If you have an Xbox and want to make some asinine comment how you can do all this great stuff without having to buy extra crap, no one cares. This is a PS2 thread and all PDS will be deleted.
I bought a copy of San Andreas and starting playing religiously for a few weeks. What a great game, I enjoyed every aspect of it. The only downside was facing the huge magnitude of load times between scenes, It really made changing clothes, getting something to eat, working out, or going inside a safe house to save a game such a chore that it almost wasn't even worth exploring these parts of the game anymore.
So I set myself with a task. Figure out how you decrease the amount of load it takes between scenes without installing any 'mod' chips or 'hacks' that could block game play online. Being a computer guy, the first thing I thought of was CPU. I took my PS2 apart and started poking around. I saw the emotion cpu ( 300mhz ) and a few coprocessors, video memory, and a bunch of dust. The cpu is pretty much soldered to the mother board so upgrading the cpu was not an option. There was not any dip switches at all so over clocking seemed out of the question.
Next I did some research on possible bottlenecks. I found some cool technical specs that stated the main reason why ps2 games have such drastic load times is do to the 4x ( that's right four ) speed DVD-ROM. It can transfer data from 300k - 1200k per second depending on the condition of the game. That's slower then some broadband connections!!!
I did some research and tried to find out if there was anyway to upgrade the speed of the reader for the DVD-ROM. About the only thing I found was the ability to upgrade to a newer laser that had less of a chance of getting DRE errors.
Stumped, I did some more browsing and found this cool program called hdloader. It boasted the ability to use the Sony PS2 Network Adapter hard drive function and rip games to a disk which increases data throughput by almost 20 times.
WOW. That's a big increase in throughput and would defiantly get rid of data to cpu bottleneck. Fate was not here yet though, 3 days after the HDLoader software was being sold to the public, Sony came in and HDLoader decided it was best not to fight them. The software is pretty hard to find anywhere, if at all possible anymore
Upset, I did some more research and found out another company picked up where they left off, did some modifications and is now selling their software. I ordered the software as soon as I could whip out my credit card and three days later I was good to go. I've had a few people ask questions about this, so here is some more information.
Basic parts that you're going to need.
1. A generation 1 PS2 ( the new slim ps2 will not support a hard drive update: they have a usb version that fixes this
I bought mine used from a board member.
2. Official Sony PS2 Network Adapter:
I bought mine new at Fry's.
3. A hard drive that will fit ( I recommend Maxtor as some WD and Seagate models have fitment issues ) the networks mosix/ide connections:
I used a 80GB Maxtor Drive 7200RPM 8MB cache. The software supports up to 200GB drive, and people claim to have gotten 250GB drives to work. Keep in mind most games are 4GB, smaller games are 1 - 2GB.
4. HDAdvance Software:
I bought mine from www.consolepoint.com
as it seemed to be the cheapest. It was $30 plus shipping.
After you get all the parts, put everything together, hard drive to the network adapter, screw the network adapter into the PS2, turn on the ps2 and put in the hdadvance software.
After the software boots up, it will auto detect your hard drive, since its a new drive, it will ask you if you wish to format. Formatting takes about 10 seconds. Next it will go into the loader screen. This is the screen you'll pretty much always see. You'll want to rip your first game. Try using one that you always hated playing because of load times. I used Dragonball Z Budokai 3. As a benchmark, I counted how many seconds it took to load a fight scene before ( 16 Seconds ). After you put the disk in, click convert and then it will scan the disk and ask you to type in a name. After you finish the name, hit finish and it will rip the game. This process takes between 20 and 30 minutes depending on the game size and condition of the cd. After it has finished "convertion" ( lol at their misspell!! ), you will now be able to play the game without the need of your cd in the drive. After you play the game for the first time, you will defiantly notice an increase in performance an in some cases graphic quality as images are not being progressively loaded. I benchmarked the cut scene to fight in DBZ3, it was down to 2 seconds. HUGE increase in performance.
The next phase that I'm working on is getting the media player software to work so I can stream divx video from my computer, to the ps2, and play them on the TV.
That's pretty much it, if you guys have any questions, I'll try and answer them!