PS2:PS2 Model Differences
Page content & researching collaboratively taken from io55.net's PS2 page with permission.\
There are two (or five) PS2 models, and a variety of revisions within two of them.
Models + Revisions
Models are arranged chronologically. Revisions are underneath their respective model.
“PlayStation 2 (original)” (2000-2004)
Commonly referred to as the “fat”, these systems have the most concise set of features, compared to the Slim. DVD drive + buttons, 2 memory card and controller slots, 2 USB ports, 1 IEEE 1394 port (earlier revisions), AV out, IR port (later revisions), and an expansion bay for the Network + HDD adapter. Quality and featureset varies by the revision. Typically the most reliable, with some variance across revisions.
The original launch model of the PS2, exclusive to Japan. These systems lack the expansion bay of later "fat" models, instead having a slot for a PCMCIA card (SCPH-10190). The card adds network functionality, and a connector for a proprietary external HDD (SCPH-20400).
The launch revisions of the PS2 in the United States, with the IEEE 1394, no integrated IR, etc. These lack the ability to use the DVD remote without installing software onto the memory card. Furthermore, they have pretty unreliable lasers that are prone to failing. Lots of motherboard/chassis sub-revisions exist for this revision, and for the most part, they don’t really impact the user. Their one positive is high quality motherboards, which are surrounded by metal shielding. Overheating may be an issue. Be careful with these and their varying reliability.
Japanese exclusive model with no US variant. Power consumption was reduced compared to previous Japanese models.
One of the two “ideal” fat revisions, and typically seen as the “best” by most. Has the IEEE 1394, no integrated IR, etc. These systems upped laser and system reliability, at the cost of increased fan noise. They’re also well built, and it’s possible to swap in the fan from a 50001 into this revision.
The other “good” revision of the fat PS2. These consoles don’t have the IEEE 1394 anymore, but have included an integrated IR sensor. This allows the DVD remote to simultaneously do a lot more, while taking less space (controller spot isn’t occupied by a receiver). It’s fans are also much quieter than any prior revision. DVDs will also play at a higher quality (default res is 480p, not i). However, some say they have “cheaper” build quality. One significant caveat is within the lasers, which normally are fine, but are prone to the rare “MechaCon crash” issue. Such an issue occurs when a certain drive chip “overdrives” the laser in response to a difficult-to-read or unofficial disc. This damages the drive mechanisms, and can even damage the chip itself. Because of this, it’s advised to steer away from using the drive or install a hardware mod such as the "PIC fix" to prevent such damage.
“PlayStation 2 Slim” (2004-2013)
A much smaller version of the PS2 that was manufactured for quite some time. These systems lose the extension port and the IEEE 1394, and often times required an external power brick. Furthermore, their individual revisions are quite hit-or-miss when it comes to homebrew, game compatibility, or laser reliability.
With the Slim, Sony removed the expansion slot and integrated networking. This results in the loss of easy HDD installation. However, this revision actually retains a full network adapter internally, which means a drive still can be installed via modding. In essence, this Slim is just a smaller 50001. However, the “shrinking” actually worsened their reliability, making them especially prone to the MechaCon crash & overheating. Note: 70001 has only Ethernet port; 70012 has both Ethernet and 56k line port.
Starting with this version of the Slim, the ability to mod in HDD support has been completely axed. Furthermore, internal chip changes cause these systems to run into game compatibility issues (notably, the I/O processor containing a MIPS R3000A CPU core previously used for backwards compatibility among other things was replaced with a PowerPC-based I/O processor called "Deckard"). In essence, this revision has none of the benefits of either the 70000s or the 77000s and above. They only come with minor negatives, so it’s best to avoid these. Homebrew is still possible.
Not much has changed with these, compared to the 75001, except game compatibility. Software changes starting from this revision improved compatibility with both PS1 and PS2 games, which in essence makes it a slightly better 75001. Homebrew is once again, still possible.
Sony’s “shrinking” trend has continued, as the 79001 is the lightest and smallest (internally) of all Slims. Otherwise, they’re pretty much the same as the 77001, with potential minor aberrations in compatibility with games. Homebrew still works fine.
Finally, the “shrinking” trend has reversed with the final Slim. This is because Sony returned to an internal PSU design with these systems, while also adjusting the external cosmetics slightly. Reliability has also been enhanced a significant amount. However, the one huge issue is that most all 900xxs are very difficult for homebrew, as a change to the BIOS disabled FreeMcBoot (the easiest method). The old firmware is found, with very few exceptions, on P-chassis consoles, which comprise most Fall 2008 (datecode 8C) and earlier units.
A DVR with a built-in PS2 released exclusively in Japan. Has a built-in Ethernet jack, as well as a built-in HDD. HDD was either 160GB or 250GB depending on the model. Some models also have an IEEE 1394 port. It was the first device Sony made that used the XrossMediaBar, which would later be used in the PSP and PS3. The console is incompatible with multitaps, limiting game selection to single or 2 player games. The system is also known for poor reliability, with its DVD laser and HDD having high failure rates. These parts can not be repaired or replaced due to software locks in the firmware, which has not been cracked as of 2022.
A 22" 1366x768 Sony Bravia TV with a built in PS2. Has a built-in Ethernet jack, but no HDD support. PAL exclusive, and extremely rare.
Throughout the life of the PS2 several "Debugging Stations" were created for game developers. Both fat and slim models exist. These models can be identified by a model number beginning with "DTL-" instead of "SCPH-" as well as the word "TEST" written on top of the system. Debugging Station systems are region free.
https://shmups.system11.org/viewtopic.php?t=61337 (community “bests”)
https://www.reddit.com/r/ps2/comments/a4iolm/what_ps2_is_the_best/ (community “bests”)