Memory Card

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The PS2 memory card file system has a fairly simple design, with some allowances made for the limitations of flash memory. It's overall structure is similar to the well known MS-DOS FAT file system. It uses a file allocation table (FAT) to keep track of allocated space and a hierarchical directory system where all of a file's metadata is stored in its directory entry. Like the FAT file system, which groups disk sectors into clusters, the PS2 memory card file system groups flash memory pages in to clusters. On standard PS2 memory cards, the cluster size 1024 bytes, or 2 pages long.

  • The Superblock

The key to the PS2 memory card file system is the superblock. Located in the first page of the memory, this is the only part of the file system with a fixed location. While some things like the do end up in fixed locations on standard 8M memory cards, you shouldn't rely on this.

Block Nº Cluster Nº Page Nº Offset Length Name Example Description
0 0 0x000000 0x01C (28 bytes) magic Sony PS2 Memory Card Format Memory Card identifyer
0x00001C 0x00C (12 bytes) version Memory Card format version. ( = full support for bad_block_table map)
0x000028 0x002 (2 bytes) page_len 512 Page size in bytes (without ECC)
0x00002A 0x002 (2 bytes) pages_per_cluster 2 Number of pages in a cluster
0x00002C 0x002 (2 bytes) pages_per_block 16 Number of pages in an block
0x00002E 0x002 (2 bytes) not used FF00
0x000030 0x004 (4 bytes) clusters_total 8192 Total number of clusters
0x000034 0x004 (4 bytes) alloc_start 41 First allocatable cluster number. Cluster values in the FAT and directory entries are relative to this
0x000038 0x004 (4 bytes) alloc_end 8135 Cluster offset number after the highest allocatable cluster. Relative to alloc_start. Not used.
0x00003C 0x004 (4 bytes) cluster_rootdir 0 Cluster offset of the first cluster of the root directory. Relative to alloc_start. Must be zero.
0x000040 0x004 (4 bytes) bblock1 1023 Backup1 block number
0x000044 0x004 (4 bytes) bblock2 1022 Backup2 block number
0x000050 0x080 (128 bytes) ind_fat_table 8 Indirect FAT Table cluster number
0x0000D0 0x080 (128 bytes) bad_block_table -1 Bad blocks table (damaged blocks index)
0x000150 0x001 (1 byte) card_type 2 Memory card type (2 = PS2 memory card)
000x0151 0x001 (1 byte) card_flags 0x52 Memory Card features (0x01 = ECC support, 0x08 = Bad Block support, 0x10 = Erased state zeroed)
0x000152 0x002 (2 byte) not used FF
0x000154 0x0BC (188 bytes) unknown
0x000200 0x010 (16 bytes) ECC Error Correction Code. The last 16 bytes of all the pages are reserved for this code. See explain below
1 not used
Up to 7 Up to 15 not used
1 8
16 0x002100 0x210 (528 bytes) Indirect FAT Table FAT File System
9 18 0x002520 0x210 (528 bytes) FAT Table
Up to 15 Up to 31
Up to 4
5 40 80
82 0x00A920 0x210 (528 bytes) Allocatable Clusters
Up to 47 Up to 95
Up to 1004
1005 8040 16080
8041 16082 0x819120 0x210 (528 bytes) Reserved Clusters
Up to 8047 Up to 16095
Up to 1021
16352 0x83BE00 0x210 (528 bytes) Temporal Data Backup Block 2
Used to store the number of the block that is going to be programmed
Up to 8183 Up to 16367
8184 16368 0x83DF00 0x210 (528 bytes) Temporal Data Backup Block 1
Used to store a copy of the data that is going to be programmed to a block
Up to 8191
Up to 16383

A standard Ps2 Memory Card is composed by 1024 blocks, each block contains 16 pages of 528 bytes, for a total of 528*16*1024=8.650.752 bytes (0x840000)

Total ECC data is 16*16*1024=262.144 bytes

This gives an available space to store data of: Total-ECC = 8650752-262144 = 8388608 bytes = 8mb

  • Backup Blocks

Two complete blocks are reserved to deal with the possibility of the memory card being removed by the user when data is being saved. Writing data to card requires erasing and reprogramming an entire block

Before writing a block, both bblock1 and bblock2 are erased. Then a copy of the new data that is going to be written is stored in bblock1, and the number of the block that is going to be written is stored in bblock2. The block being programmed is then erased and writed. Finally, bblock2 is erased

Recovery caused by removal of the memory card is implemented whenever a memory card is inserted into the PS2 by checking bblock2, if it's not erased, then programming is assumed to have not been completed. The contents of bblock1 are then copied to the block given in bblock2. Then bblock2 is erased

  • Error Correction Code (ECC)

The data area of each page (512 bytes) is divided into 128 byte long chunks and for each chunk a simple [20-bit Hamming code] is calculated and stored in three bytes

The first byte contains the column (or bit-wise) parity bits, with the even groups in the lower nibble and the odd groups in the upper nibble. The second and third bytes contain the even and odd groups respectively for the line (or byte-wise) parity bits

The 3 ECC bytes for each of the 4 chunks are stored in order in the page's spare area for a total of 12 bytes

Source: [PlayStation 2 Memory Card File System - By Ross Ridge]