PS3 CEX to DEX conversion – the truth

Many PS3 Scene sites have over the last few weeks been dripping information regarding the new PS3 CEX to DEX kit/conversion tools that have been released.  While we wait for Sony’s response to this most recent leak we can take a closer look at what this means to the Jailbreak scene.

As far as releases go this is yet another controversy which has led to many spats between leading developers on twitter and forums. If you are still unsure what this means to you the normal user then please read on as we will list some of the benefits and disadvantages to this.

First the terminology, you will maybe be aware that a CEX PS3 is what is more commonly referred to as a retail unit where as a DEX PS3 is a developer/debug unit for code creation. Being for developers a DEX PS3 has the obvious advantage of being able to run unsigned code meaning all the PS3 Jailbreak and dongle methods are not needed at all to run homebrew applications.

DEX units require different firmware to run with the latest being PS3 DEX 4.20 and while these firmware builds are not publicly available they do leak from various sources. For instance the PS3 DEX 4.11 leaked not so long ago so expect the 4.20/4.21 in the not to distant future.

So with a DEX unit being able to run homebrew isn’t this the best route forward for Jail-breaking the PS3? While this will indeed allow you to run any sort of unsigned code such as emulators for SNES, MAME and retro computers such as the Amiga, Linux and more a basic debug ps3 will lack the needed Level 1 and LVL 2 pokes that were introduced way back in August 2010 by the PSJailbreak team and their ground breaking dongle that blew the scene wide open. These firmware hacks are needed to let the console load a backup from disk and ‘virtually’ mount it as the game inserted in the blueray drive for loading. With out the LVL1 and LVL2 backup managers can not work and are simply limited to backing up to the USB disk or wherever.

The good news on that front is that DeanK the much respected developer behind the Multiman backup manager quite some time ago released a version of Multiman for “debug” consoles. Aimed at the excellent Rebug firmware this release can easily be found via google if you need it.

A PS3 DEX on 4.20 or indeed 4.11 at this point is perfectly able to run all the latest games such as MW3 with one further alteration. DEX Eboots are different to CEX Eboots so before the game can actually be run on a debug unit the correct one will need to be located. And heres where it gets difficult while debug eboots could originally be found using the develper network that hole was closed a long time ago. Now you will need a private source for the latest ones and these are closely guarded secrets for fear of these also being lost to Sony.

Ok so you have your latest DEX 4.20 firmware and have located the required EBoots from your source you are good to go? Not quite. A further limitation of DEX is they use a different PSN/SEN to normal retail units. Known as the developer network this is only populated by other (mosty official) ps3 debug units meaning MW3 against your mates is out of the question. So is store access and any plus features you may subscribe to.

At this point it starts to become clear that PS3 DEX Developer/Debug units are just that. Consoles aimed at developers and debuggers who want to create homebrew of games for the system.

Anyone wanting to play the latest games online with their friends will still need a dongle or working ps3 jailbreak 4.20 or 4.21 method.

One final note that anyone who is going to attempt the route of converting their CEX to a DEX PS3 should take note of is DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS WITHOUT A FLASHER! That cant be stressed enough. As this method does not require you to own any sort of PS3 firmware flasher to successfully convert you PS3 many people will just dive straight in. For this to work you will need to have correctly calculated the various tokens and keys so that the firmware can be corretly modified before installing. Get this stage wrong and you will 100% brick your console. At least if you have a flasher then you can back it up before attempting the conversion.

Due to the obvious brick risk the files needed to do this will not be front paged but they are available to try in the members area if you are feeling brave.