Best flash cart for GBA SP ?

Discussion in 'GBA - Flashing Hardware and Software' started by ravihpa, Oct 9, 2008.

Oct 9, 2008

Best flash cart for GBA SP ? by ravihpa at 10:43 AM (4,973 Views / 0 Likes) 26 replies

  1. ravihpa
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    Member ravihpa GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    Hi guys,

    My little cousin sister has a new GBA SP. Her mom bought it for her, and now am thinking of gifting her a flash cart for her birthday [​IMG] I know a good lot about NDS flash carts, etc., but don't know anything about one which would work great for a GBA SP [​IMG] I currently own an R4 and would like to have something similar to it for the GBA SP, aka just copy and paste the rom files to the SD card. No patching required.

    Any help in this would be greatly appreciated. Thanx a lot in advance [​IMG]
     


  2. Toni Plutonij

    Former Staff Toni Plutonij *has TrolleyDave & tiny p1ngy on moderating shelf!

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    You won't be able to find something like that because, it actually doesn't exist....
    Yes, there are some (very few) flash carts that will be able to patch ROMs on a go (but very few ROMs), and compatibility is bad..

    Main thing is that, without patching, you don't get save, and there GBA carts usually don't create saves on they own..

    Patching isn't actually problem at all.....You have a EZClient (something very similar to Rominator) and you just copy games to SD card with it, and the program will patch games for you!!

    Now, at this time, your best option is EZ Flash IV (watchout, DON'T buy compact version, it has bad bad GBA compatiblity, it's very limited, look for a deluxe version)....
    You can get this cart from DealExtreme.....I personally don't own it, but people reported that it's great cart with great price (most of GBA carts are rather expensive, and hard to find)..
     
  3. raulpica

    Supervisor raulpica With your drill, thrust to the sky!

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    Instead it does (well, did...) exists [​IMG]
    EFAII (not the one you can find on DX now, that is only a larger EFA I Simple) did that and pretty good too.
    Compatibility was over 90% [​IMG] The only games which needed patching before drag'n'dropping them were the one with EEPROM saves [​IMG]

    I would say EZ Flash IV too. I'm gonna get one soon myself... as my EFA I Simple has problems on SiS chipsets and I have to use my old PC for that. Seeing that I still have to patch, I'm gonna go for an EZ IV... at least it has removable memory and no motherboard issues [​IMG]
    Otherwise you could get an EFA I Simple, but it still requires patching and it's a bit lacking in functionality (at least the new one DX is selling...) [​IMG]
     
  4. Toni Plutonij

    Former Staff Toni Plutonij *has TrolleyDave & tiny p1ngy on moderating shelf!

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    I know there are few those carts, but they are very hard to find, and compatibility is lower than with others, usually mentioned carts (EZ Flash series, M3 series or even G6)..

    And I just wanted to point out that patching isn't some hard process, but only copying games on SD with a manger/client that does it automatically..

    My first suggestion is always M3 Lite Perfect (with GBA casing).....but they are really hard to find these days, and if you mange to find them...they are like $80, $90 a piece..
     
  5. raulpica

    Supervisor raulpica With your drill, thrust to the sky!

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    There's only one of them, and it's the EFA II [​IMG] Well, there are only few EEPROM-saving games out there, the rest are SRAM and they work great.

    Old M3s are really rare those days and they fetch really high prices. They had a really good GBA compatibility, iirc [​IMG]
    I still have my (broken) M3 miniSD somewhere [​IMG]

    Yeah. Patching is really easy, nothing to be scared of [​IMG]
     
  6. Toni Plutonij

    Former Staff Toni Plutonij *has TrolleyDave & tiny p1ngy on moderating shelf!

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    Well, my main goal was to point that out!!

    But the bottom point is......EZFlash IV is the cart to go now!! It's cheap, sturdy, design is pretty nice (so it seems), and most important of all, it's available!!
     
  7. ravihpa
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    Member ravihpa GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    Wow...thanx a lot for all the help guys. Really appreciate it [​IMG] And the reason I was not particularly in favor of patching was that some few NDS games in R4 require that ARM7 fix or something like that, and I never got around to patching them myself [​IMG] But if it's really that easy to patch those GBA games, then it's not gonna be a problem at all [​IMG]

    I checked out the review of EZ-Flash IV here at GBAtemp....and in the pros and cons section it said....

    Cons:
    -No real time clock
    -NDS compatibility needs improvement
    -Lack of proper documentation or directions

    The last 2 are not gonna be a problem as it's gonna be used in the GBA SP, but what about Real Time Clock ? Is it needed in a lot of games ? I guess there must be a patch for those as well [​IMG]

    Again, thank you so much for helping me out. [​IMG]
     
  8. kobykaan

    Member kobykaan GBAtemp Addict

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    Am I the only one that swears by EZFLASH III DEV KIT inc EZWRITER II card writer??

    it has REAL TIME CLOCK .. I have 2 of these a 1gigabit and a 2gigabit and they are still going strong 2 or more years later [​IMG]
     
  9. Toni Plutonij

    Former Staff Toni Plutonij *has TrolleyDave & tiny p1ngy on moderating shelf!

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    Well, there are only few game using RTC, and most of them are Pokemons...

    Yes there is a patch for every game that requires RTC, so you (your sister) won't have problems playing them..
    And ARM7 fix is more complicated than patching GBA games....as I said, you just use manager to copy ROMs to microSD.....it's as simple as that!!

    EDIT:
    Haha, I have EZ Flash II Power Star including EZ Writer too.....and it's such amazing cart, mine is 512 Mb, and I love it..
    But those carts are hard to find now, and they are more expensive than EZ Flash IV (or some others that DX offers)..
     
  10. raulpica

    Supervisor raulpica With your drill, thrust to the sky!

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    They're not being sold anymore [​IMG]
     
  11. ravihpa
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    Member ravihpa GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    Cool....thanx a lot [​IMG]

    Edit: Say guys...I was going through all the GBA flash cart reviews and came to know there is a feature called RTS, which is Real Time Saving. Is it needed ? or is it good ? I don't think the EZ-Flash IV has that feature.
     
  12. Vague Rant

    Member Vague Rant Deceptively cute

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    If you've ever used an emulator, you might know real-time save as "save state". It basically writes the game's current state to a file, which can be loaded later to resume the game from that exact moment. As an example, you might make a real-time save immediately before a difficult boss; now you will be able to load your real-time save if you lose; essentially giving you infinite lives.

    It's not an essential feature, but whether you need it or not is up to you.
     
  13. Toni Plutonij

    Former Staff Toni Plutonij *has TrolleyDave & tiny p1ngy on moderating shelf!

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    Very nice answer!!

    This is correct....I don't know for other carts, but M3 Lite Perfect has that feature..
    It's kinda like cheating, because it makes game easier..(But can come in handy if you have to go to lunch, or have to stop playing, but you're far from the save point in the game....then, it's good to have it)..

    It's actually a matter of personal preference!!
     
  14. ravihpa
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    Member ravihpa GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    Hmm....so lets say if I wanna buy a flash cart that has this feature, then which one would you recommend ? [​IMG]
     
  15. Toni Plutonij

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  16. ravihpa
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    Member ravihpa GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    Wow...the price difference is huge [​IMG] Anyways...thanx a lot. I guess I'll go with the EZflash IV [​IMG]

    Thank you so much for all the help guys [​IMG]

    Edit: Any site you guys would recommend that ships internationally to India ? I checked out ishopvideogame.com, and they have the EZ-Flash IV. Is there any other site that I should check out the prices on ?

    Thanx again [​IMG]
     
  17. Toni Plutonij

    Former Staff Toni Plutonij *has TrolleyDave & tiny p1ngy on moderating shelf!

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    Hmmm..DealExtreme, definitely.....They ship for free Worldwide...so check them out..

    I know they had it in stock..but I'm not so sure anymore....

    But you should definitely check them out..
     
  18. cracker

    Member cracker Nyah!

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    +1 for Deal Extreme. Just be forewarned that you may end up buying way more than a flash cart. DX is a very dangerous place to go when you have some cash to spend. [​IMG]
     
  19. takieda

    Member takieda GBAtemp Regular

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    I just came across this whole thread, and I might have a bit of insight to provide. When it comes to high quality flash carts for the GBA/SP/Micro that have external memory, there are really only two good options, which have already been pinpointed. I have both, and I'm regretting getting the EZFlash 4. I have a couple of the older versions of the M3 - the M3 Perfect, and the M3 Mini Perfect, neither of which fit flush, which is unfortunate. I'm looking to get a couple of the M3 Perfect Lite's which is a good thing I found this thread (I've been waiting for Jandaman to get a shipment for god knows how long).

    Here's the comparison that may make or break it for you (I'm not going to list things they both have identically - like they fit flush).

    EZFlash IV:
    Pros
    $30ish (maybe less if you can find it without the reader)
    Works flawlessly with most all GBA games. Works with all GBA homebrew (haven't found any that don't support it)
    Has 256Mb of flash memory to copy over the one (maybe 2 or 3) games that require it - Riviera Promised Land - I just have it permanently copied over. (IF there was a problem with any game that isn't RTC related, this flash memory will also fix that - once again though, haven't experienced any problems)
    Uses a miniSD card (though MicroSD cards are easier to find, a good MiniSD card just feels more sturdy and is less likely to disappear).

    Cons
    Has no real time clock, so games requiring that require additional patching
    The interface. First thing is having to deal with the interface being in a different language - pain to get it working in English. Once in english ALL help texts are poorly wrapped in boxes (middle of words cut off to next line), misspellings, etc... General skinnability is high but does not allow modification of the help texts.
    The system automatically defaults to the flash memory when you select the Games icon, basically meaning you ALWAYS have to hit A (on the icon) to get back to the Roms menu. This gets tedious over time.
    No Real Time Save.
    Near impossibility of removing the MiniSD card - no springloaded design, and without a pair of pliers, it seems like you're going to break it every time you try to remove it. At this point I actually find it easier to dismantle the cartridge to remove the card for fear of doing damage to the MiniSD itself.


    M3 Perfect Lite:
    Pros
    Works flawlessly with nearly all games. All GBA homebrew works - period (this is stated as the EZFIV doesn't have an RTC and some homebrew may require it).
    No Flash memory needed. It has 32MB of built in memory that the system uses, but no games need to be copied over to the memory to work (again, for only 1 or 2 actual games).
    Supports MicroSDHC - yeah, I know, who needs 8GB or more of space on a GBA cart... I have not tested anything above a 4GB that's not labelled as an SDHC card, and I watched development of the firmware until it supported SDHC - it's been ages though, so I don't fully know if it works flawlessly - at the least, you can still get up to 4GB cards, but they may have to be nonSDHC (bizarre concept, I know, but they do exist, I've found 2 4GB MicroSDHC cards - designed for cell phones that don't support SDHC but support FAT32).
    Real Time Save - It gives you 3 save slots to use for Real Time Save - which can also be used for any homebrew.
    Nicely skinnable interface - unfortunately, all icons must remain in their current location, but I've done some odd things with the interface.

    Cons
    $90ish (maybe less if Jandaman ever gets a shipment in)
    Sadly, one of the most talked about problems with the M3 is the bootup disclaimer screen. It simply states that the M3 is not endorsed by Nintendo - this is happening while the unit is being booted up and the general consensus is that if it were removed (IF it were possible) it wouldn't speed things up anyway - but people still complain about it.
    The interface is slightly slower than most other flash carts (esp. for the DS, but the GBA is notably a bit slower as well).


    In the end, aside from the pricetag, the M3 is a better cart overall. All in all it's just a much more professional cartridge, and I'm regretting having wasted the $40 I spent on my EZFIV, and wish I'd sprung for the M3 when Jandaman had it in stock.

    On an odd note, neither the M3 Perfect Lite, nor the EZFlash IV have a casing that's exactly the same as an original GBA cartridge. Both fit flush inside the GBA, but neither have the tabs on the side like you'll see with every other standard cartridge out there.
    On another oddly unrelated side-note (as it's for the DS), the M3 is also better supported, not just by the team, but also by homebrewers everywhere. Games like Quake DS can use the extra memory on an M3, and the Opera DS browser hack can use it as well (Quake DS recommends the use of both a Slot 1 and Slot 2 cart, and Opera requires it), however the EZFlash IV isn't supported by any of the hacks or homebrew out there for that (Quake DS suggests it *might* work, however, I've never gotten it to). Oddly, the EZFlash IV Deluxe IS supported for those things, but steer clear of that, as it has already been said that it has poor GBA compatibility.
     
  20. cracker

    Member cracker Nyah!

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    I believe Toni was actually thinking about the EZ4 Lite Compact with the statement about the GBA compatibility. The Compact version originally didn't handle GBA games at all but then it was revealed by the EZ Team that it actually did contain a small bit of PSRAM and they updated their loader to allow the loading of small games (~4.5MB is the max IIRC). However, the EZ4 Lite Deluxe is on par with the original EZ4 with GBA games and, in fact, also has more PSRAM and NOR.
     

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