Quality of SD card questions

Discussion in 'CycloDS' started by MTGXerxes, Mar 11, 2009.

Mar 11, 2009
  1. MTGXerxes
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    Newcomer MTGXerxes Newbie

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    Hey all.

    I was having some issues and the CycloDS forums themselves wouldn't accept my registration, so now I'm pretty much clawing for any help I can get.

    Some of you may be familiar with the issues that Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin has with freezing and such on a very frequent basis. After some research, it seems that this is due to the quality of the SD card itself. Recommended cards were anything Japanese made like Toshiba, and preferably something Class 6 with a .7 or less Random Access Test.

    My current Sandisk 4GB Class 2 fails all of these requirements for the game to work properly....and I don't know much about technology stuff so I was wondering if any of you would recommend Transcend as a brand. I think its American made, but the one I'm looking at is 4GB and Class 6 for cheap so it SOUNDS from that alone like it would work....but from reports of friends/google that with American/Taiwan/Chinese cards, the more you have on it the slower they get and that this Class 6 may or may not be equal to a Japanese Class 6---and that generally you "Get what you pay for"

    Sheesh....There were only a couple of games I was really looking forward to playing when I got the Cyclo and all other games were just gravy in my mind. This is of course, one of them and I'm glad I won the lottery with the only game known to have such an issue.

    Hope somebody can help explain differences between cards/recommend something, I'd appreciate it.

    (If I'm posting in the wrong area or doing something out of normal expected use...forgive me.)
     
  2. camintmier

    Newcomer camintmier Member

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    The Class rating essentially means how fast the minimum write speeds are on the card. At least that's what Wikipedia says.
    • Class 2: 2MB per second
    • Class 4: 4MB per second
    • Class 6: 6MB per second
    From what I've seen (and this is just my personal opinion), it doesn't really matter where a card is made, just what class it is. Then again, if it's some cheap flaky Chinese card, you get what you pay for. I've got a Trancend 8GB Class 6 as my primary MicroSDHC card, and a Kingston 4GB Class 4 as my secondary card, and both work flawlessly. MicroSDHC cards are getting very cheap, so you should be able to pick up a Class 6 card for under $20 (see the Trancend one I linked to).

    I hope this helps you some.
     
  3. MTGXerxes
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    Newcomer MTGXerxes Newbie

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    Yeah mine works fine, the problem is just on the ONE game of Castlevania which I learned is the only game with the issue of needing a fast Micro card for,

    I saw a nice Class 6 4gig card for under 10 bucks, can't hurt to just pick it up whether its good enough or not. Anyway, thanks for the reply.
     
  4. DrkXShadowZ

    Newcomer DrkXShadowZ Member

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    I noticed that turning off battery saver seems to work for some games that freeze up. This was the case when I tried to play TWEWY, though I'm not particularly sure about C:PoR. Can anyone confirm this?
     
  5. DeMoN

    Member DeMoN GBAtemp Guru

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    Turning off battery saver will help for problematic games like the two you mentioned. However, the real source of the problem is a slow MicroSD card, as I can play any game fine even with battery saver on (Kingston 2GB).
     
  6. MTGXerxes
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    Newcomer MTGXerxes Newbie

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    What does the ...( Just realized how stupid this question is going to sound) ...battery saver do? I mean, besides "Save battery" I'm assuming.

    Does that just allow you to close to DS to put it in sleep? I'm looking for more on the mechanics of what actually happens, I'm not so hot with technological stuff. And on the comment on where they're made, I talked to a lot of people and read a lot of stuff that all says Japanese cards are different than US/Taiwan/Chinese cards in the fact that they don't slow down and they fill up space on the card, other nations gets a little bit slower when they have more stuff to sift through.

    So I was just curious if Transcend was a good enough brand. The class 6 one I bought was 9.75 on Amazon so I'm fine with that either way even if it won't help me on PoR. I'll try the battery saver trick though too, thanks!
     
  7. cafevincent

    Newcomer cafevincent Advanced Member

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    Where did you hear about the Japanese cards comparison? I think it makes sense. I'm currently looking at normal size SD cards on ebay for Virtual Console purposes and I think the fastest moderately priced cards are Class-6 150x speed. Thats 22,5mb/sec opposed to normal Class-6 that is only 6mb/sec. There is also 200x speed (30mb/sec) but they are 3x more expensive. I think I'll go for PhotoFast 150x because its a Japanese company. MicroSD is most likely different, I suspect slower so you should try what you find with keywords like 100x, 133x, 150x etc.
     
  8. Porkdish

    Member Porkdish GBAtemp Fan

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    I have a class 6 transcend 4 gig card. It sucks with the Cyclo. It takes a fair while to start new games (to write the new sav to disk) and the enhanced menu can take 20 seconds or more to appear. I get the Chinatown Wars freezes (on the cyclo). I have not tried POR on it though.

    I have used another SD card from my old R4 and it has the same enhanced menu latency, slow starts and chinatown wars freezes. That card plays POR flawlessly on the R4. It seems the cyclo is quite picky with how the SD card performs.

    I have read on the cyclo forums that there's a couple of batches of transcend 4 gig cards. Some work fine some suck. I got the suck type.

    I wish you luck tracking down a GOOD source of information on this, most forum users will have no idea and spout something just to contribute (like this post). You've already worked out that what class the card is, isn't the be-all-end-all when it comes to good performance with the Cyclo.

    Its also NOT a case of get what you pay for. Some class 4's cards perform decisively better than my class 6 card. This is a clear cut case of 'what the fuck works the best?, someone who knows the skinny please let us know'.

    Sorting out who really knows and who's just trying to justify their own purchase decision is the hard part.

    I don't know if you saw the original post on the Cyclo forum but this one was quite informative:

     
  9. MTGXerxes
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    Newcomer MTGXerxes Newbie

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    Ahh I guess I should have updated with the results.

    Yeah there's lots of info and opinions on the different brands and such, and even then some people have no problems with a lower class card. All I know/read is that PoR "requires" a "Random access time" of .7 or better to be 100% flawless, and anything under 1.0 will be 95% flawless. My original card was 1.3 (granted I have no idea what this means, I just DL'ed the program HD Tach and looked at the stats) and the Transcend I bought started at .8, and after loading it up with all my games moved up to .9

    However, I had zero problems with the game at that point. Everything is flawless now. The only thing I can't do is the R+L+AXBY to go back to the Cyclo menu, I freeze when I try that which is a little frustrating, I'm not sure if its my SD or my Cyclo or the new v1.54 firmware I just put on instead of the v1.53, but oh well. (by the way, does anyone know why this may be occuring?)

    Everything ended up fine with what I got, and I know that PoR is the only game with the issue of needing a faster SD card to guarantee to work.
     
  10. W.I.C.K.E.D.

    Member W.I.C.K.E.D. GBAtemp Regular

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    basically the whole class thing has to do with the write speeds and has NOTHING to do with the access times. The random access time has to do with how quickly at any given point the card can be accessed. All cards are different (and when they get filled they can have slower access times)and buying a so called "better" or "higher class"card will not always solve your problem. Let me give you an example. Here are cards that I have and what test I have done have shown.

    8gb sandisk micro sd(class 2)-
    write speed: 8. 4mb a second
    read speed: 14.9 mb a second
    random access time: 1.2 ms

    8gb pqi micro sd(class 4)-
    write speed: 4.5 mb a second
    read speed:16.2 mb a second
    random access time: 1.6 ms

    16gb kingston micro sd(class 2)-
    write speed:7-8 mb a second
    read speed: 16 mb a second
    random acces time: 1.1ms

    from what the average think you'd assume the pqi would be the fastest. Wrong, from what the tests show the sandisk and kingston are actually faster when it comes to everything except reading. While pqi does the bare minimum, sandisk and kingston excel. Random access time is something most manufacturers don't even bother to deal with. So basically it's hit or miss with whatever you buy when it comes to that. The smaller 4gb (and smaller) cards seem to be better at random access but that is simply because they don't have as big of a library of shit to go through to find what they need. I've heard sandisk, kingston, and transend are all fast cards but I've also heard the exact opposite. So when it comes to this you have to do some trial and error on your side and don't believe what anyone tells you card wise. Manufacturer, batch and other things come into play when you buy a card, as well as where you buy it from. So buy a card, if it's too slow possibly sell it to a buddy that needs something for their camera, phone or such. SD also tends to be faster than Micro SD but that seems to be from the fat16 format when sdhc use fat32. So good luck, I hope you find the card you're looking for. If you want one specifically for the few games you REALLY wanna play, I'd recommend buying a smaller 2 or 4 gb kingston, transend, or sandisk. Class probably won't matter(but a class 6 might be better, not sure due to randomness of random access time for cards.....how ironic) and nearly no websites show the random access speed of cards so good luck. I hope you find what you're looking for. [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  11. Porkdish

    Member Porkdish GBAtemp Fan

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    I seem to have fixed my transcend card by simply doing a proper full format (write zeros not just flag data for rewrite). I shall make it a practice with all sd cards I buy from now on rather than just using them out of the box.

    Enhanced menu appears in 3 seconds or less now for all games. New .sav files are quick to create as are the real time save files. If Chinatown wars doesn't freeze any more I'll be well chuffed.
     
  12. freshwaterjuice

    Newcomer freshwaterjuice Newbie

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    I have the same card. How do you make a proper full format? Did the freeze problem with Chinatown get resolved?
     
  13. Porkdish

    Member Porkdish GBAtemp Fan

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    So far so good, no freezes yet. I'm using a patched dump though so I'll re-dump and try to see how it goes with a virgin rom.

    To test I got in a Tourismo and built my wanted level up then raced around the lower east. The camera got up to its highest point and I got a little bit of slow down, but no freezes. One time after many hours play and on low ds battery I got the textures to rip/slow load. For a brief second the area ahead of your car goes flat grey. This often appeared when the game froze before for me, but the game just stuttered for like a half second and the textures came back and I kept driving.

    ---

    All I did was a single pass security wipe. It fills the card with 0's completely as a low level security measure. I did it with Disk Utility on a Mac. There's bound to be PC programs that'll do it. Why does it seem to fix things? I can only guess, perhaps it flags bad sectors and is like defragmenting your drive. Straight after a wipe you've got a better chance of all the ROM data going down sequentially onto the SD card rather than being spread across it. Improving reading/access times.
     

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