EZ-Flash IV vs ELink

Discussion in 'GBA - Flashing Hardware and Software' started by thebib62, Mar 12, 2011.

Mar 12, 2011

EZ-Flash IV vs ELink by thebib62 at 2:17 AM (6,187 Views / 0 Likes) 31 replies

  1. thebib62
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    Newcomer thebib62 Advanced Member

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    So I'm looking for the best possible GBA flash cart out there. I'll be using either flash cart mentioned above only on a GBA SP or Micro... it won't be used in my DS.
    The most important thing to me for a GBA flash cart is the performance. I read the EZ-Flash IV review from here http://gbatemp.net/index.php?showtopic=32250 and it said that the GBA performance/compatibility was perfect, aside from it not having a real time clock, so you wouldn't be able to play the pokemon games without patching them first.

    Then I saw another member recommend the Elink since trying to find an online store that still sells the EZ-Flash IV is kinda difficult. So my question is, is the Elink's GBA performance/compatibility the same if not better than the EZ-Flash IV?
    Or, if you have any better suggestions for me, please feel free to post them here.

    Big thanks to anyone who can help me out here. [​IMG]
     


  2. Pyrmon

    Member Pyrmon Burnin' Monkey Love

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    I think you've got it backwards. Several stores sell the EZ flash IV, but I haven't seen an E-link in forever.
     
  3. Takeshi

    Member Takeshi GBAtemp Addict

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    I honestly don't know which one is easier to buy nowadays and I don't have an Elink cart so I can't really compare the two.

    This would keep me from buying it.


    GBAtemp - Elink review
     
  4. thebib62
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    Newcomer thebib62 Advanced Member

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    Thanks for that review of the Elink. It certainly changed my mind in getting one now.
    I managed to find an online store that still sells the EZ-Flash IV... supposedly, a lot of times online stores will have things on their site that has been out of stock for years.
    The site is
    http://0shippingzone.com

    Does anyone know if they are a trusted site/seller of GBA flash carts? I don't want to end up buying a bootleg/fake version of the EZ-Flash IV.
     
  5. Pyrmon

    Member Pyrmon Burnin' Monkey Love

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    Yes, they are a trusted site. They are one of the sites recommended by GBAtemp actually.
     
  6. thebib62
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    Newcomer thebib62 Advanced Member

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    Ah, ok. Thank you both for all your help. Hopefully their not sold out of those EZ-Flash IV carts.
     
  7. how_do_i_do_that

    Member how_do_i_do_that Blue Wizard is about to die.

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  8. thebib62
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    Newcomer thebib62 Advanced Member

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    I don't really mind having to wait for the GBA rom to load. I just want the flash cart that has the best GBA performance/compatibility. Does the Elink have good GBA performance/compatibility?
     
  9. FAST6191

    Reporter FAST6191 Techromancer

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    With external software or the odd patch just about every GBA rom can be made to run. Granted some official (or not so official but popular) programs have better abilities in patching roms than others but when it comes down to it there is little stopping GBA roms from running.

    The only things that will really have trouble are the supercards (you can still find a few of these) and the really old (as in near launch) GBC era cart based devices that use slow memory.
     
  10. thebib62
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    Newcomer thebib62 Advanced Member

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    Thanks for the info on that Fast6191.

    Can someone here tell me if the EZ-Flash IV can be used as a media player on GBA?
     
  11. FAST6191

    Reporter FAST6191 Techromancer

    pip
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    It lacks the specialist software or something like GBAMP or some of the stuff the M3 team did (I have no link but at the time it was known as the GBA alpha walkman) but it should work with the other homebrew aside from pogoshell
    Neimod's player which is probably the best GBA music player outside of specialist stuff ( http://www.gameboy-advance.net/emulated/mu...nce_gba_mp3.htm ) has no header which will need to be rebuilt to work on the EZ4- flash advance toolkit and GBATA should be able to get it sorted between them.
    Tepple's GSM http://www.pineight.com/gba/#gsm is probably the next best option although there are a load of MOD players ( http://members.iinet.net.au/~freeaxs/gbacomp/#MOD%20Players as a simple starting point) and I think something for the NSF format somewhere).


    Video you have the meteo video codec and I think something from caimans although the latter was never released to the scene as it were (it was a commercial project seeing use in a few games but also odd licensing conditions and a few demos). You are more or less limited to 16 megabytes for GBA homebrew (you can go the full 32 if you want but it is not really worth it as it you then need to rewrite the NOR all the time) meaning you will be lucky to squeeze two minutes out of it at anything resembling acceptable quality (I heard rumours of people managing to squeeze a 12 minute cartoon into 32 megs but never managed to get it sorted).

    Generally speaking multimedia on the GBA with a flash cart alone is not really worth the effort in light of the sort of hardware you can pick up in cheap shops these days.
     
  12. thebib62
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    Newcomer thebib62 Advanced Member

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    Are there any tutorials on the programs/homebrew you listed? I never followed the GBA scene when it was alive... because back then, I didn't even know what flash carts were.
     
  13. FAST6191

    Reporter FAST6191 Techromancer

    pip
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    Can't believe I forgot to link up meteo
    http://www.gameboy-advance.net/video/meteo...video_codec.htm

    Tutorials- if you are really going to go for it OK.

    Meteo- it supposedly works with just about everything that has VFW options (an older way for video to work with windows but most setups have some legacy stuff). Usually though I dropped it to straight up lossless frame by frame video (it will be huge but compatible) with no fancy lossless codecs.
    At the time I used http://www.virtualdub.org/ but you can use what you like these days. It should spit out a working GBA file, you might have to fix the header but GBATA http://www.no-intro.org/tools.htm should be able to take care of that.

    Audio player advance
    This one did cause a bit of trouble but http://ezflash.sosuke.com/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=15842 should sort it.
    GSM player
    http://www.pineight.com/gba/gsm/

    The readme should have it all.
     
  14. thebib62
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    Newcomer thebib62 Advanced Member

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    Well I was able to get MusicPlayer Advance, Meteo, and GSM player all working! I thought fixing the "header" would be much more complicated, I didn't know all it took was a single click of a button that says "fix header"... lol. When I hear header... I think of video game music file type headers... so that kind of threw me off. Anyways, thanks a lot for your help on this matter. I'm going to enjoy my EZ-Flash IV so much more now!
     
  15. Coto

    Member Coto GBAtemp Addict

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    FAST is quite right. GBA hardware itself is very limited.

    I did the very same steps some years ago (not too much hehe), and if you ever want to know this:

    You can also run NDS executables from EZIV, like moonshell. And get good benefits from the SD slot in EZIV as storage for multimedia files.

    Once you get all this "header patching" it´s the same if you ever plan to run NDS executables off EZIV (or any slot 2 device out there).

    GBA hardware will be limited by the amount of RAM running the app itself.

    NDS hardware will behave the same but with extended capabilities (due to better hardware/extended peripheral access) . That´s why a dldi driver (NDS MODE) helps here, because it "talks" with external devices the app might access, like external storage support.

    Not to mention the low CPU resources a GBA can offer, besides low level volume output if you´re planning to use it as a media player, (hence the explanation above) i´d strongly recommend you to use EZIV in NDS mode (on a Nintendo DS) to squeeze both hardware, external storage and better music/video bandwidth.

    Everytime you´d want to replace MP3 inside a packed up .gba media player executable, you will need to recompile, limited to 16MB file size, or 32MB NOR .

    Say, fast, do you know some "sort" of video codec for GBA? I was amazed to see how a small but optimized assembly-efficient ARM CPU could get to handle stuff. Even DMA registers, but it required good (if not perfect) ways to do not sluggish the whole system once data was sent through RAM & CPU!
     
  16. Oveneise

    Member Oveneise GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    I have an EZ-Flash IV and it works perfectly, but you'll need to use the proprietary "EZ Client" to transfer your roms so they save correctly. I've gotten pretty much everything to work, but I still don't know how the heck I'm supposed to set up Pogoshell, so I can't help you there. I don't have an Elink, but if you want a great gba cart, I'd say go for the EZ-Flash IV.
     
  17. FAST6191

    Reporter FAST6191 Techromancer

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    Glad you got it working thebib62.

    @Coto
    The only GBA video I know of (aside from the likes of the actual GBA videos that are in the rom releases and things roms might use for intro videos or the stuff that has extra hardware- thinking GBAMP) is http://www.gameboy-advance.net/video/meteo...video_codec.htm and
    http://www.caimans.net/gbavideo/ (supposedly a few people did buy it in as a homebrew program- some commercial homebrew other than hardware did exist with http://www.bookreader.co.uk/ being one of the best).
    I have vague recollections of birslip doing some stuff for the GBA, he is best known for some of the early DS video work along with a few other choice DS homebrew programs but I could swear there was something.

    Strictly speaking both are commercial projects ( http://www.pocketheaven.com/ph/wiki/index.php?title=Meteo) but the first has been translated and most people ignore such things.

    +1 to the DS stuff as well. I would not really consider anything but mod files, text and the odd slideshow on the GBA but I have used my DS as a video player and music player on many occasions over the years.

    @Oveneise pogoshell was a very highly customised piece of code that on occasion relied on cart level knowledge (the GBA was limited to 32 megs of memory but if you did things like bankswitching (what the carts actually did to work) you could bump this up). To this end not many carts (even among what as now considered the top tier GBA carts) have the ability to use pogoshell in any really useful way. I am sure I will get corrected but frankly speaking at the end there was not much pogoshell could do that normal homebrew could not (for a while it was one of the only and then best mod players and I recall something with some NSF playback but that is about it). You do have the option of things like http://kuwanger.net/gba/plugin2gba/ though.
     
  18. thebib62
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    Newcomer thebib62 Advanced Member

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    @ FAST6191
    Could you list some of those top tier GBA carts? I'd like to know what they are if I ever stumble across them online anywhere.
     
  19. FAST6191

    Reporter FAST6191 Techromancer

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    "top tier GBA carts"- my apologies that was something of a badly chosen term. Chances are your EZ4 will do everything you want to do on the GBA and then some and depending on the person you are speaking to the EZ4 can be considered among those.

    What it can be taken to mean is these days if someone wanders along with a true GBA era device like an EZ2 or EZ1, an EZ3, a f2a, a Xg2, an EFA, an EZFA (note nothing to do with EZFlash), a x-rom and to a lesser extent things like the g6 and GBAMP or early m3 cards (these were still great but more into the DS era) and says "I would like to sell this" and names a price around $50 to $100 (space differences and all that, some of the really big GBA era stuff like an 8 gigabit (1 gigabyte) EZ3 will probably fetch higher than that) it tends not to hang around long or see anybody try to haggle, that list is far from exhaustive as well.

    It does not necessarily mean you will have an easier time of things and teams were as flakey then as they are today (XG kind of became neoflash, EZFlash are still around, m3/g6 aka gbalpha are still around although they were relative latecomers and supercard just about appeared in the GBA but their GBA devices were awful and that is before you get into the behind the scenes stuff (see the guy named "Borden"- a Chinese engineer who founded and/or worked for several of the big teams of the era and indeed is often associated with their best work) and you might still have to use third party tools to flash the things (see littlewriter), find a machine with a parallel or serial port (doable but getting more and more rare these days), patches (see http://bubbz.pocketheaven.com/ ) and other tools for saves (see GBATA- http://www.no-intro.org/tools.htm ).
    Even then the carts might not have RTC (it seems pokemon remained popular and some people do not like the patches), might be GBA battery hogs (we got some lower power NOR chips during the GBA era resulting in a few new versions of things- see EZ2 "powerstar") or otherwise be awkward (these DS carts, even the "bad" ones, are incredibly well polished).

    Anyhow enough of my prattling about years past.
     
  20. thebib62
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    Newcomer thebib62 Advanced Member

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    Awesome, I'll keep that list you posted.
    As to METEO, you said the size of the GBA file can only be 16MB or 32MB if you rewrite the "NOR" what is that, and how can I do that on the EZ-Flash IV? Could you post a tutorial on how to do that, and can you say how difficult it is to do? What happens if I try loading a GBA Video rom that is over the 32MB files size limit?
    Also, would I have to constantly "rewrite the NOR" with an Elink? And finally, could you list some good flash carts that are still easy to obtain today that allows 32MB (or larger... if that's even possible on GBA flash carts meant only for the GBA and not the DS) GBA files, without having to rewrite the "NOR"

    Sorry for all the questions, but I'm a complete N00B when it comes to the GBA scene. [​IMG]
     

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