If anyone even sells PS1 mod chips anymore, I imagine they would be dirt cheap. Of course, you'll need to know how to work a solder to install it. If you want to go that route, make sure the chip you buy is compatible with your specific PlayStation model.
The method I use is a PS-X-change swap disc. I happened to spot it on eBay a while back for like $6, so it was an impulse buy. It comes with a little sticker that you use to tape down part of your PSOne's lid so the console believes the lid is closed at all times, which allows you to swap discs in the first place. The drawback is that some multi-disc games won't work correctly. e.g. You won't be able to switch to disc 2 of Parasite Eve (*) since the game will be unable to detect when you've opened the lid on the console. I believe games that prompt you to save before switching to the next disc are fine though.
The swap disc allows you to play both burned discs and imports. (Only NTSC-J games on an NTSC-U console, though) For burned games, you need to make sure you're downloading an accurate rip of the game, and that you use quality media to burn it, such as Taiyo Yuden or JVC discs. The PS1 is very fickle about this. If the rip you've downloaded isn't absolutely perfect, or you're using some cheap media like Verbatim discs you bought at Walmart, then the games aren't going to work, or there's going to be shit like FMV stutter or random lock-ups.
* I get around the multi-disc compatibility issues by backing up my memory cards, running the game in an emulator on my desktop, and saving my progress after switching to the next disc. Then I copy the data back to my memory card and resume playing on my PSOne. I suppose it's a lot of hassle, though.
Alternatively, there may be GameShark codes for this sort of thing. The swap disc allows you to input GS codes before loading your game.
Never tried that brand, but this is the one I bought for my PSOne: http://www.ebay.com/itm/PS-X-CHANGE-Version-2-Play-imported-games-on-your-PS-console-/281295571856?hash=item417e85cb90:g:gYwAAOxyhXRTM3eC
It's more expensive than what I paid a couple of years ago. You may want to do some research and see if there are any sites that sell it for less.
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