After a lot of hype, some skepticism, and a lot of fanfare, the Epsilon BIOS is finally released. Billed as one of the true Custom Firmwares, and one of the main reasons to buy the Undiluted Platinum modchip, it has quite a feature set. Among other things, it supports homebrew right on 2.71. We didn't have a modchipped PSP at the QJ labs to test it out, but given some of the early reviews coming out, it does seem to do its work quite well.
Here are some of its features:
1. Runs alongside 2.71 firmware, so you get all the features of 2.71 such as RSS feeds, web browser etc combined with the advantages of homebrew software and ISO loading.
2. Allows execution of homebrew software in kernel mode, removing all limits previously in place while running homebrew on firmware versions above 1.50.
3. Built-in recovery menu which can be used to to update your Epsilon BIOS installation or restore your PSP flash contents if it becomes "bricked".
4. Ultra reliable, near transparent UMD emulation allowing users to run their backups from a Memory Stick with ease, including games which require 2.0+ firmware without rebuilding the backup or relying on nasty hacks.
An excerpt from the User Manual:
"Epsilon BIOS can be compared to a "bootloader". It is stored on the U.P. flash memory and executed when your PSP is powered on. Once Epsilon BIOS is running it loads and "piggybacks" the real firmware from the PSP flash. Currently only 2.71 firmware is supported, you must upgrade your PSP onboard firmware to 2.71 in order to use Epsilon BIOS. If you attempt to boot Epsilon BIOS with an unsupported firmware version you will be taken to the recovery menu where you can upgrade the PSP firmware. The great thing about Epsilon BIOS is that since the "bootloader" always runs before the real firmware we can apply whatever patches are necessary to disable whatever protection Sony tries to add in the future, making a U.P. modified PSP using Epsilon BIOS very future proof."
While the feature set definitely sounds impressive, I'll be the first to stick my neck out and say that it still doesn't have enough to 'force' everyone to buy a modchip, unless they're stuck on 2.7+ firmware.
If this was a few months ago, I would have easily pestered myself to buy one of them chips, but looking at the really great programming coming out in the last few weeks, I'm not so sure now. Apart from the only advantage of loading kernel mode homebrew in 2.71, it doesn't offer any feature which the homebrew community haven't got.
But then again, let this not be a bad review. I am personally looking forward to the stuff which they can offer in the future. I do understand that given the minimal time frame they had to make this, they have really done a great job of packaging it all together. I'm sure that given a substantial amount of time, these guys can accomplish a lot of really great things, for the simple reason that they can work with a lot of hardware which will aid them.
Unfortunately, we can't give it out since it does contain a large portion of the official Sony firmware. If you have a modchip and haven't yet received your copy, please contact your modchip dealer.
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