DriveKey Review

Discussion in 'Official GBAtemp Reviews' started by WildWon, May 22, 2009.

  1. WildWon


    Former Staff
    Apr 4, 2008
    United States
    8-Bit Heaven

    100% Solderless DriveKey
    Manufactured by: DriveKey team

    Review written by WildWon - 8th May 2009

    Review kit supplied by:


    Review Contents & Index:
    • Introduction
    • Contents, Packaging and Features
    • Hardware Installation
    • Usage
    • Conclusion
    Console modding has been around for years. PSX was the first system that really brought the idea of opening a system’s case, pull some wires, solder a chip in place and said system now reads burnt disks. But there has always been that one glaring word in this brief description, which has held back many potential modders (including myself [​IMG]): Soldering. Well, all that has changed. This chip has removed soldering from the equation by being installed in-line between the DVD-Drive and the rest of the system components!

    And it works wonderfully.

    I’m proud to bring you GBAtemp’s Offical Review for the
    100% Solderless DriveKey.

    Contents, Packaging and Features
    Coming from the wonderful people at OzModChips, a little paper envelope (insulated with bubble-wrap) arrived in my box, which contained:
    • 1x DriveKey
    • 1x Drive Ribbon Cable
    • 1x Tri-wing Screw Driver
    • 1x (flat) DriveKey Sticker
    • 1x (puffy) DriveKey Advertising Sticker
    • No solder required; Yes
    • No clip required; Yes
    • No software modification required; Yes
    • Plug and play; Yes
    • All chipsets compatible including EPOXY & D3 drives; Yes
    • Wii/Gamecube/ISO9660/Multi and DL ISOS compatible; Yes
    • Region free; Yes
    • Full Compatible with Geckos,Mplayer,Emulators & Homebrew; Yes
    • Updates blocker; Yes
    Hardware Installation
    The installation of the DriveKey is a cinch. Almost everything I needed came in the package. Other than the above items, a standard Phillips Head screwdriver is needed and possibly some electrical tape. More on that later;)

    How easy is the installation? I’m sure, if you’ve spent any time looking into modding, you’ve stumbled across any of the multitude of tutorials available for instruction on opening your system for adding any number of possible chips. Take a look at any of them, and after you cross the point of opening the shell and lifting the dvd drive from the rest of the Wii, stop! At that point, you disconnect the ribbon from the Wii to the DVD, check the region dip-switches on the chip (so it’s sure to be set to your region) hook the Wii cable into the "Wii" side of the chip, and connect the included ribbon cable to the "DVD" side of the chip and connect it to the DVD drive. Then you... oh wait, that’s it. You have two choices at this point. Grab some electrical tape, cover the chip, and stick it down (to prevent shorting) OR you can use the included flat DriveKey sticker! I know, its a minor pack-in, but its nice to include as many needed tools in the packaging [​IMG] Follow the steps in reverse (or find a closing tutorial) to close your system, and it should be good to go!

    Important note: As a special point, I’d like to mention that the first batch of DriveKeys sent out had some firmware/software problems (I’m not solid on spesifics), so i did have a bum chip. OzModChips were kind enough to send another chip, and their current (and future) stock is in working order, I only point this out if you order from Random Site, there could be a glitched chip, but the chance is rare.

    And a few photos-
    • Just for size reference:

      Open system, before installation:

      Bam. Installed.
    As in the case of the Ronco Rotisserie oven, this chip is very much Set It and Forget It. I’ve tried a few games, and they played flawlessly. I couldn’t tell any difference between a backup and a legit copy... which is what a chip should do.

    There are some options and features available which can be activated through the chips firmware. How would one access that? Simple, eject any game from the drive (if one is currently inserted) and press Eject (on the system) THREE times. The drive glows blue as if a disc had been put in, and the game channel acts as if a GCN game is ready to do. "Play" the game, and you’re taken into the settings menu of the DriveKey:
    • DriveKey - On/Off
    • Region Override - On/Off
    • Update Blocker - All/Import/Off
    • Wii Disc Autoboot - On/Off
    • Full GC Region Free - On/Off
    • Save Settings
    All options are self-explanatory and the inclusion of the Wii Disc Autoboot is a Godsend.
    The only downside to this menu is that you must use the RESET button, on the Wii system itself, to move down the list and change selections. A quick press will select the next item down the list, and a press of 3 seconds will change the setting of the item you have selected.
    Its not a bad thing, just a minor inconvenience. In fact, that could be the only negative thing about this modchip (from this reviewers standpoint).

    I am on a US NTSC Wii.
    The following games have been tested:
    • NTSC unscrubbed: House of the Dead 1&2, House of the Dead Overkill and Madworld
    • NTSC scrubbed: Super Paper Mario
    • PAL: Mario Kart
    • (J)NTSC: Tatsunoko Vs Capcom
    The only hiccup I've come across was while loading the scrubbed Super Paper Mario. Title screen loaded fine, then dropped to an error screen saying "unable to read disc." I ejected the game, it asked me to reinsert it and then it played fine. I exited the game, restarted it and didn't experience the problem again. So i don't believe this was a chip or burn problem, possibly dust.

    I haven’t modded, or should I say attempted to mod, a system in years, but my eyes are always open for new work-arounds for old problems, or just for the next new gadget. This chip is made in a new style that will boom in the coming months/years. If you’re new to the scene, have had your experiences or you happen to have an "unhackable" system, I highly recommend this product.

    I give the 100% Solderless DriveKey a rating of 9/10.

    • No solder installation;
    • Works on all Wiis (No worries about model!);
    • Region free;
    • Everything needed (aside from a Phillips head screwdriver) is included;
    • Plug & Play;
    • Upgradable via DVD.
    • Locked at 3x speed;
    • Doesn't have GameCube streaming audio fix;
    • DriveKey menu navigated via Reset button;
    • Doesn’t include Phillips head screwdriver.

    Review kit supplied by:

    External Links:
    - 100% Solderless DriveKey Website
    - OzModChips