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Best PS1 Model Version: Should I get the Original or PSone?

If you’re looking for the best PS1 model, things are a bit more complicated than they may seem. At first glance, there are only two versions, the original and the PSone, but the console underwent many revisions under the hood over its lifespan. Since you can get pretty granular with this, we’ll be giving a short and long answer to this question.

Which PS1 model should I buy: The short answer

The best PS1 model to buy for most people is the SCPH-7501. This version of the OG PlayStation is the first to include the revised CD drive that prevents the FMV skipping that plagued some of the earlier models. Additionally, it’s equipped with the PU-22 motherboard that features improved AV output and sharper graphics. It’s also the last model of the PS1 to include the parallel port, which is great if you’re interested in third-party peripherals. If not, then the SCPH-7501, SCPH-9001, or the PSone are great choices.

Which PS1 model should I buy: The long answer

PS1 Blue Debug Console
A DTL-H1100 debug PS1 console. Source: Jason Faulkner

If you’re a big PS1 enthusiast, you’re going to go one of two routes when picking out the best version for you: moddable or rare.


If you plan on modding your PS1 with a PS1 Digital HDMI output and an XStation ODE, you’ll need a PU-18 motherboard. These are found in the SCPH-550X models of the console. Luckily, these are relatively common, and you shouldn’t have a problem getting one at an affordable price at a used game store or eBay.

One thing to note on the topic of modding the PS1 is that the PS1 Digital is an advanced install. Even experts at soldering have issues with it. There’s no margin for error here; a mistake will probably damage the PS1 beyond repair. On the flip side, the XStation is a great intermediate project for those learning soldering.


If you’re looking for a conversation piece, you’ll want to look into finding a rare model of the PS1.

Debug Units

When developers had to test PS1 games on actual hardware, they used debug units. These have a custom blue (common) or green (rare) shell and aren’t equipped with any CD security mechanism. So, they’re both region-free and can play burned games without any modification.

However, the rarest debug units look exactly like production PS1 consoles. These were used at industry events and were intended to look low-key to prevent theft.

You’ll be looking for these model numbers if you want a debug unit:

  • DTL-H100X: Blue Debug
  • DTL-H1000H: Grey Debug
  • DTL-H1001H: Grey Debug
  • DTL-H110X: Blue Debug
  • DTL-H120X: Green Debug

Net Yaroze

Sony sold a black PS1 along with development software and documentation as the Net Yaroze. This package would allow aspiring programmers to learn about PlayStation development and was only available by mail order in the US. The tools provided were more limited in scope than official PlayStation development kits. Since the ability to play burned CDs wasn’t available on the Net Yaroze, games were limited to the size of the PS1’s RAM. Despite these limitations, it fostered an enthusiastic community and several professional developers got their start on this machine.


If you want to get really esoteric, try finding an SCPH-5903. These are the only PS1 consoles with white housing and contain the hardware necessary to play VCDs. There’s not a lot of info about this version of the PS1 aside from it being a limited release for the Southeast Asian market. I’ve set alerts for this on eBay and have only seen a handful pop up over the last few years.

Limited Editions

There are a few limited edition PS1 consoles. Some of the rarer ones were produced for contests, and less than a handful exist. You will likely never see these go up for sale; if you do, it’ll be for way more than the majority of us are willing to pay.

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