Hacking Disappointed with R4i Gold Plus from R4ids.cn

AnotherMuggle

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I have a growing collection of DS flashcarts and I have been keen to get my hands on the universally recommended cart, the R4i Gold Plus from R4ids.cn for some time.

Well I finally got my hands on one second hand. The cart is in good condition and seems to be the real deal and it's running Wood 1.64 from the official site.

Initially everything seemed great. The cart boots and games load fine. Then I noticed games don't run smoothly. A good example is Pokemon Black where the game noticeably lags at points. I was a bit surprised to see this and started swapping about SD cards and asked on an ACE3DS+ for comparison. Using the same SD card and just swapping the kernel exhibits the slow performance in the R4 but runs fine in the ACE.

All SD cards are genuine SamDisk Ultra class 10 cards purchased either for Argos or Curry's. Some are 16GB and some are 32GB.

Had I not seen the world was recommending the R4i Gold Plus as the best cart there is then I'd have ranked it below ACE3DS+, R4isdhc Gold Pro and various DSTT clones, based entirely on game performance.

So what gives? :S
 

Pk11

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Maybe try a different cluster size on an SD card, I don't have one of that flashcard so I don't know if this is relevant, but with nds-bootstrap some games (Gen 5 Pokémon being especially notable) are much slower with any cluster size smaller than 32 KB so maybe if they're formatted smaller it might help. dsi.cfw.guide has a page on how to format with 32 KB clusters: https://dsi.cfw.guide/sd-card-setup

(You can check the cluster size by making a 1 byte or so file and checking the "size on disk" in the file properties)

Dunno if this'll help but might be worth a try.
 
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AnotherMuggle

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Maybe try a different cluster size on an SD card, I don't have one of that flashcard so I don't know if this is relevant, but with nds-bootstrap some games (Gen 5 Pokémon being especially notable) are much slower with any cluster size smaller than 32 KB so maybe if they're formatted smaller it might help. dsi.cfw.guide has a page on how to format with 32 KB clusters: https://dsi.cfw.guide/sd-card-setup

(You can check the cluster size by making a 1 byte or so file and checking the "size on disk" in the file properties)

Dunno if this'll help but might be worth a try.
Hi Pk11, thanks for taking the time to reply. These SD cards were formatted with the TUXERA SD Card Formatter and they don't present an issue with any of the other cards. Regardless I will take your advise and check the cluster size and try the tool from dsi.cfw.guide.

Edit: so I checked the cluster size which was already at 32K. I tried the GUIFormat tool and it made no difference, which is kind of what I expected. So yea, I really didn't expect this but I'll stick with my ACE3DS+ for now. I may upload pictures of the R4 in another thread in case someone can verify its authenticity.
 
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boots_n_cats

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Interesting. I've tested both of them side by and not seen a difference in games including pokemon, Castlevanias (known to stutter and crash esp with a slow SD card). Perhaps you have a bad specimen? Though I can't imagine what sort of defect would cause the issues you describe. In any event, welcome to the world of flashcart collecting. It's way cheaper than collecting actual games.
 
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AnotherMuggle

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Interesting. I've tested both of them side by and not seen a difference in games including pokemon, Castlevanias (known to stutter and crash esp with a slow SD card). Perhaps you have a bad specimen? Though I can't imagine what sort of defect would cause the issues you describe. In any event, welcome to the world of flashcart collecting. It's way cheaper than collecting actual games.

A good test, if you have Pokemon Black, walk from Pinwheel Forest towards Nacrene City. As the screen transitions from Pinwheel to Nacrene the game lags noticably on my R4i Gold Plus cart. I actually re-tested with some of my other carts and there is a small amount of slow down, but not to the same degree on various DSTT clones. Retail carts and ACE3DS+ are absolutely perfect, no slowdown at all.

I'm finding flashcarts very interesting to collect but I also have a very healthy collection of retail games. I've been playing DS since the very begining and only taken an interest in flashcarts in the last few years. I quite like this because it allows direct comparisons between flashcart and retail cart behavior.
 

boots_n_cats

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A good test, if you have Pokemon Black, walk from Pinwheel Forest towards Nacrene City. As the screen transitions from Pinwheel to Nacrene the game lags noticably on my R4i Gold Plus cart. I actually re-tested with some of my other carts and there is a small amount of slow down, but not to the same degree on various DSTT clones. Retail carts and ACE3DS+ are absolutely perfect, no slowdown at all.

What is the lag supposed to look like (stuttering, long pause, etc.)? I just checked this on pokemon white (don't have a black save). With two systems side by side one running on an r4i gold plus the other on an Ace3DS+ (well one of those 208 in 1 carts). I don't think I can tell a difference. TheAce3DS+ screen was black during the transition for a frame or two less than the r4i gold but my test setup wasn't very controlled and I was looking for a difference so I'm not certain I wasn't just imagining it.
 

AnotherMuggle

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What is the lag supposed to look like (stuttering, long pause, etc.)? I just checked this on pokemon white (don't have a black save). With two systems side by side one running on an r4i gold plus the other on an Ace3DS+ (well one of those 208 in 1 carts). I don't think I can tell a difference. TheAce3DS+ screen was black during the transition for a frame or two less than the r4i gold but my test setup wasn't very controlled and I was looking for a difference so I'm not certain I wasn't just imagining it.

Cool, thanks for taking the time to test. In the example given the audio is very slightly slower and the game is running at a lower framerate, this presents itself as slightly jerky movement and slower character animation. Interesting observation about the black screen being visible for longer - not something I had noticed.
 

ChiefReginod

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I had the same problem with Pokemon Gen 4 (never played 5) until I got a faster microSD. This might not be the only bottleneck but it certainly helped in my case. It's certainly possible that some flash carts or OSes aren't as efficient reading the same SD cards as others, and in those cases using a faster SD might actually help even if the same card runs fine on other flash carts. In other words, use a faster SD to overcome a slow flash cart's deficiencies.

Also, be aware that class 10 refers more to write speeds than read speeds. You'll find vastly different read speeds among the different class 10 cards. You can test actual read/write speeds with h2testw. I like to keep a text file with a copy of the results on all of my microSDs for reference.

And here's another way to check cluster size. Open a command prompt and type:

diskpart
list disk
select disk x
list partition
select partition x
filesystems

Check "Allocation Unit Size"

EDIT: Misread something.
 
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boots_n_cats

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Cool, thanks for taking the time to test. In the example given the audio is very slightly slower and the game is running at a lower framerate, this presents itself as slightly jerky movement and slower character animation. Interesting observation about the black screen being visible for longer - not something I had noticed.

I've tried to replicate the lag across a variety of flashcarts (Supercard DS/DSTWO+, EZ-FLASH V/Vi, Acekard 2, R4&TT clones, some slot 2 devices, the whole schmear) and really can't see anything. It's possible you are just way more perceptive than I am but I cannot see any lag or audio distortion following the screen transition. I don't have a real copy of the game to compare with but relative to each other the only thing I might be seeing is that longer black screen in the transition on the R4i Gold (measured it with a camera, it's 2-3 frames). On the older carts I used some Kingston 2GB SD cards that I know work well and on the newer ones a variety of SanDisk ultras from 32-128 GB bought at different times. I didn't try switching SD cards between carts so that remains an uncontrolled variable.

I'm kind of annoyed that I can't reproduce this tbh. I'm going to try putting a garbage sd card in and see if that does the trick.
 

The Catboy

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Try following this post
How To Install (Also refer to the Working Cart List) :
ALWAYS BACKUP your µSD to a backup folder on your PC BEFORE formatting!!!
Format your µSD with the SDFormatter
Formatting options : Overwrite format
I’ve never had those issues before and this is the method I’ve used to format my microSD card.
 

AnotherMuggle

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Here are some photos of my card, in case anyone can identify a problem such as a fake.

IMG-20210207-194909.jpg


IMG-20210207-194933.jpg
 
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The Catboy

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Likewise, I was just trying to figure it out. It's a free imgbb account and all looks OK till I add the links to the post. I might need to investigate on a PC instead of struggling on a phone.
That's the same card as mine and I've played through all of Black on this cart without any issues :unsure:
Have you tried formatting your microSD card with the tool listed above?
Side note, if you use the "upload a file" button at the bottom of your post, you can upload the picture and add it to your post that way.
 

AnotherMuggle

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That's the same card as mine and I've played through all of Black on this cart without any issues :unsure:
Have you tried formatting your microSD card with the tool listed above?
Side note, if you use the "upload a file" button at the bottom of your post, you can upload the picture and add it to your post that way.
Yeah that tool is the TUXERA SD Card Formatter I was referring to - I've come to trust it and always using it when formatting SD cards.

I guess by the sound of it the performance issues I'm talking about are not normal, so at least other people are less fussy :)

Oh and thanks for the heads-up on file upload - I assumed it was different to adding and image.
 
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