Flash Cards for a Nintendo DS Lite

Discussion in 'NDS - Emulation and Homebrew' started by cero50, Jan 27, 2016.

  1. cero50
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    cero50 Newbie

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    Hey, I'm new around here, and I'm wondering what's a good flash card to buy for emulating on my Nintendo DS Lite? I want to play SNES, NES, Megadrive (I wonder if it's possible to emulate 32X and CD), GB/C/A and DS games of course. I'm not interested in anything fancy like a music or a movie player. Also what is the limit for DS emulation. I'm sorry if you've heard this before, but I'm stuck on whether it's best to get an R4, DStwo or DStwo plus.
     
  2. Blue_Mew

    Blue_Mew Shiny Mew!

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    A DSTWO+ isn't worth the extra money if you aren't on a 3DS. I would go for the DSTWO.
     
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  3. cvskid

    cvskid GBAtemp Addict

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    The original DSTWO carts are no longer being made so if you get a DSTWO now, good chances are it is just a DSTWO+ with a normal DSTWO sticker on it.
     
  4. Blue_Mew

    Blue_Mew Shiny Mew!

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    I guess a DSTWO+ is the way to go :yaynds:
     
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  5. cero50
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    cero50 Newbie

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    So DSTWO should have all the emulators that I listed before right? But I heard DSTWO's SNES emulation is mediocre though. Also, what's a good place to buy a DSTWO?
     
  6. 3DSPoet

    3DSPoet GBAtemp Fan

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    Agreed....DSTwo or DSTwo+, whichever is cheaper when you go shopping...There is native support for emulators in the form of "plugins" on the Supercard site...they all run pretty well on the DSTwo. The Plus supposedly has upgraded processing power and memory, but I haven't done a comparison, so I can't say if it runs them any better or not.
     
  7. Blue_Mew

    Blue_Mew Shiny Mew!

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    Look for a reseller here http://eng.supercard.sc/Dealer.html
     
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  8. cvskid

    cvskid GBAtemp Addict

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    SNES emulation on the DSTWO is worlds better then standard ds snes emulation. The only emulator that might feel a bit off to use is the sega genesis emulator for ds. As far as where to buy, i would have said modchipsdirect but they have been sold out of most ds related as of late.

    Sega 32x and sega cd have no emulators on nintendo ds but there are segamaster system and sega game gear emulators if you are interested in those.
     
    Last edited by cvskid, Jan 27, 2016
  9. sieroi

    sieroi GBAtemp Regular

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    You've heard right. Given what you've said, it doesn't sound like you should get a DSTWO.

    CATSFC is certainly more accurate than something like SNEmulDS, but it's frequently significantly slower- to the point of being absolutely unplayable in a very large number of games, even on the newest version of the emulator- even something as basic as Super Mario World frameskips to hell and back on CATSFC. It's also limited by the DSTwo's reliance on streaming video through the Slot-1 interface - no emulator running on the DSTwo is capable of getting above ~48FPS, meaning there's always some visible (albeit usually forgivable) frameskipping even when emulating GBA games.

    The DS just isn't a very good system for playing SNES games on. Even the screen is too low-res to render the SNES' video output- the picture has to either be cropped or scaled to fit the display, with accompanying loss of quality.

    The same's the case for NES and Mega Drive/Genesis emulation (MD emulation is pretty mixed, as well- larger games just can't be loaded at all)- cropping is inevitable. There just aren't enough pixels on the screen to display the output properly.

    32x emulation's completely out, as well- the system isn't powerful enough.

    Buy a flashcart to play DS games- emulation on the DS is a very mixed bag, and generally not worth bothering with. The DSTwo's GBA emulator's the best around, and it's still a clearly less-than-perfect solution- games like Yoshi's Island and Sigma Star Saga are borderline unplayable thanks to speed issues.

    It sounds like the best thing for you to do (since you're on a DS Lite) would be to get a standard DS-mode flashcart (Acekard 2i or R4i Gold RTS/3DS) and also buy an EZFlash 3-in-1 for your GBA slot. It's a passthrough device that fits the DS Lite's reduce-scale GBA slot, and allows you to load GBA titles from your Slot-1 cartridge's UI.

    Both of those combined would almost certainly work out significantly cheaper than buying a DSTWO/DSTWO+, and you'd get perfect DS/GBA support- without any of the battery drain issues of the DSTWO.

    The DSTWO is only worth it if you're on a DSi or 3DS. It's a terrible solution if you're on a DS Lite- if you want to play Mega Drive and 32x games, you'll have to get a different system.
     
    Last edited by sieroi, Jan 28, 2016
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  10. cero50
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    cero50 Newbie

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    Are there any other cards where I don't need the EZ Flash 3-in-1 to play GBA? Also emulating Mega Drive games can't be that bad right? What Mega Drive games can't be loaded? And what do you mean by NES games being less than perfect?
     
  11. sieroi

    sieroi GBAtemp Regular

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    Nope.

    The DSTWO is the only one, and it's more expensive than an Ak2i/R4i Gold RTS/3DS combined with an EZFlash - and the DSTWO's GBA support is pretty sub-par compared with the native support the 3-in-1 gives you.

    The DS' hardware doesn't allow loading GBA code from the DS slot- it physically shuts off all DS-mode hardware (DS cartridge slot included) when it boots into GBA mode. The DSTWO has to get around it by embedding a much faster CPU of its own in its cartridge and using that to emulate the GBA. The DSTWO's GBA emulation really isn't all that great, though- more intensive games (Sigma Star Saga, for example) take a severe hit to playability thanks to the frameskipping. While almost every game works fine, it's definitely a noticably inferior experience to playing it with native hardware. The downside of the on-cart CPU's that it continually draws extra power- meaning your battery life takes a significant hit when actively using it (worse if you have to overclock it to run awkward GBA titles at playable framerates), and it continues drawing power when the system's in Sleep Mode- meaning it's practically useless. I've got one, and I wouldn't recommend the experience- it's only really desirable if you're on a system that just doesn't have a GBA slot to use a passthrough card with.

    The only way to access the DS' native GBA support is with a Slot-2 flashcart. The 3-in-1 is unique, in that it's fitted to the DS Lite's form factor, and just exists as a passthrough tool to accept code from the DS slot when prompted by its loader software (AKAIO/Wood), and then load as if it were a real GBA cartridge. There are other Slot-2 flashcarts, but the only other one actually worth using is the EZ-Flash IV - and that's the wrong size for the DS Lite. Just about every single other Slot-2 flashcart is a miserable experience.

    It's pretty bad. Once again, the picture just isn't the right size for the DS' screen- you're stuck with cropping the screen, or scaling it. Both of them are pretty rubbish solutions. The same issue exists with NES emulation- you can either slice off large sections of the screen and have to pause to adjust what's hidden where necessary during gameplay, or get by with a scaled version of the output- which makes it look horrible.

    As for which MD games work? here's a compatibility list. Note the awkward workarounds necessary for a lot of games- those games that do run are often quite glitchy, and Sonic 3 and Knuckles won't even boot without manually patching the ROM to get around the 3MB size limit.

    It's 2016. Emulating this stuff on the DS is just a horrible, entirely unnecessary chore. Emulating anything other than GB/GBC/GBA games on the DS is just a curiosity, really- the screen resolution is too low to be useful for much else.

    The DS' hardware is eleven years old, and it was pretty low-end even then. If you absolutely must be able to play MD/SNES games, just get a controller clip for your smartphone, or a Android gaming handheld- the GPD XD is pretty impressive.
     
    Last edited by sieroi, Jan 27, 2016
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  12. cero50
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    cero50 Newbie

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    What about EZ Flash Vi or Wood R4? Do they still require EZ Flash Cart 3 in 1?
     
  13. sieroi

    sieroi GBAtemp Regular

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    Yes. Every Slot-1 card requires a Slot-2 passthrough card to play GBA backups natively. It's a fundamental hardware limitation- you simply won't find any way around it. Why do you think Supercard had to plump for a hack as ugly as fitting a CPU onto the DSTwo itself? The DS' hardware isn't fast enough to emulate the GBA properly, and the DS physically can't load data from Slot-1 when it's running in GBA mode- the necessary hardware's completely powered down.

    "Wood R4" isn't even a card- it's the name of a firmware installed on certain cards, which also requires a 3-in-1 to run GBA backups.

    If you want to play GBA backups on a DS Lite, you only have two options- the DSTwo's flawed GBA emulation, or an EZFlash 3-in-1. There are other Slot-2 flashcarts, but none of them are actually worth buying if you're on a DS Lite.
     
    Last edited by sieroi, Jan 28, 2016
  14. cero50
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    cero50 Newbie

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    What's a good place to buy EZ Flash 3-in-1 cheap?
     
  15. Avicenna

    Avicenna Newbie

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    Actually emulating GB/GBC isn't too good either, because the DS lacks a screen more than 2x the resolution of the GB/GBC. This means you can only have warped 1.5x scaling, which results in some pixels being duplicated more than others. You would need a screen at least 2x the resolution of the GB/GBC to achieve 1:1 pixel scaling with no artifacts. http://emulation-general.wikia.com/wiki/Scaling

    Or you can settle with native 1x GB resolution, which is very small on the DS screen (Though less so on the DSi XL) with borders. Also I'm pretty sure lameboy/gameyob allow you to apply a filter when scaling, but this only blurs the screen and acts as a mask to the warped scaling. A similar thing is done when you play DS games on the 3DS actually, which is why DS content doesn't look as good on the 3DS.
     
    Last edited by Avicenna, Aug 5, 2016
  16. Monty Kensicle

    Monty Kensicle Yay!

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    So the moral of the story is; if you want decent portable emulation, get a PSP or 2DS/3DS with CFW.
     
  17. Avicenna

    Avicenna Newbie

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    I'm not sure I'd actually recommend specifically buying a PSP for emulation at this point. It's great if you already have one, but by now it's already been far surpassed by Android. I mean you can literally emulate PSP and DS on Android perfectly, with increased resolutions. How can the PSP compete with that? The only problem with Android is usually the lack of physical controls, which isn't present on devices like the GPD-XD. The GPD-XD has a 720p IPS screen too, far better than what's on the PSP or 3DS.

    As for the 3DS, if you're looking to play 3DS games as well as emulate, I'd say it isn't a bad choice. Or if you already own one. However if you're buying specifically and solely for emulation, I'd say GPD-XD is the best choice.
     
  18. Monty Kensicle

    Monty Kensicle Yay!

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    But what about price point? $120+ for GPD-XD vs. $50-$60 for PSP and $60-$90 for 2DS.
     
  19. Avicenna

    Avicenna Newbie

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    I suppose so. To be honest you can probably get a PSP even cheaper, those things are dirt cheap.