Firmware hack vs. flash card?

Discussion in '3DS - Flashcards & Custom Firmwares' started by Gadgetguy, Mar 25, 2016.

  1. Gadgetguy

    Gadgetguy Member

    Dec 22, 2005
    Toronto area
    Hello all,

    I have been away for a while (at the time I had a Gateway card). When I checked in today I discovered the existence of the firmware hacks.

    Amazing! However, people still are selling flash cards. Who would buy a flashcard if one can hack the 3DS for free with no need for one?

    Any ideas?

    And: I read the various tutorials about doing the firmware hacks - but nothing is really noob friendly. Would somebody have a pointer to a noob friendly description of the process and how its used to play 3ds roms after flashing is done?

    Thank you all for your reply / pointers
  2. Just Passing By

    Just Passing By GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

    Jan 3, 2016
    United States
    The only reason why people actually get flashcards now is for how fast it is. With cias, you can spend 9+ minutes installing a game to your home screen, but with Gateway for example, you just drop the rom file in your micro sd card and you're done. I, as well as the majority of people, just go with cias because there was a time when flashcards were good, but that time is gone with the free alternatives.

    After you downgrade to 9.2, you should follow this guide for o3ds:

    Or this for n3ds:
    Last edited by Just Passing By, Mar 25, 2016
    wurstpistole likes this.
  3. abdellbobo

    abdellbobo GBAtemp Advanced Fan

    Dec 28, 2015
    hey bro I recommend flash card personally I have the Gateway the firmware hacks (rxtools . pasta.cfw.reinand) using the gateway EMUNAND (custom firmware) and you don't play .3ds ROMs you play.cia ROMs (converting 3DS to CIA) installing games on the EMUNAND and if you don't have money go and get custom firmware reinand but if you have the money I recommend the Gateway.
  4. wurstpistole

    wurstpistole N3DS B9S

    Nov 19, 2015
    Gambia, The
    Gateway basically is also a custom firmware, with the only catch that it can also play 3ds files and doesn't need cia per se. The only "real" flashcard is sky3ds+ but I wouldn't spend the money on that. Get cfw on your device and be good.
  5. Ericjwg

    Ericjwg GBAtemp Psycho!

    Jul 2, 2015
    since games can be digital version that installed on your external storage...... flashcards is no longer useful as ds days....

    I think the internal or external storage very limited is one of the reason why flashcards existed...
    GBA... no storage...
    NDS.... none of ds title is digital version...
    3DS... follow the old gen.... but something has changed here:)
  6. CreAtor135

    CreAtor135 GBATemp's #1 Nothing

    Jan 10, 2015
    United States
    Ikeb, Ukuro
    Personally I use both Gateway and CFW, since each has an edge over the other in some aspect. However, if you're trying to gague which one to use, I'd say if you have the money and are in a position in which you can spend it, buy a Gateway. If you don't have the money, go with CFW. If you have the money but just don't wanna spend it, that's understandable, use Gateway. If you end up buying Gateway, I recommend using it alongside CFW, since they work well together hand in hand.

    A good tutorial for CFW I know of is this:

    Happy hacking!
  7. xtheman

    xtheman GBAtemp Guru

    Jan 28, 2016
    United States
    Ill list the pros and cons of each and let you decide

    Custom Firmware
    I choose Custom firmware. You choose now
    Rfire, gamecaptor and Gray_Jack like this.
  8. tipsytoto

    tipsytoto GBAtemp Regular

    Nov 8, 2011
    United States
    Gateway apparently has a cheat engine that is superior to most alternatives. Also it can load .3ds roms which don't need to be installed. If you've got a n3ds and dislike the painful process of removing thr backplate everytime you get a new game this convenience might be worth it, though you can install and transfer files to your n3ds via your network very slowly. Personally I have a gateway and don't use it anymore but if I was interested in a cheat engine I might break it out. A9lh kills it from a time saving perspective because whatever time I lose installing cias is made up for in the new boot speeds that come with a9lh. So unless you want that cheat engine, save your money.
  9. gamecaptor

    gamecaptor R.I.P. Densetsu. Legends never die!

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    Jan 22, 2004
    United States
    Hyrule most of the time
    I'm making the move from a Sky3DS+ to CFW. I'm keeping my Sky3DS+ around just to load NinjHax at this point.
    Just Passing By likes this.
  10. ewin00

    ewin00 GBAtemp Regular

    Mar 24, 2011
    well it would be cool if there is a gateway .cia version but i guess that wont happen
  11. GorrillaRIBS

    GorrillaRIBS Gigyas became tame

    Nov 15, 2015
    Personally I prefer software mods given that they're free, but while I've had no issues setting up CFW (and later Arm9LoaderHax, which is great) a few of my friends nearly bricked their systems. Something like a Gateway or a Sky3DS is much simpler to set up and use (from what I understand), which would be it's major advantage. Functionality-wise, with a flashcart you'd use .3ds roms while with CFW you'd use .cia, which you don't need to add a private header to to play online without getting banned - on a flashcart, though, you don't need to use your systems sd card, as the roms would be on the flash cart. I prefer CFW, but flashcarts have their benefits as well.
  12. xtheman

    xtheman GBAtemp Guru

    Jan 28, 2016
    United States
    Gateway would lose money for that and it is pointless because you would need to have a way to run unsigned code in the first place. Unless you mean a cia that boots gateway menu then this is what you want
    ewin00 likes this.
  13. Evilengine

    Evilengine GBAtemp Regular

    Jan 30, 2008
    Gambia, The
    Good Reason for Gateway if you are a HEAVY user: You can use 2x 128gb micro SD Cards. Internal formatted in Fat32 (not sure if it is working for old 3DS but it is working for New 3DS). Exfat format for GW. So you can put many many 3DS and Eshop games on the Gateway card and a shitload of roms together with retroarch on the internal SD. But I don't think many people will do this. Around 1 or 2 years ago a 128gb card was circa 100€, now it is 50€. As the library of good games is growing and growing it is a bit crazy to have that much space, but definately possible to fill it with quality.
  14. squee666

    squee666 Advanced Tech Pleb

    Sep 17, 2010

    you forgot to mention the part where you have to hit a Button to swap through games which can take forever
  15. crimpshrine

    crimpshrine GBAtemp Regular

    Jun 18, 2014
    United States
    If you don't like spending allot of time installing things (CIA is REALLY slow compared to just copying .3ds files to a flash card and playing)

    As an example copying 35 gigs of CIA's to a card and installing them would probably take you 5 + hours (1 hour to copy, over 4 hours to install)

    Where 50 gig of .3ds files would only be like 1 hour 10 minutes to copy and be ready to play.

    I use 35 gig compared to 50 gig of 3ds files because .cia does tend to take less space.

    Plus if you move things on and off pretty frequently, using CIA's beside being time consuming is pretty cumbersome to manage compared to just dealing with a filesystem with self explanatory .3ds rom names.
  16. The Real Jdbye

    The Real Jdbye Always Remember 30/07/08

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    Mar 17, 2010
    Sky3DS still serves a purpose as the cheapest way to get Ninjhax in some regions such as Japan (mostly useful for 10.6+ users where browserhax is blocked and Ninjhax may be the only way to get CFW) but is inferior to CFW in pretty much every way.
    Gateway is basically CFW with the added ability to run roms off a cart, and a pretty good cheat system, and it is a pretty solid cart overall and easier to use than CFW. Not many people are buying them anymore though, there's not much wrong with the Gateway, it just isn't really worth it anymore with CFW being widely available unless you really want either/both of those features and have some extra money and nothing better to spend it on.

    The short answer to your question is simply, they're selling it because they want money and there are always going to be people buying them either because they want the extra features, prefer ease of use or they don't know about CFW.
  17. cvskid

    cvskid GBAtemp Addict

    Apr 13, 2014
    United States
    With a flashcart, at least gateway 3ds, you dont need any extra setup/launching for out of region dlc to work, cfw needs ntr with language plugins.
  18. Gadgetguy

    Gadgetguy Member

    Dec 22, 2005
    Toronto area
    Thank you all, very helpful!