...after spending a good two hours browsing threads and doing a whole lot of research, you guys really turned me completely around. After going through the most recent "where to buy" thread, I just barely ordered my own R4 from Echostore last night. I also got two 1GB Kingston transflash cards from another place ... hopefully, at least one will be Japanese-made. The following is going to be long, and I apologize for that. These are just some of my reflections as a complete and utter NEWBIE at this stuff, learning from scratch from all of you: I guess I really just want to say to those of you in this particular section of the forum: THANK YOU for saving me eighty dollars! I am very much a "n00b" at this whole portable-console homebrew thing, and my first bit of research into the subject led me to GBAtemp very quickly. After a bit of confusion with the basics (old 'passme' stuff, difference between slot-1 and slot-2 generation cards), I was completely sold by that 9.5 DS Xtreme review. I mean, I was literally to the point of me coming within centimeters of ordering it straight up ... my mouse-clicking finger was hovering over the "confirm" button. In the end, I don't know what stopped me ... a bit of intuitive doubt, maybe. I came back here, and after DEEPLY browsing through the boards, reviews, and archived news of the site, I came to slowly realize a few things: 1) The DS Xtreme review was back in October ... not so long ago, but an eternity when it comes to how fast this stuff moves along. 2) Initially, the thought of having to deal with MicroSD scared me, and the built-in USB feature of the DS Xtreme was very noob-appealing. The comparison that someone made in THIS thread to MACs and PCs quickly convinced me to get over that fear ... it's exactly like people fleeing to the comfort of their MACs because they're terrified at the prospect of maybe having to install a new hard drive one day. Not that I'm a MAC-hater, but the point stands ... it's that mentality that makes a large part of their user base. If there's some tiny learning curve (VERY tiny, as in popping in and out) with the standard media that the other carts use, it's made up for with the ability to easily upgrade. The 512 KB integrated of the DS Xtreme is easily trumped by the "as-much-as-I-can-friggin' fit" of the transflash carts. 3) The DS Xtreme, feature-wise, is all but identical to the R4, M3 Simply, etc ... in the end, I came to see that the only thing still subconsciously forcing me to lean towards the Xtreme were those mildly-cool, flashy LEDs. The 'fruitier' side of me liked that feature, but it's not a rational reason (from my viewpoint, at least) to opt for the $130 option over the $40. Don't get me wrong ... I wasn't swayed by fanboy arguments on either side of the aisle, particularly by the sheer "geek rage" I witnessed in the DSX is junk! thread. Once I had read everything I could, however, logic simply had to win out: the DS Xtreme (at its current price) is not the best choice. After that, it simply came down to choosing between one of the newer cards ... the R4 is what I ended up with, due to their slightly superior update situation. I'm still not sure if I may end up eventually getting a slot-2 device for GBA capability (any recommendations on that, by the way?). For now, though, I feel much happier to have made an informed decision. Thank you all again. First post, by the way ... woot!