Review cover R4i Gold 3DS Deluxe (Hardware)
Official GBAtemp Review

Product Information:

A couple months after the release of the Gateway 3DS we've seen a few more 3DS mode flashkits that allow you to play 3DS roms. One of these being the R4i Gold 3DS Deluxe was just released October 31st and is one first of the 3DS flashkits to come into the market. The R4i Gold 3DS Deluxe launched with only the ability to play 3DS roms but 4 days after its release the R4i Gold Team added in support for firmware spoofing (Allows you to play games that require firmwares higher than 4.5.) and region free (Allows you to play games from any region). How will this new 3DS flashkit compare to the Gateway 3DS? Will more teams working on their flashkits create a sort of competition in order to distinguish their flashkits by adding more features? Here's a look at a second generation 3DS flashkit.

Introduction 

A couple months after the release of the Gateway 3DS we've seen a few more 3DS mode flashkit that allow you to play 3DS roms. One of these being the R4i Gold 3DS Deluxe was just released October 31st and is one first of the 3DS flashkits to come into the market. The R4i Gold 3DS Deluxe launched with only the ability to play 3DS roms but 4 days after its release the R4i Gold Team added in support for firmware spoofing (Allows you to play games that require firmwares higher than 4.5.) and region free (Allows you to play games from any region). How will this new 3DS flashkit compare to the Gateway 3DS? Will more teams working on their flashkits create a sort of competition in order to distinguish their flashkits by adding more features? Here's a look at a second generation 3DS flashkit. 

I'd like to thank 3DSTown for supplying me with the review sample. 

Packaging and Contents

   

  

The white shell R4i Gold 3DS Deluxe Flash Kit is the same shape and size of a normal DS cartridge. It has a glossy black sticker on the front of the unit that says "R4IGOLD 3DS Starter". With the R4i Gold lettering being black with a gold background, the 3DS lettering being gold with a small red background, and the Starter lettering being gold with a black background. The white shell Flash Kit also doesn't have teeth to give it a bit of leverage between itself and the 3DS. The micro SD card slot isn't spring loaded which is a plus for those who don't like their micro SD cards shooting out of their flashkits. The shell is held together by little plastic pegs. The PCB board is a deep blue and all of the components are on the front side of the PCB. As for the grey shell DS Flash Kit that's included, it's the same shape and size as a normal DS game cartridge. Like the white shell Flash Kit, it also has a glossy sticker, however instead of having gold lettering and background it has a blue background and silver lettering. Like the white shell flashkit the grey shell DS Flash Kit's shell is not held together by screws or glue, but by little plastic pegs. It has no teeth in front of the contacts, and the microSD card slot is not spring-loaded. The PCB board is red and all the components are on the front side.

Design and Impressions

   

Comparing the price of the R4i Gold Deluxe flashkit to a SCDSTWO I was hoping for a bit more in terms of presentation. The SCDSTwo comes with a nice boxing, manuals, and a micro SD card reader. While the R4i Gold Deluxe flashkit doesn't come with any of that. I've noticed that on the R4i Gold Deluxe website that it shows the flashkits in packaging and say that it comes with a micro SD card reader. I'm not sure if it's because 3DSTown is trying to save a bit on costs or if I just got my reviewer copy before they could print the packaging but I didn't get any of the stuff shown on the website.Getting past the packaging and extras or the lack thereof, the quality of the white shell flashkit is a bit on the cheap end. The plastic feels cheap and the flashkit isn't very well secure and the lack of teeth on the back covering the contacts is a negative in my opinion. Many DS flashkits had issues with being read in DS' due to the flashkits contacts not getting enough leverage. Which adding teeth helped solve in later DS flashkits. Comparing the quality of the white shell Flash Kit to a retail 3DS game, you can immediately tell the difference. The Flash Kit doesn't have a notch on the right side and the plastic is a bit more rugged than that of a 3DS game cartridge. It's more on par with a DS game cartridge and even then it is a bit lower quality wise. Going onto the grey shell DS Flash Kit, the same plastic mold was used except with grey plastic. The shell is held together by plastic pegs one of which broke when I attempted to open it to take the PCB photos. I want to take the time to mention here that when you buy a R4i Gold Deluxe Flash Kit, that you are actually getting two Flash Kits for the price of one. One of them is for playing 3DS ROMs on your 3DS, and the other is a DS-Mode Flash Kit that supports DS ROMs and homebrew.

Set-up and Usage

The following is a collection of requirements:

2x microSD Cards: You can prepare, and use the R4i Gold Deluxe flashkits using one microSD card, however I recommend having two microSD cards. One that is at least 2 GBs in size to hold the grey shell DS Flash Kit firmware, along with the exploit installer. The other microSD card should be at least 16 GBs in size; due to the fact that the max size a 3DS ROM can be is 8 GBs. Currently, the largest sized ROM dumps are 4 GBs, meaning that you will need a microSD card larger than 4 GBs to get started. However a GBAtemp user by the name of 3DSGuy has created a tool that trims 3DS roms to a smaller size that would allow someone to make a 4 GB 3DS rom small enough to fit onto a 4 GB microSD card. His tool can be found in the download section below, and so far all the roms I've trimmed using it have worked fine.

A microSD Card Reader and SD card reader: Sadly, the R4i Gold Deluxe flashkits do not come with a microSD card reader. You will need one in order to drag/drop 3DS ROMs to the microSD card, as well as put the grey shell DS Flash Kit kernel files onto the smaller 2 GB microSD card. The SD card reader is needed to copy the required “launcher.dat” file.

3DS unit on firmware v4.1-4.5: At the time of writing this review the R4i Gold Deluxe only supports 3DS/3DS XL units on firmware 4.1-4.5. If your 3DS is on a higher firmware then you'll have to wait for the R4i Gold Deluxe Team to release an update. If you are interested in purchasing a 3DS/3DS XL then the way to make sure you get a compatible unit is to check the back of the box to make sure it says "Trademark of Nintendo 2012". This ensures it will have a firmware the R4i Gold Deluxe currently supports. The Pikachu 3DS XL, Black 3DS XL, and the Animal Crossing New Leaf 3DS XL, are units confirmed to have a firmware higher than 4.5. (For the US that is it in other regions the 3DS may come with a lower firmware and still be a special edition 3DS XL.) It's recommend that if your 3DS is lower than 4.5 that you find a retail game with the 4.5 update, and update that way.

1x SD Card (At least 2 GBs in size): All new 3DS units come with a 2 GB/4 GB SD card. A smaller SD card might work, but I have yet to try the exploit with one. This SD card is needed in order to store your games saves on, as well as to store the R4i Gold Deluxe flashkit required “launcher.dat” file.

Software Requirements

 Win32DiskImager
 R4i Gold 3DS Deluxe Firmware Zip (I can't link the files here directly due to legal issues.)
 Wood R4 V1.64   
 3DSGuy's Rom Tool & Instructions 

3DS SD Card Set-up:

  

Assuming you've already downloaded the R4i Gold 3DS Deluxe Firmware Zip file, open it in a program such as Winrar or 7zip. This is shown above in the first image. This archive file contains everything you will need to setup the 3DS' SD card. Once you have opened it you are going to want to go into the "Firm(3DS_Card)_2.0", in which you will find a file by the name of "launcher.dat". Extract that file to the SD card, and insert the SD card into your 3DS. The second image above shows this being done in the archival program, Winrar. Once that is completed you are finished with this part of the setup. The reason why we are putting the "launcher.dat" file onto the root of the SD card is because once the 3DS crashes from the corrupt strings in the DS Profile Settings, it turns to the SD card to read data. Once the information is read, the 3DS reboots into R4i Gold Deluxe mode which allows the white shell Flash Kit to function. So this is an essential step in setting up your R4i Gold Deluxe.

Grey Shell Flashkit Set-up

   

For this setup you must download and open the Wood R4 V1.64.rar file. Once opened, extract all the folders/files in it to the root of your microSD card. Insert the microSD card into the grey shell Flash Kit, and then insert the grey shell Flash Kit into your 3DS. This Flash Kit should show up as a game in the 3DS' main menu, after which you should launch it. After it launches you will be at a menu that shows the contents of your micro SD card. At this point you want to press start. You'll see a menu pop up and you want to select the "3DS Setup" option. From here you'll select which region your 3DS is and then press B. The exploit will be installed onto your 3DS. After it is you want to press the Home button and exit to the 3DS' main menu. 

   

What the R4i Deluxe firmware's "3DS Setup" option is doing right now is corrupting strings in the 3DS' DS User Settings in order to allow you to crash the 3DS in 3DS mode. This will then allow the exploit launcher to function. Now, go into the 3DS' settings, and into the other settings option, then proceed to press the profile option, and lastly the option that says Nintendo DS Profile. Your 3DS will crash, reboot, and you will be in R4i Gold Deluxe mode. You must go back into the Nintendo DS Profile setting, and crash your 3DS every time you turn it off. You must also run the "3DS Setup" option each time you use the 3DS' DS mode (ROMs, homebrew, etc), and do every step thereafter. 

White Shell Flashkit Set-up

 Now for the last steps to set-up your R4i Gold Deluxe to play 3DS ROMs. Assuming you have already downloaded the Win32 Disk Imager program, the next step is to navigate to your 3DS ROM collection. The 3DS ROMs have a file extension of .3DS. With the newest R4i Gold Deluxe update you can now flash any 3DS rom from any region onto the microSD card and have it play on any region 3DS system. With the microSD card plugged into your computer, start up the Win32 Disk Imager. This program is recommended to write the 3DS ROM to the microSD card. Once Win32 Disk Imager is loaded, be sure to check that your microSD card drive letter is selected, if it is not you may end up writing the ROM to another device.

  

Now click the folder icon in the Win32 Disk Imager program, and select your 3DS ROM. If you do not see your ROMs then you may need to change the file type to browse “All Files”. Once the 3DS ROM is selected, press the "Write" button. Click yes when it gives you a warning about corrupting the physical media. What you are doing right now is writing the 3DS ROM files to the microSD card, which will allows the 3DS to read the information off the microSD card using the R4i Gold Deluxe white shell Flash Kit as if it was an actual 3DS cartridge. Wait for the ROM to finish being written to the microSD card, and then put the microSD card into the white shell Flash Kit. Finally, Insert the white shell Flash Kit into the 3DS. The game should appear in the menu as a normal game as long as you are in R4i Gold Deluxe mode. Press A on the game, and watch the ROM boot.

    

The game should play exactly like an original retail version, but initially you might see a longer boot time. This is due to the R4i Gold Deluxe white shell flashkit searching the 3DS' SD card for a gamesave, if none is found it will create one on the flashkit itself. In order to permanently save the game you must let the game save, press the Home button on the 3DS, and then press X to exit the game and A to confirm. This allows the R4i Deluxe white shell flashkit to transfer the save from its memory to the 3DS' SD card. The saves are stored in .SAV format, so you can easily back them up to your computer by inserting the SD card into your computer and dragging the .SAV files from the root of the SD card to your computer. Enjoy your R4i Gold Deluxe.

Compatibility 

All games were tested on a 32 GB Class-4 AData MicroSd Card. The card was properly formatted using the Panasonic SD Formatter.

 

Etrian Odyssey: Millennium Girl - PASS
Fire Emblem: Awakening - PASS
Kid Icarus Uprising - PASS
Luigi's Mansion Dark Moon - PASS
Mario Kart 7 - PASS
New Super Mario Bros 2 - PASS
Pokemon X - FAILED (Error screen on startup.)
Pokemon Y - FAILED (Error screen on startup.)
Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers - PASS
Theatrhythm Final Fantasy - PASS
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds - PASS (Error screen on startup.)
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D - PASS

The below roms are ones that I've tested on the latest v2.0 firmware, and are of a different region than my 3DS XL.

Sonic Lost World - PASS
Hatsune Miku and Future Stars: Project Mirai - PASS
Mario & Luigi: Dream Team - PASS
Animal Crossing: New Leaf - FAILED (Error screen on startup.)

Majority of the 3DS roms I tested performed perfectly. The ones that did not have NAND based saving making it unplayable currently. All the other titles played perfectly with no slowdowns however like the Gateway 3DS there is a slight delay when launching a game. It takes a second or two longer to boot than a normal 3DS game but that's to be expected as it's trying to load the save from the 3DS' SD card. There were no slowdowns in the games and the R4i Gold Deluxe was able to perform perfectly with timing based games such as Theatrhythm Final Fantasy. 

Again like the Gateway 3DS the R4i Gold Deluxe is unable to use a game's online features. Attempting to connect to the internet in Kid Icarus: Uprising results in the 3DS giving error code "002-0123" which on Nintendo's website means that my 3DS is not close enough to my router. I moved so that my 3DS was only a few inches from the router but I was still getting the same error. Hopefully the R4i Gold Deluxe team will fix this issue sometime in the future. However local multiplayer worked between my retail copy of Mario Kart 7 and the R4i Gold Deluxe. 

Conclusion

As one of the first 3DS flashkits to hit the market after the Gateway 3DS the R4i Gold Deluxe definitely does the job. So far they've managed to match the Gateway 3DS in terms of software development by adding in region free and firmware spoofing to the R4i Gold Deluxe a few days after its release. However in terms of presentation and build the R4i Gold Deluxe is  lacking. The R4i Gold Deluxe flashkits came without packaging and without a micro SD card reader which isn't too big of a deal considering the Gateway 3DS only came in a blue plastic box. However packaging and a free micro SD card reader were advertised on the R4i Gold website as well as the 3DSTown product page. Moving on we have the build quality which isn't too bad in terms of a flashkit but it's more on par with a DS flashcart than the Gateway 3DS'. A nice thing to note however is that the grey shell R4i Gold Deluxe flashkit works on the latest 6.3.0 3DS firmware so if you've got a spare updated 3DS the grey shell flashkit will work fine on it. In terms of support the R4i Gold Deluxe team has told me they're currently working on multirom, and other "big progresses". To really just sum up my feelings about this flashcart I'd like to say it's really perfect if you're looking to save a few bucks and don't really care about the build quality of the shell. It plays most 3DS roms perfectly and gets the job done. 

Update: 12/19/2013

The R4i Gold Deluxe team has released an update to the R4i Gold Deluxe adding in a GUI, emuNAND, and support for titles built on an SDK higher than 4.5. However its been made clear that the R4i Gold Team is simply copying the progress made by the Gateway 3DS team. They released their firmware after the Gateway 3DS Team did and the GUI the R4i Gold Team added in the 3.0 firmware is exactly that of the GW3DS' with some text changes. (They didn't even bother to change the GW icons and some people are reporting seeing the Gateway logo on the top screen upon booting the GUI.) My thoughts on this are that if you don't card about the build quality of the shell and the fact your card might lose support if the R4i Gold Deluxe team for some reason aren't able to copy the features of the next GW3DS update. 

Verdict

What We Liked ...
  • Easy setup and use
  • Ability to back-up save files
  • Works with most games
  • Local multiplayer works
  • Region free
  • Firmware spoofer
What We Didn't Like ...
  • No online gameplay
  • No automatic saving, requires you to quit game to home menu.
  • No homebrew (yet)
  • Requires a 3DS on older firmware
  • Uses cloned firmware
6
out of 10

Overall

Overall the R4i Gold Deluxe's build leaves a lot to be desired but the flashkit itself works and is currently on par with that of the Gateway 3DS software wise. It has the same game compatibility as the Gateway 3DS as well as the same features at the moment. However it has yet to be determined if they'll continue support for the R4i Gold Deluxe. So if you're looking for a cheaper solution to the Gateway 3DS with a lower quality build and don't mind the possibility that your R4i Gold Deluxe might not be supported software wise then this will be the flashkit for you. (I will update this if/when the R4i Gold Deluxe receives more support.)
Yep. I'm not a fan of the build quality or the lack of packaging but if what I've heard so far is true. They're actually developing the flashcart rather than just waiting for the GW3DS team to release their code and just copying it. So in essence it's the same as the GW3DS and does everything it can currently do.
 
R4i Gold 3DS Deluxe just released their 3.0 video, which shows us the emuNand function. We can not call it a "clone" because they also have the ability to develop their own firmware and they can develop many new features too.
 
I've in no way called it a clone. Once I get my hands on the 3.0 release I'll be updating my review accordingly.
 
Someone mentioned this can be found as low as $45, that's actually really cheap considering the DS mode cart itself is worth $15 so you are essentially only paying $30 for the 3DS mode cart itself as opposed to $50+ with the GW3DS which also has an inferior DS-mode cart that only works up to 6.1.
There are still some mentions of the GW3DS that are probably left in the review by mistake, namely in the setup section. Might wanna fix that @Devin
 
I don't quite get the idea that it's not just a clone because they're doing their own development. The review itself just describes region-free and firmware spoofing--something the Gateway already has, and the limitations exactly track the limitations of the Gateway. (You really think the need to go to the home menu for saving was a limit they would have kept in if this wasn't just a clone?)

Yes, you could argue the 3.0 video shows it's not just a clone, but if it was just a clone, wouldn't they be willing to fake a 3.0 video? You don't have anything in your hands which shows that they did any of their own development.
 
Certainly of cheaper quality than the Gateway, but good enough for people looking for something cheaper I suppose.
I am looking forward to the R4 3DS' future...
 
I have the R4i 3DS from the same manufacturer and it does feel flimsy and very "plasticy". That said, it has never failed me. I damaged the firmware early on by accident and purchased another card, a R4 3DS upgrade gold pro which was crap in comparison. Crashy and very "touchy" overall. It corrupted several roms which had to be copied back onto the card.

Overall, I trust r4ids to make a good card, Ill be buying this one and hope I am not let down. (I bought a DSi and fixed the card)
 
@jayjay123: why is 1 title at the time a problem?
For me, it makes you more concentrated on current game until you finish it.
 
The black chip is the chip that sets up the exploit, the white chip is the one that allows you to play your 3DS games. The black one is just a regular Nintendo DS flash chip, so you can use any other DS flash chip so long as you have the .nds file to launch the exploit.
 
  • Like
Reactions: elm
I just got them and it was really good. I knows that the black one can play nds games on that but I don't know how to add games on it? Does it work like the R4i 3ds gold?
 
super mario land 3d fail on this card and gateway, moshi monsters katsuma fail on both also
 
This review is missing the main issue with this piece of hardware. It's a mere bad copy of the Gateway. Some have felt this bad copy should be protested. Surely the fact itnis just a bad copy should make it into the CON category ?

There is also this report of a R4i Gold Deluxe dying after 30 minutes. http://gbatemp.net/threads/r4i-gold-deluxe-white-card-ed.359294/

Ideally this review would mention R4i's inability to produce their own products (despite saying they were trying to make their own flashcart).
 
@osirisjem: While it's a copy of the Gateway, bad or not, it's still a product out on the market. The review itself still has things that need to be updated, and also in regard to the report of a single user error, ONE error alone is not enough to degrade a review as defects happen frequently.
 
hi guys i tried using my samsung 32gb micro sd but iit doesnt work unfortunatelly. is there a compatibility list of 32gb micro sds? if not can someone provide me with a link to a 32gb that works for the r4i gold? thanks
 
@Devin - please update your review with the new information of r4i bricking alot of 3DS consoles. Future readers of your review need to know the risks of a product from a company that can't make their own firmware. I would also mention too that r4i is incapable of providing support for their product ... as they don't know anything about it.
 
Devin: "I hope the R4i Gold Team will be able to fix them"
Obviously that isn't possible. r4i doesn't understand anything about 3DS technology. Notta. r4 just bricked ALOT of their customer's 3DS and now all those people have dead a Nintendo 3DS ... that is unfixable. Your review was done before r4 let down all their customers. Please update your review to protect against GBATemp readers buying anything made by r4.
 
@osirisjem you know that Devins 3DS bricked with original gateway (sent directly to him from the gateway team and original GW files verified with hash)
So the brick is real on both Gateway and clones, Gateway have promissed to fix it for free if it's a legit GW brick. But only time will tell if the honor it or not.
No such promis has been made from the above clone. BUT in their favor atleast they now recommend a clone of 1.2 that is brick free.
Gateway don't even have a safe (1.2 or beta 1) on their download page and write that it's safe (when it's not as seen by the Apollo and Devin brick).

That being said: I would not buy a 3ds flashcard right now. It's better to wait a bit to see if there are brick code (or brick for other reasons in the final 2.0)...
The development of the MT-card is also worth following (but currently they only have multirom and they pictures indicates low build quality),
so here I would wait for more of the minimum requirements and a review of it after that. I wouldn't buy the clones since they copy/paste only.
(But if there is brick code in the final 2.0 aswell the clones might become the safer option and in that case even the clones would be an option).
Given the above I can only recommend not buying any 3ds flashcard right now....

I only have Gateway original and DSTWO and have never tested the clones or the MT-cards.
With the exception of the current situation with 3ds brickings to the left and right I'm really happy with my gateway card...
 
I guest that's how its done in the EAST but here in the WEST we don't put a kill code in are product firmware. case in point "team xecuter " their product are clone all the time they just have good product awesome staff and awesome forum if you need help someone is always their so they don't have to worry about customers they will have one for life !!we are not fighting for the same cooked RAT Cheese Burger MMM Good O Soe Sorry here in the west were we don't have to do sh!t like that GATEWAY !!!! And the Clone asshole who just cut and paste !!
 
Did anyone notice that the 3ds link manual now says to format system memory first, then set time and date to default before setting the 3ds up to use the flash card?
 
Why doesn't mine crash when i go into Profile, i do everything correctly, but instead of crashing, a pop up shows up on the screen saying "adjust settings for your nintendo ds and nintendo dsi software here. not all titles use these settings" i hit "OK" and nothing like a "crash" happens. I just get to choose my color and msg.
 
  • Like
Reactions: chungkee_pandita
can i play the new 3ds games for 9.8 on the V4.5 console with the R4i Gold 3DS Deluxe Edition? and how?
 
Review cover
Product Information:

Reviews

  1. PlayStation 5

    Sonic Origins

    Taxman finally gets his shot at recreating Sonic 3 & Knuckles. It's the exciting release every Sonic fan has been waiting for, right?
  2. Hardware

    Corsair H150i Elite Capellix

    Summer is here, so it might be time to look into upgrading your PC's cooling. Does Corsair have what it takes to beat the Summer heat?
  3. Xbox Series X|S

    Industria

    Indie developer Bleakmill’s debut title Industria is now available on PS5 and Xbox Series X|S. Described as an FPS with a surreal Lynichan atmosphere, does it have what it takes to be your new...
  4. Nintendo Switch

    Mario Strikers: Battle League Football

    Mario and friends strike back in the latest entry to the almost-forgotten footballing frenzy.
  5. Hardware

    Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Gen 2 MAX

    The Stealth 700 Gen 2 MAX from Turtle Beach is an officially licensed gaming headset for Xbox, but is also compatible across a range of devices with Bluetooth connectivity. Let’s take a closer look!
General chit-chat
Help Users
    KenniesNewName @ KenniesNewName: I still l like my wired earbuds