I am not sure where to start...from what I have been reading, after I get a PS3, I need to upgrade/downgrade to 3.55, and run the custom firmware in order to play games from my hard drive....I guess I am kind of lost on which route to go, and what is needed to get a game on the hdd....for instance max payne 3. There are several tools out there I see, and a lot of fake websites offering a jailbreak for 4.21 and such...so it is hard to figure out what direction I need to be heading...Can someone point me in the right direction please?
(First, there is no 4.21 jailbreak, there is no jailbreak above 3.55, all are fake, stay away. If its not on Ps3crunch, its fake)
If you can find yourself a PS3 that is already on 3.55, or below 3.55, it makes things much easier. If your ps3 is 3.56 or above, you have to perform a hardware downgrade to get to 3.55 (soldering a E3 or progskeet to the ps3). Also, some of the newer ps3s cannot be downgraded, and thus, cannot have modified firmware on them. Once you have a capable ps3, you can use various custom firmwares, that allow you to use a package called MultiMan (thanks Dean), to rip games to the internal hard drive, or an external fat32 formatted hard drive. Because of decryption keys, there is a good chunk of games that you cannot play. 3.60 decryption keys were leaked recently, so it opened up a good lot of new games to play with. If a game was released as 3.60, or has an update signed with these 3.60 keys, you'll be able to get it working on your 3.55 ps3.
There was another leak recently, that lets you convert a 3.55 ps3, into a debug or test unit. It use to be a risky method, and could end up with a bricked ps3, but recent advances and tutorials make it much easier. With a converted 3.55 ps3, you run different firmware than you would on a normal ps3. A CEX is a regular, retail ps3. A DEX is a debug or test ps3. Once you convert your regular CEX 3.55 ps3 to DEX, it opens up a few more options. You can still play all the same game backups of hardware as you did on a CEX machine with custom firmware. In addition, a DEX machine can upgrade/downgrade at will, so if theres a brand new game you want to play, you could install the newest leaked DEX firmware, insert your retail disc, and play the game. Once you get your fill with that game, you can downgrade back to 3.55 DEX firmware and again play games through a backup manager like MultiMan.
Dex firmware also contains a special BD emulator, that lets you play some of the higher firmware games off a hard drive, without the original retail disc. There is a special program that formats an external drive to a proprietary format, and allows you to install a maximum of 4 games onto it. There are numerous limitations to it, such as the game requiring an title update, as well as a need to use your computer to switch which of the 4 games you want to play.
For someone new to the PS3 scene, I would find a ps3 already on 3.55 firmware, install MultiMan, and start to learn exactly what a ps3 with modified firmware can do. I'm not sure if there is a way to play Max Payne 3 currently, either on a CEX or DEX machine, hopefully someone else can chime in. The whole DEX conversion process, as well as the method to play games through the BD emulator, are a bit tricky, so I would avoid it. You have a HUGE catalog of games you can play on regular old 3.55 CEX machines, and that got expanded even further with the 3.60 key releases. By time you get through some of the classic must play games, who knows, maybe there will be a method released to play some of the brand new games.
(1) Procure a ps3 already on 3.55 firmware (or lower)
(2) Install Kmeaw CFW, or another modified firmware of your choice (lots of options)
(3) Install the newest MultiMan, and begin to rip your ps3 discs to your internal or external hard drive. (....or, find your favorite way of "obtaining" ps3 games online, and copy them onto your ps3)
(4) Play away. There is tons of homebrew, emulators, PSN games, etc. that you can mess around with.
PS3Crunch is THE place to be for help for any problems you may run into. There are tutorials all over the site that will guide you step by step once you obtain your PS3. Worst case scenario, make a new post, and ask for help. Don't be shy. One last thing, I'm sorry, but you cannot access PSN to make purchases or play with others.
PS. Please excuse any spelling or grammatical errors. I'm in a hospital bed, and not suppose to be on my tablet to begin with. Nurses don't let you have any fun when recovering from a surgery!
You can only play Max Payne 3 currently on 3.55 CFW by getting a true blue dongle and the max payne TB eboot, however I've heard 3.70 keys may be leaked in a month or so, so you may want to wait for that (may not happen who knows) instead of buying a True blue for just one game.
And everything stock2255 is pretty much if not exactly accurate from what I know (however i havent tried the dex thing not interested).
PS3 Slim w/ Rebug Rex 4.30.2, 500GB Internal, 1TB/3TB External; PS2 Fat McBoot w/ Hard Drive; Windows 7 x64 Ultimate
Last game finished: The Last of Us | Currently Playing: Metro Last Light
Actually, a hack was released the other day "yesterday?" over at eurasia that removed the 4 game limit and raised it all the way up to 255 games! It's good to keep an eye on things, so if something else comes along relating to this, I will post for you guys.
Both additions are great to know. I'm surprised to hear that True Blue actually released an crack for Max Payne 3. True Blue was something I never mentioned, so great to bring up as an addition. We are still waiting to see what they have planned for the future, and what Team E3 have planned (who have released numerous 3.60+ cracked games before the keys were leaked). Of course, if Max Payne 3 was your priority, I'd just purchase it and play it via a DEX method. (If your trying to avoid purchasing the game.... you may want to wait a little bit.)
I was completely unaware of the news from TLSS_N, so that's wonderful news. That could make things a lot easier.