So is it time to give in and shell out $40 for an EZ-Flash IV?

Discussion in 'GBA - Flashing Hardware and Software' started by FireEmblemGuy, Jan 28, 2014.

  1. FireEmblemGuy
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    FireEmblemGuy Celebrating a decade of shitposting

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    I picked up a backlit SP earlier this month and I've been looking at my options for backup carts, probably for the first time since I picked up a 3-in-1 maybe half a decade ago. The choices, as far as I can tell, are fairly narrow anymore:

    - The EZ-Flash IV is probably the best value for the money at $40 or so on a few Chinese sites, but I've heard about issues with microSD adapters and the onboard NOR occasionally. Can't beat write speeds, either; copying to a mini/microSD is about as fast as you can get, although I've really always preferred carts I can write directly to over SD-based carts.

    - The Supercard miniSD (or clones of it, anyways) goes for $17-25, and honestly the slowdown on them isn't what turns me off so much as the saving methods. I had a USB-based N-Card for the DS; the save battery died after a year and I'd never remember to power-cycle or soft-reset to backup the save - I imagine I'd have the same issue here.

    - I've actually found a few sites selling the 128M Fire Linkers for around $10-15. Not bad for a single-backup cart, but even if I didn't want to play games or hacks larger than 16MB, I'm not sure if the writing program and drivers would work on Windows 7, or if I even have a printer port on my latest PC. I seem to recall a modified 3-in-1 writing program that could write to them from the DS, but my DS and Lite are long gone.

    - The few sites that have any stock left seem to be clearing out 512M NeoFlash carts at around $50 or so, and NeoFlash's store seems to have the 1G cards at $60, although I've never heard much good about them. On the other hand, I've never heard anything bad about the GBA compatibility either. USB writer means that I could probably eventually get it to work on a modern PC, too. Strangely enough, the bulk price from NeoFlash's own store seems to be $13/18 a piece for orders of 10 or more 512M/1G carts respectively, although that adds around $5 a piece in shipping versus the free shipping for a single cart. Probably a site glitch, but it'd be interesting to try and get a group buy together to see what'd happen.

    Anyways, barring trying to get a group together to buy shady Neo carts, it looks like the EZ-Flash IV is the only real option anymore. I remember hearing good things about the E-Link, and I even saw a few as recently as a year or two ago, but they seem to have vanished completely. Are there any other decent choices around?
     
  2. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    You have most of it, though I have never seen a fire linker DS writing program. Other than the 3 in 1 and Rudolph's tools that did some stuff for the other expansion packs and carts with RAM (though never use one with the EZ4) I have only seen http://code.google.com/p/fas1/

    On direct writing, they are great until the memory starts to wear out or corrupts (or you decide more space is what you want, even though 2 gigs is enough for most of the worthwhile GBA library and the things it can emulate well). Even though it is a pain you will probably be able to pick up a miniSD for the next decade or more. Also yeah it really does want a miniSD (and China/Hong Kong sourced ones are often fake or badly made like most SD/CF/Xd/flash memory seems to be when sourced from that part of the world), adapters have been known to work but it is so hit and miss and even there prone to "worked fine for 4 weeks, now crashes all the time). I have no idea why that is, especially when micro to full SD adapters tend to have to be ground to dust before they stop working, but it is the case.

    On neoflash for GBA. Give or take the need for some extra patches if the save support stopped being updated prior to new types coming out and the usual ones to work around solar sensors and what have you basically every cart is only the likes of Legendz series (came with a little Skylanders like addon) and that unlicensed PDA program. The exceptions are just the supercard, the team cyclops card (which was a supercard clone) and the very early carts made just after the GBC ended (I doubt you will find much mention of them outside the pocketheaven wiki or threads like this). I guess if you got a smaller cart it might not fit the larger games on there either and some of the really old pogoshell builds might trouble you (though there is http://www.kuwanger.net/gba/pogoshell/ ). I do have to say though that more ROM hacks in the future will need the full 32 megs -- unlike the NES it is trivial to add/expand (often easier than shuffling old data around) past the 16 meg mark and though most games were at or under the 16 megs the extra space is very appealing to would be hackers. To that end yeah the GBA will be as good as anything else as far as game support goes, I am not sure about cheat, savestate, soft reset and whatever else (though I would not be surprised to see functional versions of the first and last).
    I shall have to look though, I have not really seen any neoflash stuff for GBA around in recent years other than on the likes of shop.01media
    I assume you have seen the warnings about not getting an EZ4 lite compact, a M3 professional or supercard rumble for reasons of not having much GBA capable memory (and so no great for GBA games).

    On windows 7, I doubt you will be able to get it work even if you tried really hard. However virtualbox has great USB passthrough options and it works fine there (a sufficiently cut down XP install is less than a gig, a basic XP install is not much worse), I have not had reason to try the parallel stuff though.