M3 Perfect Adapter (1G CF) 3rd Generation Review

Discussion in 'Official GBAtemp Reviews' started by T-hug, Jan 2, 2006.

Jan 2, 2006
  1. T-hug
    OP

    Chief Editor T-hug Always like this.

    pip
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    M3 Perfect + 1G CF + Passkey For NDS Review

    You can buy a M3 on GameYeeeah!
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Well here is my review for the awesome M3 Perfect. The way in which I will try and review the product is the steps I had to take in order to end up playing my favourite NDS/GBA games and the ease-of-use for the everyday person. The nice guys over at M3Adapter.com were kind enough to send me the M3, however what I didn't know was that I would also need a CF or SD card, card reader and passkey/passme.

    (Above Pic)
    1. M3 Perfect box
    2. M3 Perfect cart
    3. Mini CD with software
    4. Passkey box
    5. Passkey for G6/M3 use
    6. 1G CF card
    7. Universal card reader

    Ok once I opened the box all I had was the M3 Perfect and a mini CD with software on it which I later found out was totally useless as it is meant for G6 use. The overall packaging is good and the information on the box was quite helpful and contained very little 'Engrish'. As there is no manual with the M3 or paperwork of any kind I had to mail the staff at m3adpater.com to find out where to get the appropiate software, which I obtained from the site.

    -=Hardware=-
    M3 Perfect Adapter - Features (taken from box):

    -Compatible with all GBA games and no slowdown!
    -Super Real Time Save Function.
    -Low Power Consumption
    -No drivers required.
    -Built in RTC chip.
    -Compatible with every type of movie file.
    -Built in Emulators.
    -Works as a U-Disk, just plug & play.
    -Never damage your CF/SD card.
    -Battery Memory Design.
    -Real NDS Mode.

    I purchased a 1G CF card from Jessops (camera shop) for £64.99 which fits snugly into the M3:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    This allowed me to play play GBA ROMs on my NDS without having a passkey or any other device. I was impressed at the speed the ROMs are transferred to the CF card and also the compatibility rate (covered later).

    In order to transfer the ROMs to the CF card, a card reader is also needed - (7.). This I also purchased from Jessops for £12.99 which I thought was an excellent buy as it reads 17 different types of card and also comes USB ready packaged with the required cable. Other uses include the reading of digital camera and mobile phone memory cards.

    Once I realised I needed more equipment to play NDS ROMs, I ordered the G6/M3 passkey from one of our sponsers, Shop01 (http://shop.01media.com/). I ordered at the beginning of December, and at the time the store were out of stock and due to be restocked on the 19th. The passkey arrived on the 21st or 22nd. I can't remember which but either way I was very happy to recieve it before Christmas, excellent service!

    Passkey - Front:
    [​IMG]

    Passkey - Back with Switch:
    [​IMG]
    The passkey is used in the NDS cart slot of the NDS. On the back of the passkey is a switch which allows you to swap from the passkey function (1.) - for use with NDS ROMs, or card (2.) - which allows you to boot the original NDS card you have inserted into the passkey (An original NDS card is required in the passkey at all times in order to run NDS ROMs).

    Passkey with original NDS card inserted (required to run NDS ROMs):
    [​IMG]

    Passkey with original NDS card inserted - side view:
    [​IMG]

    This is what your the NDS looks like from the back with both the passkey and M3 Perfect card inserted:
    [​IMG]
    Although the two devices stick out quite a bit from the NDS, they do not obstruct play at all. Your grip on the NDS isn't affected either, and as both the devices are the same colour as the NDS it all looks very smart. The only thing I can think of that bothered me to start with was the added weight, but this soon becomes unoticeable the more you play.

    Front view with both devices inserted:
    [​IMG]

    The quality of the products is pretty good. Both the M3 adapter and the passkey are well made and stable once connected to the NDS. I've had many flash kits for the GBA and must say these two products are on par if not better quality than those.

    -=Software=-

    Well as I stated before, the M3 came with only one other item in the box which was a mini CD (3.). This I assumed would contain the software used for transferring the GBA and NDS ROMs to the CF or SD card, however after running the CD in my PC it soon became apparant that the CD was meant for use with the G6 kit for NDS (see the 'G6-Flash 3rd-gen' review by Opium on the home page of this site) making it useless for the setup I had.

    After speaking with a staff member at m3adapter.com (very fast response, very polite, great service) I was told to download the M3 Game Manager v2.4, which I did from http://m3adapter.com/Download.htm. I believe the latest version now is v2.6A, which shows there is good, constant support for the software. The staff also look at their support forums regulary, using information found by users to help add fixes and features to the software with each build.

    -=M3 Game Manager v2.4=-

    Software Icon:
    [​IMG]

    On loading up the software for the first time I was asked what card I was using, either CF or SD:
    [​IMG]

    I picked CF and went to the next screen:
    [​IMG]
    This is the main layout of the software. On the left is where you must first select the drive letter your CF card and reader have become (1.). After selecting the drive you must select the directory you wish the NDS or GBA ROMs to be written to, in my case NDS or GBA. The window on the right hand side shows the contents of the directory you have selected. Next to that you have the 'Write' buttons for NDS and GBA (2.3.).

    Now to start the writing process, you can click either of the buttons, or alternatively right-click in the right side window to open a sub menu:
    [​IMG]

    After selecting to write either NDS or GBA, a sub window opens. This is used to browse to the directory where you keep your ROMs ;p
    [​IMG]
    Once you have selected the ROM you need to click the 'Open' button.

    For this review the ROM I used was Mario Kart.nds. Once I clicked on the Open button, another window opens:
    [​IMG]
    This window contains a few options that you can use to alter the way the ROM boots - normal or fast, what speed it runs at and whether you would like to trim it or not. I chose all the default options except for 'Trim Rom'. The reason I didn't use Trim Rom is I know from my days in the GBA scene that not every game still works after trimming, and as this was all new to me I didn't want to complicate things more than I needed to.

    Once all of the options are set, click 'OK' to close the window and start the write:
    [​IMG]
    The green bar at the bottom of the program shows the progress of the write. In nearly every case the write was complete in under 10 seconds!

    Once the write is complete the software lets you know via a pop up message box!
    [​IMG]

    The exact same method is used for GBA ROMs, however both types of ROMs can be added to the CF card manually by browsing for the relevant directory. These can be found by going to 'My Computer' and cutting and pasting the ROMs. Setbacks of this method include not being able to use the in-game save/load function of GBA ROMs and the Fast Boot/Trimming of NDS ROMs

    CF card layout for cut & paste:

    [​IMG]


    -=Save Functions & Alternate Loading=-


    To boot any game once the NDS is switched on just browse to the game icon (usually looks like a joypad or console).
    [​IMG]

    Once you have selcted the game icon, you will be shown a list of the directorys you have on the CF card:
    [​IMG]

    Scroll to the game you wish to play and press 'A'. (Note: NDS ROMs are only visible when the passkey is inserted into the NDS game card slot. GBA ROMs are always visible).
    [​IMG]

    Now when you have selected the ROM you wish to play, you will be asked to load the related .dat file, usually named the same as the ROM but with a .dat extension. The .dat files are what the M3 Adapter uses for save files, and therefore keep track of your options and game progress for each game. Strangley the NDS .dat files are 257KB, wheras the GBA .dat files are 1024KB. Of course if you add the ROMs manually without using the M3 Game Manager software, no .dat file will be created and the adapter will warn you of this when you select a ROM to play. In every ROM I have tried this has not affected the game play or save functions.
    [​IMG]

    Pressing A will load the .dat file and start the selected NDS ROM yay:
    [​IMG]


    GBA Mode


    Things are pretty much the same in for running GBA ROMs. Select the ROM from your list:
    [​IMG]

    You are then prompted to load the .dat file:
    [​IMG]

    Then the game will start loading:
    [​IMG]
    One noticeable difference when loading GBA ROMs compared to the older GBA flashcarts is the load times. You can actually watch it load the KBs that make up the ROM. It only takes a matter of seconds for even the biggest of GBA ROMs to load. I guess this is kind of a trade off with the speed at which the games are transferred to the CF. Using the cut & paste method, ROMs are transferred more or less instantly.

    Further Load Progress:

    [​IMG]

    GTA Loaded:

    [​IMG]

    The above pictures are of loading GBA ROMs without the passkey inserted. When it isn't inserted you are only able to load GBA ROMs. If you load a GBA ROM with the passkey inserted, it takes about the same amount of time, but a different screen is used in the form of a pop up box and a load progress bar:
    [​IMG]


    -=Compatibility Issues=-


    The overall compatibility of the M3 Adapter for both NDS and GBA ROMs, in my opinion is excellent. Problems only occurred for me when using the M3 Game Manager 2.4 software, and this was only for GBA ROMs. Every single NDS ROM I tried, except 'Battles of Prince of Persia worked perfectly first time. They all saved properly too, with no slowdown or graphical glitches at all. I am still very impressed by this and cannot find one bad thing to say about the Adapter and software when using NDS ROMs. Later on, I even found out the reason Battles of Prince of Persia wasn't working was because of a protection on the original game card. After a quick visit to the M3 Adapter support forums (http://m3-forum.com/) and a quick read, I was indeed playing Battles oPoP on my NDS. I can think of no other NDS solution on the market that offers this much.
    Now for the problems in GBA mode. When adding certain games to the CF using the M3 Game Manager, everything seems OK, but when running the ROMs certain games would have messed up graphics or wouldn't load at all.
    Heres a small list of games I can remember:

    Metroid Fusion - Loads but crashes after intro
    Metroid Zero Mission - Plays fine throughout game but crashes at same place in the same cutscene after beating the final boss
    Mario Tennis - Loads but has severe graphical errors when playing a match (can't see the court, or anything else)
    Grand Theft Auto Advance - Crashes after Mode7 intro
    Boktai 2 - RS intro is messed up, game doesn't load afterwards

    There were a few more I cannot recall at the time of writing this review, however a little tinkering allowed me to play ALL of the above and more with no errors at all.
    It seems if you add the games manually using the cut & paste method with the CF, copying another games .dat file and adding it afterwards works just fine. You can see from the above pics I have Grand Theft Auto working. I've seen from other reviews of various cards and adapters that GTA is always in the non-working list. In the default settings of the M3 Game Manager it has 'Enable Real Time' and 'Save Patch' already checked. I believe this is the reason for some games not working after writing to the CF card using the software. My advice would be to uncheck those options or not use the software for GBA ROMs at all, unless you know you will need them, say for instance paying the Pokemon games, you will want to Enable Real Time.

    So after some tinkering, it would seem every GBA ROM I tried also works. Also there have been various updates with the M3 Game manager since the 2.4 version I used. Maybe the programmers have fixed these bugs, maybe they havn't. It doesn't matter.

    -=Emulation & Other Features=-


    Due to time time restraints I havn't had chance to test any other features of the M3 adapter. The box claims it is capable of running FC, NES, SNES, GB, SMS and other ROMs. The box also states it is capable of running movie files of 'any' type, and also displaying various picture types. Hopefully I will get chance to try all these features in the future and edit this review.


    EDIT - I have recently tried converting an .avi file of Final Fantasy: The Last Order, which I converted using the G6 Movie Converter software. It ran perfectly and didn't lose any quality at all. I forget the exact details of the file sizes etc, but it took about 25 minutes to convert it, which is pretty good. The software is great and will convert many movie file types, the only problem I had with it is that the subtitles of the movie came out to small to read on the DS [​IMG]


    -=Conclusion & Overall Score=-


    I feel the kit and method I have used is one of, if not the best on the market. The only other kit I would be interested in trying out the M3 against is the G6 kit. Since they are made by the same company however, I expect similar performance.

    Scores


    Ease of use 8/10
    Running NDS ROMs 9/10
    Running GBA ROMs 8/10
    Hardware 9/10
    Software 9/10 (NDS) 6/10 (GBA)

    Overall Score 8.5/10





    [UPDATE]
    I now have the Passkey 2 also: Passkey2 and an M3 Mini SD and am awaiting a new Passkey that is like a DS game card. I will either make a new review or edit this one. Coming soon.



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  2. jimmyemunoz

    Member jimmyemunoz GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    You know some updating is in order for this review. As it's plain to see, not one picture shows up.
     
  3. .Chris

    Member .Chris Pffft.

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    .......

    This is from 2006. We are in 2012.

    That's a six year-necrobump.
     
  4. AceWarhead

    Member AceWarhead "Must Construct Additional Pylons"

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    And it would be nice to have some pictures for us geeks.
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. Another World

    Former Staff Another World Emulate the Planet!

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    servers get moved, updates are made, pics get lost, etc. contact the original author and ask if they still have the pics. the loss of formatting (and images) in reviews is not a reason to bump a 6 yr old topic, its a reason to PM the original author or the gbatemp supers.

    -another world
     
  6. jimmyemunoz

    Member jimmyemunoz GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    In all honesty, I don't think their is any present rule to not post in any unlocked thread. I know I might be rubbing the Barney Fifes' among us crazy by doing this, but it just somehow doesn't matter to me. If a thread can't be posted in, then it should be locked. My posting in this thread is as good as PM'ing admin because they'll see it. Will it make pictures show up in this review, no. If I did PM Staff, would it make pictures show up in this review, no, but then again, as a consolation prize, Another World will be happy that I followed his internet etiquette. Sorry, Another World, but you just don't matter that much to me, personally. That's not a bad thing because I don't even know you, and that's the reason I haven't called you out on numerous mistakes in the forums. I said aghh what does it matter when I read them. I thought who am I to call him out and point out his mistake. You know what I mean? Well, maybe you don't.

    Now back on track. Lets get some working photos in this great review! :)
     
  7. T-hug
    OP

    Chief Editor T-hug Always like this.

    pip
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    Looking at the image links all the photos were hosted on pspsaves which was owned by @[member='djnaff']
    I pmed him a while ago to see if he still has the backup of the site I need the folder http://pspsaves.info/thug/M3PerfectReview/ however this is a real long shot as the site has been dead for ages and I doubt he has still has a backup and he never messaged me back!

    Also I no longer have the kits and passkeys etc. as they were one of the first cards available they soon got replaced by 'normal' sized DS cards.
     

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