What is PSIO?
PSIO is simply a development cartridge that plugs into your PlayStation’s Parallel I/O Port. It allows you to instantly see your software running from an SD Card on real hardware, making it the ultimate developers tool, as well as making it invaluable for debugging. It is only for PlayStation 1 consoles that bare the Parallel Port I/O connection.
Is PSIO an emulator of PlayStation software?
PSIO does not emulate PlayStation software. PSIO is an emulator of the CD-ROM co-processor (SUB-CPU).
That being said, it is a hardware emulator, which, is almost identical to the original Sony CD-ROM MCU.
How compatible is PSIO with the PlayStation software library?
Out of all official 2,435 software titles, PSIO is so far 98.2% compatible. For more detailed information, please see the ‘Compatibility‘ database on JIRA.
Are there any modifications required for PSIO to work?
Yes. An internal modification is required. We have developed a small printed circuit board (PCB) that detects whether a PSIO cartridge is plugged in or not. We have called it the “Switch Board”. The Switch Board consists of nothing more than a 4066 Quad Bilateral Switch, a few resistors and a capacitor. More information may be found here, including the circuit diagram.
I don’t want to modify my PlayStation!
If you don’t want to touch your original console for nostalgic reasons, we suggest buying a second hand console and using it instead to have the Switch Board installed into. That way your original console stays the same and you have a used second hand unit to modify and play on.
Is the Switch Board a modchip, and will it let me boot copies of my software?
How do you pronounce PSIO?
“Sigh-Oh” or “Psy-Oh”, but you can also just say “Pee-Ess-Eye-Oh”.
How much is shipping for a PSIO cartridge?
It is free, and included in the total cost mentioned above.
Do you post Worldwide?
Yes. We ship to almost every country.
Can I pay by PayPal?
No. We refuse to use their services.
What payment methods are available?
The only payment methods available are Credit Card (via Visa and Mastercard), Bank Transfer and upon special request, Bitcoin.
How do I select my software images?
A custom built Menu System boots up each and every time you turn on your PlayStation, which is called the “PSIO Menu System”.
It runs on the PlayStation hardware directly, and allows you to select and boot software from the SD Card using the controller. Demonstration images of the Menu System can be found under the ‘Features’ tab.
How many lines of code does the PSIO consist of?
There are just under 20,000 lines, all hand written from scratch for the Menu System. The FPGA and ARM logic in total consists of triple that amount.
Can I skip the PlayStation ‘BIOS’ and ‘License’ screens with PSIO?
Yes, you can place a file on the SD Card called ‘FBOOT.BIN’ that will skip both of these boot-up sequences. For more information, please read the ‘Systems Manual’ (see our ‘Downloads‘ section for both of these files).
Can I boot my original PlayStation format CD-ROM’s like normal when PSIO is plugged in?
Yes, so long as the Switch Board has been installed correctly, there is an option in the Menu System to boot from the CD-ROM drive directly. You may also simply unplug your PSIO cartridge to return your PlayStation back to regular stock-standard operation.
Will my Xplorer and or Action Replay cartridges work like normal when plugged in?
Again yes, so long as the Switch Board has been installed correctly, you may unplug PSIO and plug in your other game cartridge where it will function perfectly normal.
Will DUAL-SHOCK Vibration and Memory Cards work?
Yes. All official licensed Sony (1st party) peripherals will work normally with PSIO.
Will PlayStation titles run at their original speed when using PSIO?
Yes. The PlayStation Parallel Port can handle up to 3 megabytes per second on the system bus. The original CD-ROM (at 2x speed) could read at a maximum of 352 kilobytes per second, so there is plenty of bandwidth available.
Will the PlayStation Power Supply Unit overload/overheat with PSIO?
No. Even if your cartridge somehow developed a short circuit, the internal fuses on the voltage rails would become open circuit first.
What regions will PSIO work in?
It will work in all regions. This includes PAL, NTSC-U/C and NTSC-J.
Do all software titles work on PSIO?
Not all software will run, and we are unsure what ones will fail without testing of each and every software title in its library.
With that being said, usually we can fix the problem with a firmware update if you let us know the exact problem.
You may however see what software has been tested here.
What format should my software be?
We recommend that your CD-ROM discs are ripped 1:1, without any errors whatsoever, as a *.BIN and *.CUE format. Other formats you may use however are *.ISO and *.IMG.
I see that my software title isn’t listed in the ‘Compatibility’ page. Will it work with PSIO?
Yes, your software title should work with PSIO. If your software does not work, please let us know, and we will flag it in the Compatibility section for others to know about. We will then start to look into it to try and resolve the issue when we can.
My PlayStation is a PAL system. Can I run NTSC-U/C or NTSC-J software on it?
Yes, however you will need to play over RGB video output. Otherwise, you will need to do a modification to the PlayStation mainboard in order to generate the correct colour frequency for your TV to accept and display an output correctly.
I have/had a modchip previously installed in my PlayStation by another user/company. Will that cause any problems?
What about Multi-Disc titles. Can I run titles such as Abe’s Exodus or Final Fantasy that use more than one disc?
Yes. Please read our ‘Systems Manual’ for information on how to set this up.
Can I watch movies/video?
You can watch video as a Sony STR format in a resolution of 320×256 at 15 Frames per Second in Stereo with 44.1KHz audio (MPEG frames interleaved with XA).
Can I use a Hard Disk Drive to play my software?
No. The USB port on PSIO is to stream software image data from a PC only.
What about the PSone (SCPH-100) and or SCPH-9000 systems?
The PSone and SCPH-900x series, will not support PSIO since they do not have a Parallel I/O port. To get around this, we may develop a special version that will not include the PIO header connector on the PCB. You will be required to solder 40 wires from PSIO’s custom pin design to the PSone or 900x mainboard manually.
When did you start working on this?
PSIO began as a concept on August 15th, 2010. It is a one of a kind device, and nothing else exists like it.
I can play my software titles fine on my PS3. Why would someone buy this?
The PS3 emulates PlayStation titles using a software processing technique instead of direct hardware. It is inaccurate, glitchy, and the PlayStation titles were never designed to be played like that.
What is the point of this product?
The PlayStation CD-ROM drive when brand new was decent quality. However, since the systems launch in 1994, the laser assembly has deteriorated, and it is impossible to find a brand new one since they are no longer made. The ‘new’ ones available online are fake, low quality replicas. Since then, software now freezes, music skips and sometimes games will not load anything at all due to this fact. PSIO removes all of these problems, and also decreases the load times dramatically since there are no more moving parts, and we have faster available bandwidth on the parallel port. With PSIO, you can literally shake the PlayStation console whilst playing a game and it will not skip nor freeze.