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Overclocking a PS2

Started by RobIvy64, September 20, 2006, 09:42:37 pm

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RobIvy64

September 20, 2006, 09:42:37 pm Last Edit: September 23, 2006, 06:44:55 am by RobIvy64
Hello! Here is an article I wrote a while back about my experience overclocking the PS2. I get TONS of questions from people asking me to overclock the PS2. Enjoy!

___________________________________________________________________

If you own a Playstation 2, i'm *positive* you have experienced extreme amounts of slowdown at one point or another. Well being the overclocking type that I am, I had to take a crack at this.

I had a spare slimline PS2 that was donated for this purpose, so it was time to get started.

Examining the board, I noticed several crystals (about 8 or 9) on the motherboard providing different clock signals for different functions, but one stood out to me that was right next to the CPU: ~18 MHz. This oscillator is not labelled and the speed was determined by probing the signal with an oscilloscope.

The PS2's CPU runs at 294 MHz, with the GPU operating at exactly half this speed. My fear was that the GPU and CPU would share the same clock signal, but I had to test this to confirm it.

18 x 16 = 294. This was too much of a coincidence for me to pass up, it was time to heat up the soldering iron and pull out a 21 MHz crystal for installation.

After desoldering the original 18 MHz crystal and installing a 21 MHz crystal I reassembled the PS2 and turned it on. My fears were confirmed; the GPU and CPU were both running overclocked; with the CPU running at
343 MHz and the GPU running at 171 MHz. Overclocking the GPU causes the screen to roll, since it it outputting a fequency greater than 60Hz which most TVs cant handle.

Turns out the PS2 is impossible to overclock without causing problems with most standard TVs. The GPU takes the 18 MHz signal, multiplies it by 8 internally, and outputs the signal to the CPU. The CPU takes the GPUs internal clock speed and multiplies it by 2 internally, resulting in a 294 MHz clock speed. It wasn't successful, but I thought some of you might be curious. Cheers!

-Rob
"Console Mods" lurker

Ishan

Ever tried to intercept the signal BETWEEN the gpu and the cpu? It might be a good solution. Never looked @ the PS2 internal myself but maybe it's a good idea to check that :)

RobIvy64

September 25, 2006, 12:35:58 pm #2 Last Edit: September 25, 2006, 01:33:08 pm by Lawrence
No dice unfortunately. It is some sort of bus clock...the PS2's hardware is so screwed up.
"Console Mods" lurker

sebi1000

If the PS2 would share the same clock signal for GPU and CPU you can try to use a second clockgenerator for the CPU or GPU, but you have to cut the connection between the old Masterclock.
You can also change the 18MHZ crystal with a smaller one, so you can test the function of this crystal. If the PS2 works with a smaller crystal you can try bigger crystals then 18MHZ, but only in small steps like 18,2MHZ , 18,5MHZ ,  18,7MHZ ...
I tried this method at the N64 but a second clockgenerator doesn�t work.
Godd luck!

RobIvy64

QuoteIf the PS2 would share the same clock signal for GPU and CPU you can try to use a second clockgenerator for the CPU or GPU, but you have to cut the connection between the old Masterclock.


Easier said than done. See above post.

QuoteYou can also change the 18MHZ crystal with a smaller one, so you can test the function of this crystal. If the PS2 works with a smaller crystal you can try bigger crystals then 18MHZ, but only in small steps like 18,2MHZ , 18,5MHZ , 18,7MHZ ...


Done. Same results. No matter what you adjust this to, the CPU and GPU's clocks are going to rise, respectively. If you plug in a lower-frequency oscillator, then the CPU and GPU's clocks will decrease, etc.

At 21 MHz (343 MHz  CPU) the PS2 still booted to a rolling picture. The CPU and GPUs quickly warmed up to a higher tempurature than normal.
"Console Mods" lurker

Guest

any more progress on this???/
im very keen

RobIvy64

December 20, 2006, 05:52:45 pm #6 Last Edit: December 20, 2006, 05:53:42 pm by RobIvy64
Nope :(. I've abandoned the project really.

The information I know from my tests are in this thread if anyone else wants to step up and take a stab at it.
"Console Mods" lurker

blackevilweredragon

i might be getting a slim PS2 for christmas..  if you don't mind, i'll take a shot at it..  but, i don't know weather to do it in warranty, or out of warranty..  (is there a sticker on it?)

RobIvy64

Quotei might be getting a slim PS2 for christmas..  if you don't mind, i'll take a shot at it..  but, i don't know weather to do it in warranty, or out of warranty..  (is there a sticker on it?)

There is a sticker on it. Don't get a new one since the GPU and CPU are housed in a custom IC named EE+GS.

You want one with the EE chip (Emotion Engine) seperate from the GS (graphics chip). Early slim PS2s had these, but the newest ones from ~late '05 and up have the EE+GS.
"Console Mods" lurker

blackevilweredragon

hmm, well i need the newer slim PS2 for personal use (the early one had lasers literally melting the lens from being too hot, i hear the newer ones finally fix this)

i'll see if i can pick up a used PS2 (old one, original model perhaps), to try the mod...

RobIvy64

You'll need to probe the board and find a way to intercept the clock signal after it leaves the GPU and before it hits the CPU. That is, if it is interceptable.

Also, keep in mind that there are 38242089023 PS2 board revisions, so the early ones might be entirely different. I wouldn't put it past Sony.
"Console Mods" lurker

GZeus

I'm sure it can be intercepted, and if you find a crystal that's greater than 8x the main one, you can begin overclocking.

RobIvy64

QuoteI'm sure it can be intercepted, and if you find a crystal that's greater than 8x the main one, you can begin overclocking.

Not if the trace is located on an inner layer of the board.
"Console Mods" lurker

blackevilweredragon

exactly..  and being this isn't like older consoles, im sure it's in the inner layer part of the board..

GZeus

Not able to lift the pin?

blackevilweredragon

QuoteNot able to lift the pin?

not if the pins are like, DIRECTLY under the chip?

RobIvy64

You would have to use an SMD rework station to remove the chips (which are BGA mounted).
"Console Mods" lurker

blackevilweredragon

yea, and that's something i don't have..  I seriously WISH i had it, but i don't...

i'd have to figure out which trace is a clock..  that won't be easy, especially if you can't even access the pins on the chips...  you'd need schematics to pull this one off easily, and as Rob even said, there's like, MANY different revisions of the board..

GZeus

Quote
QuoteNot able to lift the pin?

not if the pins are like, DIRECTLY under the chip?

How is that a question?
I've never opened a PS2.
It does make sense that something like that would need piles of mins, though.

anonymous guy

could it be possible on a PAL ps2? many PAL TVs accept 50 as well as 60 hz signals... or do pal ps2's output 60 hz already?

RobIvy64

Quotecould it be possible on a PAL ps2? many PAL TVs accept 50 as well as 60 hz signals... or do pal ps2's output 60 hz already?

You wouldn't be able to overclock it by much for it to reach 60 Hz; possibly 1-5 MHz at most.

Hardly not worth the trouble for a performance gain you're likely not going to notice.
"Console Mods" lurker

Guest

Either way the PS2's CPU is halfway decent (not what Sony blew it up to be, but decent) but its GPU is sort of lacking in a lot of areas. Unless 3D transformation math is being done on the CPU I doubt it'll help performance much to overclock it.

Epicenter

Not again! damn you, cookies!
- Epicenter
Epic Gaming Admin

Lechkovitz

Quote from: RobIvy64 on September 20, 2006, 09:42:37 pm
Hello! Here is an article I wrote a while back about my experience overclocking the PS2. I get TONS of questions from people asking me to overclock the PS2. Enjoy!

___________________________________________________________________

If you own a Playstation 2, i'm *positive* you have experienced extreme amounts of slowdown at one point or another. Well being the overclocking type that I am, I had to take a crack at this.

I had a spare slimline PS2 that was donated for this purpose, so it was time to get started.

Examining the board, I noticed several crystals (about 8 or 9) on the motherboard providing different clock signals for different functions, but one stood out to me that was right next to the CPU: ~18 MHz. This oscillator is not labelled and the speed was determined by probing the signal with an oscilloscope.

The PS2's CPU runs at 294 MHz, with the GPU operating at exactly half this speed. My fear was that the GPU and CPU would share the same clock signal, but I had to test this to confirm it.

18 x 16 = 294. This was too much of a coincidence for me to pass up, it was time to heat up the soldering iron and pull out a 21 MHz crystal for installation.

After desoldering the original 18 MHz crystal and installing a 21 MHz crystal I reassembled the PS2 and turned it on. My fears were confirmed; the GPU and CPU were both running overclocked; with the CPU running at
343 MHz and the GPU running at 171 MHz. Overclocking the GPU causes the screen to roll, since it it outputting a fequency greater than 60Hz which most TVs cant handle.

Turns out the PS2 is impossible to overclock without causing problems with most standard TVs. The GPU takes the 18 MHz signal, multiplies it by 8 internally, and outputs the signal to the CPU. The CPU takes the GPUs internal clock speed and multiplies it by 2 internally, resulting in a 294 MHz clock speed. It wasn't successful, but I thought some of you might be curious. Cheers!

-Rob


I have a theory.
I always wanted to play ps2 games on PC monitors. I do actually, with the VGA cable, but as you may figure, I can only paly games that support progressive scan.
But. CRT PC monitors actually DO support interlaced scan. I know, I tried it myself. The problem is that the TV standards are not enough kHz signal for a PC monitor.
Now then. What if we multiply the ps2's clock speed exactly with 2, (and put some very powerful cooling on the chips) ? We would get exatly double of the refresh rate of the ps2. That would mean that a PC monitor would be able to display all the ps2 games. Of course you will never be able to play on a Tv set though.
Well, how does it sound ?

Chizzles

It sounds ridiculous - yay for VGA, boo for most games running 2x faster than normal, do what everyone else does and buy a high grade line doubler or deinterlacer.

NFG

Would not overclocking the PS2 also affect the sound, controller polling and all other aspects of the system?

l_oliveira

We have differential clocks generated by a PLL controller on the PS2. The same chip generates synchronous clock for the Emotion Engine and RDRAM chips. The GS uses 54mhz clock. On older PS2s the clock for GS comes from a 4 pin oscilator box.

Clocks for sound come from the IOP (It has a 16mhz clock which is multiplied internally to generate 33, 37 and 66MHz internally. A second 24mhz crystal is connected to it for the iLINK hardware on systems that have it enabled. Clock for sound and IOP I/O is generated from the 16mhz IOP clock and is 33mhz.

The Mechanics controller on newer units (units with IR built in) has it's own clock generator, too and the calendar chip built in, having them two clocks connected to it.

The possibility of overclocking the PS2 is dim not due to hardware design but mostly due to how it's software works. It's hardware is built with several asynchronous subsystems and overclocking would break the sync.

Attached is a copy of the section of schematics which covers the PLL IC which genetates clock for RDRAM and Emotion Engine chips.

Lechkovitz

Quote from: Chizzles on April 06, 2008, 10:48:37 pm
It sounds ridiculous - yay for VGA, boo for most games running 2x faster than normal, do what everyone else does and buy a high grade line doubler or deinterlacer.


That doesn't mean that games will run 2x faster! They will just have a higher refresh rate.

BTW I had an XRGB2 once wich is said to be the best quality upscan converter, and guess what. I think it sucked.

Chizzles

Some games rely on the refresh rate for timing - if you double the refresh rate on those games it will double the speed.

And yes, the XRGB2 does suck at line doubling interlaced video, that's why you buy an adaptive deinterlacer that only deinterlaces the area of the image that suffer from "toothing".  :P

Lechkovitz

Quote from: Chizzles on April 07, 2008, 05:05:47 am
Some games rely on the refresh rate for timing - if you double the refresh rate on those games it will double the speed.

And yes, the XRGB2 does suck at line doubling interlaced video, that's why you buy an adaptive deinterlacer that only deinterlaces the area of the image that suffer from "toothing".  :P


Hmm. that sound interesting. Can you recommend one ?

l_oliveira

Quote from: Chizzles on April 07, 2008, 05:05:47 am
Some games rely on the refresh rate for timing - if you double the refresh rate on those games it will double the speed.

And yes, the XRGB2 does suck at line doubling interlaced video, that's why you buy an adaptive deinterlacer that only deinterlaces the area of the image that suffer from "toothing".  :P


In fact most games do. Everything (console) up to the Saturn used the video interrupts for timming.
Some companies did fix their games (nintendo) so it would not look too bad. An good test would be pick a SNES game such as PAL Super Mario Kart and try it on a NTSC SNES.  It would play much faster.
Other companies like, for example SEGA would not fix their games (Sonic on the Mega Drive) for playing on the same speed as it does in NTSC, resulting on slower gameplay and musics... (LOL)

Well ... on PC, games use the system timer for sync so it can run on any refresh rate.

I'm not a programmer but I believe in the PS2 one can use either timers or just hook the game into the raster on the Graphics Synthesizer frame buffer.

Anyway, the last is not likely to be the method used on games that do support "Progressive Scan"

Datasheets for the clock synthesizer chip would help greatly on hacking this. I can at least provide the chip pinouts if anyone is really willing to attempt performing this mod.

Endymion

Quote from: Lechkovitz on April 06, 2008, 07:36:18 pm
I always wanted to play ps2 games on PC monitors. I do actually, with the VGA cable, but as you may figure, I can only paly games that support progressive scan.


Solve this problem, just use XPloder HDTV Player.

l_oliveira

Easy way (I said easy, not cheap) to play PS2 games:

What's needed:

Original PS2 games

Playstation 3 console (Needs to be eithar 20GB or 60GB of either USA or JPN. PAL work too but has no EE chip) matching the region of the Ps2 games

PS2 linux VGA cable or hack a suitable equivalent (I use a normal PS2 component cable and an adapter built by me with a mini DB15 and the 3 RCAs for connecting the component cable) Hacking the cable is not the best idea if you plan to keep it for TV connections.

Monitor which supports Sync On Green (SoG)

By setting the PS3 to run on 480P on RGB mode one can run ANY PS2 game supported by the PS3 in a VGA monitor that supports Sync On Green.

Sorry to change the topic but this kind of setup isn't documented anywhere I know of. I just wanted to share this.
I use it to play Final Fantasy XI on a 20 GB US PS3.

Lechkovitz

Quote from: Endymion on April 08, 2008, 06:24:44 am
Quote from: Lechkovitz on April 06, 2008, 07:36:18 pm
I always wanted to play ps2 games on PC monitors. I do actually, with the VGA cable, but as you may figure, I can only paly games that support progressive scan.


Solve this problem, just use XPloder HDTV Player.


I do. But it doesn't work with too many games.

Lechkovitz

Quote from: l_oliveira on April 08, 2008, 01:32:35 pm
Easy way (I said easy, not cheap) to play PS2 games:

What's needed:

Original PS2 games

Playstation 3 console (Needs to be eithar 20GB or 60GB of either USA or JPN. PAL work too but has no EE chip) matching the region of the Ps2 games

PS2 linux VGA cable or hack a suitable equivalent (I use a normal PS2 component cable and an adapter built by me with a mini DB15 and the 3 RCAs for connecting the component cable) Hacking the cable is not the best idea if you plan to keep it for TV connections.

Monitor which supports Sync On Green (SoG)

By setting the PS3 to run on 480P on RGB mode one can run ANY PS2 game supported by the PS3 in a VGA monitor that supports Sync On Green.

Sorry to change the topic but this kind of setup isn't documented anywhere I know of. I just wanted to share this.
I use it to play Final Fantasy XI on a 20 GB US PS3.


I've heard (and seen some samples on Youtube) that ps2 games don't look too good on ps3 's. In fact they look messed up big time

l_oliveira

The emulator has been updated a few times since the release of the console. It's pretty decent now (considering your PS3 is one of the ones with the PS2 CPU built in)
Indeed t was crappier in the past, even introducing graphic bugs on the games in some cases. But they're improving it.

It's not perfect though, I agree.

grokr989

I don't usually frequent forums but I was wondering if I could overclock my PS2 also a few months ago. I am happy to report that using the information in this forum and a service manual for the PS2 I found online, I am succesfully able to overclock my PS2. ;D At first I was discouraged from the results that have been posted. I have an early large SCPH-30001, which is perhaps why my results are different. Anyhow, I changed X101 to a 22.1184MHZ crystal. The exact part number is CS1022.1184MABJ-UT, whihch is manufactured by Citizen. I bought it from Newark Electronics online. The part is surface mount so it is a good replacement for the part on the board. I don't experience any screen rolling effects as others have posted.  8) I tested the overclocking with Odin Sphere which has very noticeable slowdown during parts of the game normally. With my overclocked PS2, the game runs with no more slowdown! ;D However, the sound also plays much faster. All the characters voices are sped up and higher pitched. It's funny to hear King Odin talking like a boy  :D Also, the sound gets out of sync with the onscreen dialog the longer the movie sequence. Aside from that, I am still happy with the results since it allowed me to enjoy parts of the game, especially some boss fights that were annoying becasue of the slowdown before.


Lechkovitz

Could you make kinda like a tutorial please ? with pics of that service manual ?
I might try to overclock myslef

Lechkovitz

Quote from: grokr989 on April 30, 2008, 10:23:25 am
I don't usually frequent forums but I was wondering if I could overclock my PS2 also a few months ago. I am happy to report that using the information in this forum and a service manual for the PS2 I found online, I am succesfully able to overclock my PS2. ;D At first I was discouraged from the results that have been posted. I have an early large SCPH-30001, which is perhaps why my results are different. Anyhow, I changed X101 to a 22.1184MHZ crystal. The exact part number is CS1022.1184MABJ-UT, whihch is manufactured by Citizen. I bought it from Newark Electronics online. The part is surface mount so it is a good replacement for the part on the board. I don't experience any screen rolling effects as others have posted.  8) I tested the overclocking with Odin Sphere which has very noticeable slowdown during parts of the game normally. With my overclocked PS2, the game runs with no more slowdown! ;D However, the sound also plays much faster. All the characters voices are sped up and higher pitched. It's funny to hear King Odin talking like a boy  :D Also, the sound gets out of sync with the onscreen dialog the longer the movie sequence. Aside from that, I am still happy with the results since it allowed me to enjoy parts of the game, especially some boss fights that were annoying becasue of the slowdown before.




After some research I have found the same chip on my scph-5000 model motherboard (GH-026)  named X-102, it was pretty much the same as x101 on your model. I have also ordred the same crystal you mentioned. Sadly my experience was a complete failiure :( I guess its because of the different mainboards. Oh wel...

grokr989

Lechkovitz,
I didn't have time to make a tutorial but I just found out I'm going to get laid off in November so I'll probably have more time to work on that. I'll look to see if I can find why it does not work on your version.  These days I just use an emulator so slowdown with games like Odin Sphere isn't a problem anymore as long as you have a decent machine to run the emulator.