices have been made compatible with the exploit, including various mobile phones, TI calculators, handhelds and USB dev boards, provided they have sufficient hardware specificationss and developer access.

    <b>Sony reacts</b>
    Few expected the shocking development that would soon occur, as Sony reacted with great urgency to attack distributors and developers of the original ps3 jailbreak, taking them to court before the device was even officially launched. What followed was a series of victories for Sony, with judgments deeming the device to be illegal (to distribute at least), in various countries including Australia, Europe, Russia, and Hong Kong (and the list is growing). This was a bold strategy, much more so than competitor Nintendo’s comparatively slow crackdown on NDS and Wii piracy.

    <div class="reviewbreak"><a name="b">Hardware and Packaging</a></div>
    <b>The PS3Break</b>
    The PS3break arrived in a smart and compact plastic case. Inside the case was a silicon/rubber mould to keep the PS3break safe, a nice touch (although we know how tough most USB sticks are). It also has a magnetic clip to hold the case together, rather classy (who doesn’t love magnetism?).

    <a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a> <a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a>

    The design itself was nothing spectacular - I probably have 4 or 5 USB flash sticks that look fairly similar scrambled around my home (not necessarily a bad thing). The dongle is metallic blue and feels nice and solid. As an added bonus, a small blue strap was also included in the package. Whether it be useful or not, I'm not sure (In my experience, I leave the jailbreak in the ps3 for long periods of time, but perhaps others may travel with the device to use with other consoles).

    <a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a>

    Unfortunately, the upgrade button is tiny and must be pressed with a pen or similar object, making it cumbersome to upgrade (as the button must be held in when connecting the dongle to a computer to enable flashing mode). It would be far more practical if the upgrade button was slightly raised from the case, to allow a finger press, or alternately use a switch design (as with X3 Max below).

    At first I thought the PS3break was not going to be dismantled without undue force, but with a little bit of wiggling the internals slid out with ease, allowing me to view the PCB. It appears that internals were glued in, but only very lightly. Dismantled, the upgrade button is much easier to access.

    <a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a>

    <b>X3 Max</b>
    The X3 Max came in a similar padded magnetic lock case to the PS3Break. I thought it both strange and mildly amusing the cover image chosen for the device...

    <a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a> <a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a>

    The device has a textured plastic look, and feels nice to the touch. I think the x3 team were smart to choose black, as it matches perfectly with the stock PS3 console.

    <a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a> <a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a>

    The biggest difference between the two builds is the upgrade button design. By sliding off the back of the X3 MAX dongle, you gain access to a simple switch enabling the device to be flashed. This approach is far easier and more reliable than the PS3break upgrade button.

    <a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a>

    Unfortunately, I felt I could not safely dismantle the device without damage, so to those looking for PCB photos, sorry!

    <font color="#FF8C00">NB: Both the PS3break and X3 Max have both gone through various revisions, so newer models are not exactly the same in both looks and hardware.</font>

    <div class="reviewbreak"><a name="c">Installation and Usage</a></div>
    <b>Flash firmware <i>(if required)</i></b>
    The PS3Break and X3Max came preloaded and ready for use with their jailbreak firmware, but it is possible that future models, depending on the company and distributor, may arrive without the firmware to avoid legal complications. More information on flashing firmware in the <a style="text-decoration: none;" href="#g"><b><u>updating</u></b></a> section.

    <b>Booting into Debug Mode with jailbreak</b>
    There are very few steps to the jailbreak process, but they must all be followed for a successful boot.<ol type='1'><li>Make sure jailbreak is inserted into a USB port.</li><li>Switch the PS3 off at the wall/switch and then back on (so next boot will be a cold boot).</li><li>Once the socket power is reconnected, press the power button and eject button is quick succession.</li></ol>Step 1 & 2 may be interchanged. The dongle may be removed after system has booted, but will need to be reinserted at next boot to get in to debug mode. Otherwise unofficial programs (homebrew, backup managers etc) will error on boot.

    <b>Switch for PS3 Slim</b>
    Since the jailbreak process requires the PS3 to be fully off and then powered back on, starting the jailbreak may be slightly annoying for PS3 Slim owners, who have no dedicated power switch at the back of their consoles. I purchased a cheap on/off switch that connects between the power cable and console, which has made the boot process much less cumbersome. I highly recommend it for slim PS3 owners (should be available from DX/eBay and many other websites).

    <a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a>

    <b>To install Backuploaders/Apps/Games:</b><ol type='1'><li>Copy backuploader or homebrew PKG files onto a USB HDD/stick and connect.</li><li>Navigate to the “Games” tab in XMB. </li><li>Click “Install Package Files”, which will allow you to install PKG files stored on a connected USB storage device.</li></ol>Step 1 & 2 may be interchanged. Installed PKG programs will appear in the “Games” tab in XMB.

    <a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a>

    <div class="reviewbreak"><a name="d">Feature Summary</a></div>
    These features have been tested/researched by me (Not simply manufacturer claims):

    <img src="" border="0" class="linked-image" />

    <div class="reviewbreak"><a name="e">Backup Loading</a></div>
    Backups must be played off either an internal or external HDD. Disk loading is not available, so I recommend getting an external HDD to store games and preserve the precious internal HDD space for savegames and other data. As backup loading compatibility is largely independent of the dongle used, a proper comparison between the devices is difficult. To those new to the scene, compatibility is primarily determined by the device payload (which is flashed to the device), and to a lesser degree the backup loader programs. The most popular payloads at the time of review are KaKaRoTo’s PL3 and Hermes’ payloads. I also highly recommend using MultiMan or Rogero Manager, which are far superior to the original backup loader in list of features and GUI.

    After clicking on a backup manager in the games tab, it will boot as with any other official game/program. If you wish to dump a game disk, insert the disk and select the relevant option. Games can be ripped to either the internal PS3 HDD or external FAT32 formatted USB devices. There is not usually any difference in speed or compatibility or between the two choices, unless a game has individual files larger than 4GB, in which case it may require use of the internal HDD or a loader patch to work. After games have finished dumping, they will appear in the main menu and be ready to load.

    <a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a>

    Do not be confused if after launching a game, you are returned to the PS3 XMB. You will find that the full game icon and animation has appeared under the “Games” tab, and can now be launched from there. Many of the newest loaders have introduced direct game booting (instead of from XMB) among other features, speeding up the game launch process. This however, has limited compatibility compared to the default XMB method.

    Results of my limited testing (Hermes v4b payload, Multiman, X3 Max device):

    <img src="" border="0" class="linked-image" />

    As you can see, most of my games are working. Shaun White is a known problematic game. I do not have any FW 3.50 games to test, but I have read that many games compiled with the 3.50 SDK will not work (without FW spoofing payloads). <u>Most old games will work, but newer games will always be a battle between Sony and the Scene (as with all consoles).</u> Game loading times were noticeably improved compared to standard disk loading, but I'm not 100% confident that it is double the speed, as claimed by most manufacturers.

    PS3break provides a much more comprehensive compatibility list <a href="" target="_blank"><b>here.</b></a>
    It is certain that this list can be applied to most jailbreaks, provided that users are utilizing the same payload and backuploader.

    <b>PlayStation Network (PSN)</b>
    In case you didn’t know, PSN is blocked for all jailbreak users or users not on the latest official firmware. For a limited time, payloads with a firmware spoof enabled PSN access, but were quickly blocked by Sony. It remains to be seen if PSN will be accessible in future, and if so, will we see the same approach taken by Microsoft (on Xbox Live) - to ban modified consoles.

    <div class="reviewbreak"><a name="f">Updating</a></div>
    All jailbreak devices provide a baseline level of support for homebrew and backup loading. But to achieve improved game compatibility, homebrew and Linux support, firmware (payload) <u>upgradeability is important!</u>.

    Unfortunately, the PS3break team made a grave mistake with its official 1.0 release, as the upgrading function was broken. To make matters worse, many of its clones were easily upgradable! This caused much uproar and confusion on GBAtemp and PSX-Scene.
    Eventually, the PS3break team released newer revisions 1.1 and 1.2 of its device, as well as improved flashing tools to enable smoother updating, and to support the old 1.0 version. Unfortunately I cannot confirm if these tools actually work on 1.0, as I was unable to get my device into its flashing mode. So I strongly advise potential buyers to only get the newer versions to ensure they have an upgradable product.

    X3 Max released a very useful tool allowing payload hexes for other devices to be flashed to the X3 Max. This ensures that users can always upgrade to the latest payloads without X3 official releases. X3 Max programming tool and instructions are here <a href="" target="_blank"></a>

    After opening the back of the X3 and flicking the upgrade switch, the X3 will be recognized by the programming tool. First time running, the x3MAX_Generic.bin must be flashed. After that, you load any other device's payload hex and press "program" to flash the device.

    <img src="" border="0" class="linked-image" />

    PS3break has followed suit with their own tool, but it is currently limited to mhex format (which seems much more limited...). It is claimed that the tool will be updated to support normal hexes soon. PS3Break firmware uploader and instructions are here <a href="" target="_blank"></a>

    To enter into flashing mode, you must press the "upgrade" button in whilst connecting the device to a computer. Then, similarly to the X3 Max tool, you can select a mhex and click "program" to flash the device.

    <img src="" border="0" class="linked-image" />

    <div class="reviewbreak"><a name="g">Homebrew and Linux</a></div>
    Originally, homebrew apps could only be developed by the leaked Sony SDK (and were subsequently illegal). Fortunately, the hard work of scene members has seen the release of new open and legal development tools (PSL1GHT etc) allowing legal homebrew development and distribution. Homebrew is typically distributed as PKG files (same as backup managers) which may then be installed to the system via debug mode.

    A number of quality apps, games and even emulators have already made it to the system. Some of my favourites are listed below.
    <a href="" target="_blank">Spin Pong:</a> An interesting twist on pong!
    <a href="" target="_blank">PS3FTP:</a> Nice FTP program.
    <a href="" target="_blank">Comgenie’s awesome file manager:</a> Useful filemanager (can browse internal and external HDD)
    <a href="" target="_blank">VBA PS3:</a> The famous GBA emulator.
    <a href="" target="_blank">PS3SX:</a> PS1 emulator!!!!

    <a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a>

    Many other exciting future projects are also in the mix including N64 and SEGA Dreamcast emulators!

    It was almost inevitable that we would see a reincarnation of Linux on the PS3 following Sony’s much criticized OtherOS (Linux installation option) removal months ago. Sony removed OtherOS out of security concerns, but obviously in light of recent developments, it appears the move was in vain.

    Although many have attempted to regain OtherOS in later firmwares, none have publicly succeeded to date. However, Marcan, famous for his work in the Wii scene, has released his own Linux booting payload and distro titled AsbestOS. As far as I understand it, the level of hardware access in AsbestOS is far greater than what was allowed by the somewhat crippled OtherOS. Homebrew and Linux implementations now run from GameOS, allowing them high level access to previously restricted hardware such as the powerful RSX GPU.

    <b>Custom Firmwares</b>
    Tools facilitating the start of custom firmwares have recently been released and various scene members have stated their intentions to work on such projects. So far, only have minor and unstable modifications to the XMB have been released.

    <b>The Future</b>
    The rate at which development in the PS3-scene has occurred has been astonishing over the last few months. It seems that almost every week we have real breakthroughs such as downgrading, custom firmwares and other projects.

    As this review goes to edit, some of the biggest names in the hacking scene including members of team twiizers (of immortal status in the Wii scene) have just finished their talk at the 27C3 conference regarding their own groundbreaking new PS3 exploits <a href="" target="_blank">fail0verflow</a>. It seems that the PS3 security system has been compromised far more extremely than previously thought, and <i>fail0verflow</i> will be purely software based (unlike the jailbreak). This exciting news will undoubtedly bring homebrew and Linux to yet another level on the PS3, so the future is bright!

    <div class="reviewbreak"><a name="h">Conclusion</a></div>
    The reputation of PS3break is improving now following the initial controversy surrounding its “v1.0” products. After revising the PS3Break, they have given their users firmware updates, tools and downgrade support, making them once again a competitive choice in the market for jailbreaks.

    That being said, <u>the X3 Max takes the crown in this battle</u>. With faster support (flash almost any payload hex), an innovative team (claiming to have found the master key and jailbroken firmware 3.50, of which I see no reason to doubt) plus a dongle which should support almost any future hacks, it’s a solid choice for all jailbreak users.

    Of course, there are many other alternatives out there which should be considered, not in the least devices which you may already own (such as some smartphones/calculators) which can be used to jailbreak the console for free. Or for technically skilled users, flashing a teensy USB kit or equivalent might be a cheap, highly upgradeable and thus attractive option.

    Finally, you may wonder in light of the "fail0verflow" announcement, is it still worth purchasing a jailbreak given that it could be almost extinct within months? The best advice I can give is that, at current, jailbreak devices are still a fantastic way to maximize the value out of your console at a reasonably low price (experienced scene members may remind you of the days that all such devices (flashcarts et al) were worth hundreds of dollars!!). Another advantage worth considering is that jailbreak dongles do not entail modification of any software on your PS3 (whereas fail0verflow likely will), so they may hypothetically be less traceable (though take note that I do not profess to be an expert on the matter!). In the end, everything must come down to the trade-off between cost and benefits, that means saving the cost of the dongle but sacrificing the entertainment of a hacked console for however long (could be <1 month, with backup loading uncertain. All speculation).

    <font color="green">PS3Break Pros:</font>
    <font color="green">+</font> Price (around $20 USD).
    <font color="green">+</font> Upgradable software.
    <font color="green">+</font> FW downgrade works.

    <font color="red">PS3Break Cons:</font>
    <font color="red">-</font> Bad reputation from stuffing up their v1.0 hardware release.
    <font color="red">-</font> Flashing software can still be improved (needs normal hex support).

    <div class="reviewbreak"><img src="" border="0" class="linked-image" /></div>
    <font color="green">X3 Max Pros:</font>
    <font color="green">+</font> Upgradable software.
    <font color="green">+</font> FW downgrade works.
    <font color="green">+</font> Great flashing tools (flash any Hex).
    <font color="green">+</font> Future-proof hardware.
    <font color="green">+</font> Faster team updates.
    <font color="green">+</font> Good reputation.

    <font color="red">X3 Max Cons:</font>
    <font color="red">-</font> Price (around $35 USD, still affordable).

    <div class="reviewbreak"><img src="" border="0" class="linked-image" /></div>
    <b>Thanks to:</b>
    The GBAtemp staff for being such a friendly and awesome bunch of people!
    The GBAtemp community for all the great times (despite my inactivity this year).

    <b>External Links:</b>
    <a href="" target="_blank">X3 Team Website</a> (downloads, news, FAQ, etc)
    <a href="" target="_blank">PS3Break Team Website</a> (downloads, news, FAQ, etc)

    <center><iframe src="" width ="100%" height="260" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true"></iframe></center>
  2. OSW

    OSW Wii King

    Former Staff
    Oct 30, 2006
    To everyone, if you wish to send me errors please use PM thanks [​IMG] And I hope my first review is helpful!

    Chubbo1793: What links? I can't find any mixed up links.. [​IMG] EDIT: OH!!! gotcha, right at the end, cheers buddy!
  3. pitoui

    pitoui GBAtemp Advanced Fan

    Nov 1, 2006
    Got a PS3 Break v1.1, an Amaze Break v3.0 and an E3 Card Reader. The E3 Card reader is by far the best jailbreak dongle I have used.
  4. DjoeN

    DjoeN Captain Haddock!

    Oct 21, 2005
    Somewhere in this potatoland!
    It's not about what the can do, the all can do the same (and needs the same way to trigger it, like you said), but it's the extra you get with the newer ones,
    the process is the same, but ease of upgrade, support from the company, user community support, flexibility Price, quality etc...


    Got me a PS3break, P3Go and a Teensy2++

    I love the P3Go and it's simply one of the better jailbreak dongles out there.
    - Dual payload boot support
    - Easy upgrade through USB (just place update.bin into the onboard u-disk space)
    - Onboard SLC NANDFLASH Memory of 128MB
    - 32 bit CPU processor clocked at 500MHz.
    - microSDHC slot (supports up to 32GB)
    - Comes with power switch for PS3 Slim consoles
    - Support for any hex file (AVR/pic) (no waiting till Gamebox releases P3Go version, use fast user community hex releases)
    - Support for downgrading

    I'm very happy with it, Also love the Teensy device, but the PS3break is awefull
    the v1.0 is damned hard to flash (if it wasn't for the user community, else you never could have upgraded it)
  5. al5911

    al5911 GBAtemp Regular

    Dec 4, 2009
    Hong Kong
    Somewhere on earth ...
    Nice review, well done. I have x3max. I also have ps3yes, psjailbreak2, AmazeBreak, E3 card reader and P3GO. Agreed with DjoeN that P3GO is by far is the best with all its features + well built + Onboard SLC NANDFLASH Memory of 128MB. x3max downside that I really don't like is the slide tiny switch! And their 'free' tiny screw driver is a C*AP [​IMG]
  6. OSW

    OSW Wii King

    Former Staff
    Oct 30, 2006
    Thanks for the info guys!!!

    I have no experience with other dongles, so out of curiosity, Is there any use for the extra features of P3GO (such as the internal memory) at current? (obviously dual payloads is useful though)
  7. codezer0

    codezer0 Gaming keeps me sane

    Jul 14, 2009
    United States
    The Magic School Bus
    Yea, I have a PS3Break 1.2... definitely a lot more painless about the jailbreak and updating functionality. It can spoof up to 3.55 now, but that won't work for games that were compiled in a real 3.5 SDK. [​IMG]

    In any case, hoping to see more for the thing, and certainly hoping to finally see some really good modding done now that the ps3 master key's been made public. [​IMG]
  8. happybobjr

    happybobjr Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    United States
  9. JasonSingh

    JasonSingh Newbie

    Jan 14, 2012
    hello people i am new to ps3 scene i am interested in buying the usb but does it work the same say r4ds works? download the the files and drag into ur memory card load and install roms and boom goes the dynomite lol. how does this work? i know i know m noob. who isn't?

    does it support all the isos?
    which usb will you recommend?

    last i am on PS3 SLIM and firmware 4.0 thanx a billion.