Hacking My Acekard 2i Shopping Summary/Review

Tuna Fish Riot

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I ordered my Acekard 2i on April 7 and just got it today via USPS (Santa Cruz, California), April 14. This is my first ever Flash Cart purchase since I just recently bought the DSi (US version). I have never owned a DS Phat or DS Lite, so this is a new and fresh experience.

I am using Firmware 1.3U.

Online Purchase:
My purchase came from Modchipcentral.com. I ordered the "acekard2i8gb" package that came with the 8gb Kingston MicroSD (JAPAN version confirmed!) which priced at $64.95 and shipping of $8.95, totalling $73.90 in the end.

Packaging:
It came in a big white envelop-ey thing and inside was a pack for the Kingston and a yellow envelope with the Acekard.

The Acekard packaging didn't come pre-assembled. The flash cart came in bubble wrap, I think, separate from the Acekard box (which was a flat carboardish cutout). The Acekard box was labled as Acekard 2 and not Acekard 2i, which I didn't care for. I would have tossed it out anyway.

The Acekard cartridge DID have an Acekard 2i Sticker on it, btw, as I heard some of you have a regular Acekard 2 sticker instead. On the blank side of the cartridge, there was no sticker, which I saw some of you have.

The Kingston MicroSD comes with an SD adapter and a USB 2.0 adapter. Quite handy, but I already have a 19-in-one media card reader.

Setting Up:
I'm quite tech savvy, so I found no problems setting up everything. Days beforehand, I've been setting up my folders and games so that they'll be ready for transfer. This includes the latest version of AKAIO, DS games, Homebrews, skins, etc., all organized into a folder ready to upload onto the MicroSD. I even ran Rominator to trim the NDS files so I can squeeze in as many games as possible. In the end, I have about 6.3gb of games crammed into the 7.3gb (true file-size) Kingston. If you are curious, I have about 130 DS games in there.

Anyway, the first thing I made sure to do was use the Panasonic Formatter software on the MicroSD. I kept the default settings and ran it. It was quick and easy.

The next part was kinda painful. I copied the 6.3gb of data to the MicroSD. This took around 10 minutes... Well, I guess that's not so bad, but I was excited and couldn't wait!
yay.gif


As soon as that was done, I plugged the the MicroSD into the AK2i cartridge. I pushed it down until it clicked. I know some people here have had trouble with the MicroSD and loose contacts, but mines clicked and fit in snug.

Running the Cart:
When I turned on the DSi, the Acekard registered and indeed it said Acekard 2i and not Acekard 2 like some have been seeing.

I ran the flash cart and AKAIO booted up without a hitch.

The first game I tried out was Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin, since that seems to be the game that people have trouble with working with their MicroSDs. I only played to the first save point, but everything seemed to be okay. I also ran the homebrew software, Colors, which worked too. Last thing I tried running was Cooking Mama, which was when my gf snatched the DSi away to play... I'll do some more testing once she's done.
tongue.gif


All-in-all, my experience has been a successful one.

I'm hoping this review and summary will help out new buyers out there. I can simply say that modchipcentral.com met my expectations. I can't say about other stores yet, but I did just order my second AK2i from Deal Extreme, so I'll see how that goes.

Last thoughts:
After I ordered, I read posts here saying that Class 6, 1-2gb MicroSDs would be needed to run the intensive games such as Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin. I'm not sure, but I'm highly doubtful that my 8gb Kingston is a class 6, but ran Portrait of Ruin alright. That was a relief when I got it working.

Happy hunting!

Tuna
 

Splych

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Nice review. 1-2GB SDs are not Class 6. The one you have is most likely class 4 but I can be wrong. Heard that it doesn't matter the class, just the read speed. So it must've been lucky for you to get a good read speed SD Card . Other than that, good review once again ^^
 

NightKry

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Congrats. Although I thought dealextreme.com has the AK2i priced at a mere $18 with free shipping...

Wish I had a DSi =P I'll probably wait till different colours come overseas. The Blue they have currently is imo, disgusting.
 

megahog

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thanks for the little story there - I am expected mine from modchipcentral anyday now - and I plan on doing every single step you did! The funny part is - I paid $30 for Overnight shipping from Canada. In the end it will have taken a week. Long story... I should have just done standard USPS.
 

Szyslak

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That's a nice summary of your experience. Thanks for sharing.

I just wanted to clear up a couple things on the microSD side of things.

Tuna Fish Riot said:
The first game I tried out was Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin, since that seems to be the game that people have trouble with working with their MicroSDs. I only played to the first save point, but everything seemed to be okay.That's not the issue with Portrait of Ruin. Using a card with a slow Random Access Time will cause the game to freeze in certain spots. Namely, when first talking to "Wind", or when using transporters. I would imagine your card will be fine for this scenario, but if you really want to know, you could play further.

Splych said:
Nice review. 1-2GB SDs are not Class 6. The one you have is most likely class 4 but I can be wrong. Heard that it doesn't matter the class, just the read speed. So it must've been lucky for you to get a good read speed SD Card . Other than that, good review once again ^^Class ratings didn't come along until microSDHC, so 1 -2 G cards aren't rated in that way. They aren't rated at all really, but some indicate the max write or read speeds. And really, for flashcart purposes, Random Access Time is more important than read speed.

QUOTE(zero383 @ Apr 14 2009, 08:33 PM)
Nice write up. Congrats on a working flash cart. Here's a program I use to test the speed of my transflash cards if you're curious. http://www.flashmemorytoolkit.com/ The trial is only limited to the "File Benchmark" which tests both read and write speeds for different sized files, eg. 1MB, 2MB, 3MB, etc.
HdTach is a good program too, with a free version. Just don't run it too frequently using cheap card readers. You may overheat them.
 

Tuna Fish Riot

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NightKry said:
Congrats. Although I thought dealextreme.com has the AK2i priced at a mere $18 with free shipping...

Yep yep. I found Mod Chip Central listed on the Acekard website and pretty much insta-ordered without thinking.
tongue.gif
It wasn't until I researched here, at GBATemp Forums, that I found out about Deal Extreme... Oh well, lesson learned.

That's not the issue with Portrait of Ruin. Using a card with a slow Random Access Time will cause the game to freeze in certain spots. Namely, when first talking to "Wind", or when using transporters. I would imagine your card will be fine for this scenario, but if you really want to know, you could play further.

Thanks for the tip. I'll definitely try to get into that game more and see if that problem exists. I had previously thought that people's games have been crashing by moving to different screens.
 

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Splych said:
Nice review. 1-2GB SDs are not Class 6. The one you have is most likely class 4 but I can be wrong. Heard that it doesn't matter the class, just the read speed. So it must've been lucky for you to get a good read speed SD Card . Other than that, good review once again ^^

Correct me if I am wrong but... Don't Class 2 cards have a maximum transfer speed of 2mb/s, Class 4 a max of 4mb/s, and Class 6 a minimum of 6mb/s?
 

LxTrix

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Like you i am waiting to get my cart so question is where can i learn to setup my folders ahead of time like you?

Also i have been playing DS games with the emulator NDS Rom Player so is it possible to transfer those save files? Anyone know?
 

Tokiopop

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LxTrix said:
Like you i am waiting to get my cart so question is where can i learn to setup my folders ahead of time like you?

Also i have been playing DS games with the emulator NDS Rom Player so is it possible to transfer those save files? Anyone know?

Well, if you're using something like No$GBA then I doubt the Acekard can even read the save files. No Cash seems to create gibberish .sav files only it can understand. They are convertible, I've done it myself a few times. But I can't remember where or how I did it. Once you've converted them they should work, so just drag them along to your Micro SD card along with your .nds file!

Buuuut... You might not need any of that, it could just work straight off the bat. Try it and see. If it doesn't work, you've got an idea of what you need to do
wink.gif
 

Tuna Fish Riot

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UPDATE: Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin runs perfectly! Final Fantasy IV also runs without a hitch. All homebrews are also working.

LxTrix said:
Like you i am waiting to get my cart so question is where can i learn to setup my folders ahead of time like you?

You just have to download everything and follow the readme files. Here were all the stuff I had:

AKAIO - "_aio" folder and "akmenu4.nds" in the root directory. I also made a folder called dustbox in the root directory since the readme says that by doing so, it'll act as a trash can in case you delete files within AKAIO.

Moonshell - "moonshl2" folder is placed in the root folder

SNEmulDS (SNES Emulator) - "SNEmulDS.nds" and "snemul.cfg" is in the root directory. "SNES" folder is also in the root directory. This folder holds the SNES roms.

I made a folder in the root directory called "Homebrew Collection". Obviously, it holds all my Homebrew applications (the .NDS files).

I also made a folder called "DS Collection" that holds all of my DS roms.

With the exception of some homebrews that have strict paths, you're pretty much free to stick files anywhere you want. Make folders for music, videos, games, text files, etc.
 
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