My in-depth Cobra USB review by Persian McLovin
I have had my Cobra for 2 weeks now and tested quite a few games and movies in different formats. The product is very good and feels special, and you instantly recognise that from the snake-skin themed box and black foamy protector around the dongle. Once I ditched dongles for CFW on 3.55 I loved it and one of the main reasons is that I don't have to switch on, reset, eject and all of that but the Cobra does not require you to do that. As long as it is inserted in one of the PS3s USB ports, you can boot, switch off etc in any way you please and without the dongle inserted at all the PS3 will act like a completely legitimate OFW on 3.55, which is cool.
One of the Cobra's main stand-out features is it can play region-free PS2 backups with no framerate-switching issues, I felt I should do some experiments with this (and I hope they fix the current frame-rate issues with different region PSX games in the future).
I have tested my original PAL and NTSC games on both a NTSC 60gb and a PAL 60gb although being in the UK my PAL collection is far greater than my NTSC one and the results are pretty much the same. The exceptions are always going to be titles such as the crap-fest that is Tekken Tag Tournament on a PAL 60gb which is to do with Sony's emulator and nothing to do with the Cobra. However, I tested my original PAL Tekken Tag Tournament on my CECHA01 (60gb NTSC) and it works flawlessly so yes, Sony were just lazy to fix this emulation issue on PAL 60gb/80gb NTSC PS3s (CECHC03/CECHE01 respectively).
These are the games I've tested so far on BOTH consoles with and without issues (specific titles will get analysed later in this review).
Ripping these games takes a while at times so I shall add more from my collection later (all are original rips unless a backup is obtained to prevent my sealed games from being opened), all are original no greatest hits or platinum.
Pretty much ALL of these games run fine although a few have minor graphical bugs to major issues on PAL 60gb's like for example on Silent Hill 2, the main character's leg will disappear and reappear randomly which is already known and is simply a bug from Sony's emulator. However when this title is played on a NTSC 60gb, this glitch no longer appears.
Deus EX (PAL)
Farenheit/Indigo Prophecy (PAL)
FIFA 2003 (PAL)
FIFA 2004 (PAL)
FIFA 2005 (PAL)
FIFA 06 (PAL)
God of War (NTSC)
Gran Turismo 3 (PAL)
Gran Turismo 4 (PAL)
Grand Theft Auto 3 (PAL)
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (PAL)
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (PAL)
Hitman 2: Silent Assassin (PAL)
James Bond 007: Nightfire (PAL)
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (PAL)
Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance (PAL)
Pro Evolution Soccer 5 (PAL)
Pro Evolution Soccer 6 (PAL)
Project Zero/Fatal Frame (PAL)
Quake 3: Revolution (PAL)
Rayman Revolution (PAL)
Rayman 2: Revolution (NTSC)
Rayman 3 (PAL)
Rayman M (PAL)
Red Faction 1+2 (PAL)
Resident Evil 4 (PAL)
Road Trip Adventure (PAL)
Shadow of the Colossus (PAL)
Silent Hill Collection - Limited Edition (Silent Hill 2, 3, 4: The Room - all PAL)
SSX Tricky (PAL)
Tekken 5 (PAL)
Tekken 5 (NTSC)
Tekken Tag Tournament (PAL)
Tekken Tag Tournament (NTSC)
The Getaway (PAL)
The Getaway (NTSC)
Virtua Tennis 2 (PAL)
WWF Smackdown: Just Bring It (PAL)
WWF Smackdown: Just Bring It (NTSC)
WWE Smackdown: Shut Your Mouth (PAL)
WWE Smackdown: Shut Your Mouth (NTSC)
WWE Smackdown: Here Comes The Pain (PAL)
WWE Smackdown: Here Comes The Pain (NTSC)
WWE Smackdown vs Raw (PAL)
WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2006 (PAL)
Battle Arena Toshinden (PAL)
Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX (PAL)
Descent 2 (PAL)
Driver 2 (Disc 1 and 2 - PAL)
Gran Turismo (PAL)
Metal Gear Solid (Disc 1 and 2 - PAL)
Rayman 2 (PAL)
Road Rash (PAL)
Rogue Trip: Vacation 2012 (PAL)
Silent Hill (PAL)
WCW Mayhem (PAL)
WCW Nitro (PAL)
WCW/nWo Thunder (PAL)
Worms Armageddon (PAL)
World's Scariest Police Chases (PAL)
WWF SmackDown! (PAL)
WWF SmackDown! 2: Know Your Role (PAL)
95% of all games that I tested are running fine overall but bugs that I have found are quite inconsistent.
If you are playing 'slobberknocker' mode on WWF SmackDown! Just Bring It, there are random crashes and I have tested this with both NTSC and PAL versions of the game but this occurs only on my PAL 60gb PS3.
Driver on PS1 sometimes crashes and at random displays a disc-reading icon for about a second during missions within undercover mode. This however may be down to my own personal rip, although my disc looks fine I shall obtain an alternative backup and test further.
The Getaway (PAL) does not boot at all, just kicks me back to the XMB and The Getaway (NTSC) hangs after the PlayStation 2 boot-up screen. I know this is not the fault of my copies because if I run the game via disk, it boots regardless of via Cobra CFW mode or OFW 3.55, definetly a Cobra issue. Not all bad considering it's the only game I have seen with this problem as I can just leave my copy in the PS3 but an issue nonetheless. This doesn't matter that much for me personally from a video-perspective either since the PAL version of The Getaway features an NTSC/PAL selector in the options.
Now for another issue but this one is a bit weird. Rayman Revolution (PAL) will not boot on a PAL 60gb machine (hangs at loading screen after saying "press start" but animation of Rayman on a rocket continues, doesn't freeze), although it will via original but the weird thing is that I can get the NTSC version Rayman 2: Revolution to boot flawlessly on a PAL 60gb machine.
This is a 100% Cobra issue as I have used another copy that is a PAL and the exact same thing happens.
Gran Turismo 4 NTSC does NOT work on a PAL 60gb for those who wish to take advantage of the 1080i exclusive feature on that version.
Ripping as I said often takes its time but gets the job done perfectly but somtimes there will be issues (obviously) if your discs have even the slightest scratch/dust/stains on them to not ensure a 100% backup as you will be greeted with an error message. I feel the overall transfer rate could be improved upon especially if you compare to the latest version of multiMAN, but its speed is by no means slow.
Make sure that you name both the .bin and the .cue file as the same name or the game will not boot at all and won't even show up on the game select screen. When obtaining backups from various sources, certain rips will simply not work so always make sure you have a genuine rip with the image kept 100%. An example for me was my sealed copy of Ico that I did not wish to open, for obvious reasons but when I obtained 2 different backups of this title there was a difference of only a few KBs between them but guess what? One worked and one didn't. If you have a .bin file without a .cue, use the useful tool that many of you may know called MakeCue as opposed to doing it manually, very useful tool.
When ripping via BDVD on your PS3, I recommend renaming each rip as you go one by one as it could get confusing unless you have memorised all your game IDs which I doubt because if you have well done but, I'm afraid you need some rehab.
I have used the dongle with multiMAN/other homebrew once I updated my PS3 to Cobra 3.55 CFW and have had NO problems compatibility-wise whilst using the Cobra USB.
If trying to play in discless mode via multiMAN, WWE SmackDown vs RAW 2011 is very buggy and with or without the attempt in discless mode various glitches occur such as freezes, no sound etc. With the Cobra I made a ISO with their ISO creator from their site and I have played the game discless with ZERO freezes, game runs flawlessly with Cobra. Popular games such as GT5 also work fine with cobra, discless/ISO included, but multiMAN does a fine job of this itself.
I have ripped 6 Blu-ray films (5 PAL region, the other NTSC) and the Cobra does what it says it does in playing region free Blu-ray movies. Same goes to the 11 DVDs that I tested.
Integrated FTP within the Cobra USB Manager is simple but more than adequate with fast speeds and solid connection. I've had no problems creating ISOs, deleting them, FTPing, making directories etc...all work well. One criticism I do have though of the Cobra USB manager is it looks like crap compared to the latest versions of multiMAN so this should be improved upon in future updates.
I have tested all my PS3 games and ALL of them work discless and in ISO form although I only have about 30 PS3 games.
I and others have complained about the Cobra USB Updater application that you use on your PC to update the flash memory/firmware of the device as at times it can not actually detect your dongle despite having the drivers installed on your OS. In my case I am running Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit and in the Cobra's user guide, their screenshots illustrating what you need to do, they are using Windows XP so maybe it is an OS issue. Regardless this needs to be fixed as I and others shouldn't have to pray that our device will finally update.
In conclusion this is one of the best purchases I have ever made in gaming as it FULLY unlocks the potential of your PS3 from a PlayStation perspective, especially if you have the best version of the PS3 ever made - the 60gb models, although preferably a CECHA01. There are however, with almost anything, issues with making this product perfect and I hope these issues are fixed when brought to the Cobra teams attention. As I previously stated, I have a lot more PSX/PS2/PS3/DVD and Blu-rays to test so maybe Cobra could open an official forum with a compatibility list for games regarding their bugs, performance, region and PS3 model factoring in respectively.
The other good aspect the Cobra offers is for those who do not want to put strain on their Blu-ray drive's laser or simply do not have a working Blu-ray drive at all, you pretty much never have to have a disc inserted. In the 2 weeks I have had the Cobra USB, I have not had to use the drive for anything outside of experimenting. This was a big selling point for me but as I said previously in my big collection I have only seen 2 games that do not work via disc and I hope this is rectified in a future update. Overall though, I am very pleased so far with the compatibility.
I personally do not care for "but Jay ef dahbul yoo!"...until it is actually released and I have actually used it without any of the bugs that the Cobra USB has (which isn't much), I could care less about that crap...especially with October at the earliest for release.
If money is a factor for the dongle...£20/$35 is a lot for you? Are you kidding me? Then get out of gaming as gaming in itself is an expensive hobby...you have a PS3 and a HDTV etc but can't afford a dongle that let's you do almost everything for free on a PS3? This is a dumb argument/myth that needs to die and I pity all those who use it as it's plain leeching, support good devs! Whether it's donating to the Rebug guys or buying this dongle DO SOMETHING and keep the scene alive!
Bottom line: If you want to truly unlock the potential of your PS3 and have the bonus of a fully backwards compatible model, play all games discless, PSX/PS2/PS3 backups as ISOs, play region free films and keep all the functionality of 3.55 CFW, the Cobra is for you and at £20/$35 it would be hard to turn down and not support one of the few significant developers of the PS3 scene.
good report...i was using a teensy++2.0 4 awhile.i would get a cobra im just waiting tell october to see what happens...thax 4 the info.
thanks for taking the time to write all that out for us.
awesome report :D Ive found rouge galaxy doesnt boot past the PS2 screen. which is mentioned in my tut. i find ironic how we are both linked to the same product. XD even more so i only emailed you a few days before hand with cobra related issues. thanks for the help though dood :D
No problem guys, I don't particularly think that paying for something when the free version is on the horizon is great but let's face it, those Einsteins at JaicraB would never have implemented PSX/PS2/PS3/Region free Blu-ray/DVD movies at all because the only guys that have (and currently have for months) have been the Cobra team.
I feel if you know you'll find their device useful for any of its unique features then you should support them because 90% of the whole scene is being driven by two things: E-ego and money. Because of what Sony has done though to freebie-ensuring devs, that has died down a lot from the whole Geohot, Matheiulh, Fail0verfl0w, scene to the money-making dongle scene that has pretty much got just the Cobra team going for it, so end-users who want to make the most of their PS3s are pretty screwed at wanting to see more developments.
It's a shame that it has gone like this but at least we have guys like Cobra, Rebug and even JaicraB to go with the awesome anonymous devs that are helping the scene along.
Can you backup DVD and Bluray movies and run them from NTSC external HDD ?
If the DVD's are protected, it will try to rip then fail. :( @Persian McLovin, yeah you did help out :D I emailed the Cobra team asking if they will fix the frame rate issue in PSX games, as its the weekend i will have to wait till monday for a reply from them.
Glitch's review, good as it is, didn't sell me on it. you sir have.
no disrespect Glitch, but i was just bamboozled by the Persian McSalesmen.
So if you're running Kmeaw already, does this basically just give you psx and ps2 compatibility?
dont take this the wrong way cuz your review was really good, but doesnt the cobra have a DOWNGRADING feature too that you forgot to mention? or did my eyes read it but just my brain not register it? anywho, so what do you recommend for someone like me, who has a second ps3 with OFW 3.66 who wants to downgrade and put CFW on it? should i wait for october to see what jaicrab rolls out? or buy the "slithering sexy snake" ;) , or sell my second ps3 slim for a another ps3 that has a lower firmware becuz your gonna say i cant downgrade from that firmware YET, ?? thanks again for the review
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