R4 clones really that bad?

Discussion in 'R4 DS' started by floobmonsrake, May 27, 2009.

May 27, 2009
  1. floobmonsrake
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    Newcomer floobmonsrake Advanced Member

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    I dont see why people hate r4 clones so much. I have an r4 III (micro sdhc support) and it works like a charm for me. I heared people say it will brick your ds. I think this is a rumor. Can anyone clarify what exactly is so bad about r4 clones?
     
  2. Depravo

    Global Moderator Depravo Jaded curmudgeon

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    They're bad because there is no way of telling good ones from bad ones and there are MANY MORE bad ones. Sure, there may be reliable clones but those clones will have clones too. Clones of clones. Your R4 III may be one of the good ones but what about all the bad ones? There is no guarantee that two R4 III's (or any other R4 clones) are made to the same standards or even by the same team.

    Recommending R4 clones to anybody will only lead to more people wasting their money on cheaply-made, unreliable bad clones. If you had any respect for the DS homebrew community you would advise people against buying an R4 clone at every possible opportunity.
     
  3. jruschme

    Newcomer jruschme Advanced Member

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    First, let me begin with the oft-repeated statement that the R4 company, as in the original developer, is dead and its assets scattered to the wind. As a result and in the absence of any one or any way to defend the R4 trademark, the name "R4" has become something of a generic term for DS flashcart.

    Therefore, any cart that you buy now with the name "R4" is one of three things:1. Old stock of the original R4
    2. Copies, possibly SDHC enhanced, of the original R4
    3. Clones of other carts with the name R4 stuck on it
    In the case of #2 and #3, we must make the logical assumption that the people behind these carts are opportunists trying to make a buck off the brand recognition of the name "R4". We can assume this is the case, otherwise why wouldn't a more unique brand identity be created?

    This brings up the quality control concerns that are often brought up about R4 clones (i.e, will it "brick" my DS?). The assumption here is that if a vendor is so opportunistic as to cash in on the R4 name, then what incentive do they have to invest in any degree of quality control? Personally, I'm not sure this is the biggest issue, though. Yes, there have been bad clones which have blown DS fuses, but there have also been bad instances of "good" carts, too. My suspicion is that both the clones and the real cards are probably produced on the same assembly lines in the same factories with the same level of overall rejects. Similarly, do any of the "big" flashcart makers have that much of a QC/QA organization? (I don't see an "inspected by number 5" tag in my DSTT packaging.)

    Related to this is the issue of whether a clone may be missing necessary engineering updates. If, for instance, Acekard updates the 2i hardware to fix a data corruption issue, do I have any hope that the "R4i Ugrade SDHC Revolution" will be updated with the same fix? Here again, the opportunistic cloner has no engineering investment or motivation for one.

    Then there is the issue of marketplace confusion. Most R4 clones have a name which starts with "R4" or "R4i" and contains some combination of terms such as "SDHC", "Revolution" and "Upgrade". As a result, when someone asks about the "R4i" are they talking about the one from:
    • r4i.cn
      r4ultra.com
      r4i-sdhc.com
      ndsr4i.com
      hyper-r4i.com
      r4ids.com
    or some other vendor. Take a look at all the ones on DealExtreme; if you had to tell someone to buy an R4, which one would you tell them to buy and how would you even be sure they found the right one in the list?

    There is the issue of buyer expectations. The opportunistic R4 cloner is basically doing the equivalent of taking a Chevy, slapping on a propeller badge and some faux wood trim and selling the resulting car as a BMW.

    A bit about software... these days, the original R4 software (1.18) does not represent the highest degree of compatibility and is usally augemented by YSMenu (which actually uses the DSTT loaders) as there is no team to provide ongoing updates. In the case of clone cards, the buyer is at the mercy of the vendor of both the original hardware (Acekard, DSTT) and the vendor of the clone in terms of compatibility fixes. Even when a vendor does issue an update it may often be little more than updating the USERCHEAT.DAT file or the equivalent of the DSTT INFOLIB.DAT (often from community updates from this site and others like it). For example, the R4i-SDHC cards can't run Jedi Alliance. Why? Because the DSTT loader has never been updated to run it.

    Finally, there is the issue of the overall effect that cloning has on flashcart development. Let me use the DSTT as an example partly because it is the base for a number of R4 clones and partly because it is the most public example of a company which appears to be being destroyed by the cloners. In the beginning, the DSTT was a very promising card with frequent updates. By most accounts, though, this innovation stopped at least six months ago when they turned their attention to stopping cloners. At present, they are at least a month overdue with what should have been a quarterly update and, by most accounts, the last two software releases have offered little new functionality or compatibility, instead focussing on adding "fake killer" software which was quickly disabled by the community. The only software released by the DSTT team since January has been a tool to detect whether a DSTTi is fake or not.

    Enough said?
     
  4. elixirdream

    Member elixirdream GBAtemp Legend

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    jruschme
    I LOVE IT!
    seriously nice explaination~!
     
  5. Depravo

    Global Moderator Depravo Jaded curmudgeon

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    Yep, it beat mine. [​IMG]
     

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