System Memory Expansion

Discussion in 'Wii - Hacking' started by LightyKD, Jul 3, 2009.

  1. LightyKD
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    LightyKD Future CEO of OUYA Inc.

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    Something has been stuck in my in my head for a while. This is something of a technical question so I would love to hear a answer for someone who knows the innings and outings of the Wii. Here goes...

    "Is it possible to expand the Wii's memory by at least 1 gig VIA a USB stick or SD card? I guess USB would be more practical, being that most users would have the SD slot occupied by the card that holds their WiiWare and DLC. I know Vista has a feature where flash drives can be used for memory so what's stopping developers or Nintendo from doing the same?"
     
  2. Jotokun

    Jotokun GBAtemp Regular

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    If you mean memory as in ram, then there's nothing stopping a homebrew developer from using a USB device for a swap file, which is effectively using it as ram instead of storage. However, this is slow and will just wear out the life of the drive faster.

    If you mean memory as in storage, then again, only for homebrew stuff. Nintendo has no interest in allowing one to use a USB or SD device to run stuff off of as it would lead to easier piracy.
     
  3. LightyKD
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    LightyKD Future CEO of OUYA Inc.

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    - I meant memory as in RAM. Is there a difference between the USB or SD method (if one was created) and what exactly be worn out? The device being used as RAM, the disc drive or the NAND?
     
  4. rickz0rz

    rickz0rz Member

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    No.

    Expanding the memory via USB or SD is what Jotokun basically referred to as 'swap space'--offloading unused (at the time) memory onto the USB or SD device.. which is kind of bad, because frequent writes to flash memory is what wears down the device. By that same token, you shouldn't really wipe/rewrite your Wii's NAND because it too is flash memory and is susceptible to the same thing. Regular hard-drive based USB devices wouldn't work too well, because they are slower, and even then, the USB(2) bus isn't nearly as fast as the link between the CPU and RAM is, so you'll feel slowdown all around.

    If you really want to (try and) bump up the RAM on the Wii, try replacing the memory module. People did this on the Xbox 1 to increase it from 64 to 128 MB.

    Let's examine this case. The Wii has a 64 MB memory module, the K4J52324QC-BC14. This is actually GDDR3 memory meant for graphics-related tasks, so why Nintendo is using this for main memory is beyond me but hey, it works for them! Maybe for speed or something... So, we backtrack that model to Samsung, and check their product page... only to see that the page only lists 512mbit (64 MB) modules. Going a little further, we can trace it to 3 main parts Nos (http://www.samsung.com/global/business/semiconductor/productList.do?fmly_id=146) -- 2 512mbit, 1gbit (128 MB). No guarantee that they will work with the Wii, but since they're all relatively close products by Samsung (136 BGA chips), I'd wager to say they'd work.

    There are a few problems with this route, and one of them affects this 'swap space' thing of yours. First of all, you have to order these parts in relatively large quantities. Like, by the thousand. Second of all, installing these is a bitch. Third, and the part that should be relevant to using USB devices as swap space--the Wii OS pretty much needs to be hacked to support greater memory, and no games would take advantage of it, only homebrew. This isn't so much an issue if you use it right with bootmii, since everything can be pretty much modified in there. More memory would make something like Wii Linux happy.
     
  5. lajd

    lajd GBAtemp Regular

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    i've seen a lot of things happen in this scene that once were considered impossible. so i'll hold off saying no.

    all it takes is a sufficiently talented and inspired dev.
     
  6. FenrirWolf

    FenrirWolf GBAtemp Psycho!

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  7. pepxl

    pepxl GFX W!Z4RD

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  8. Joe88

    Joe88 [λ]

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    its most likely a program to increase the page file (like what ready boost does)
    or it will create virtual ram on the harddrive which is only used to by pass programs and games that have requirements and wont install until they are met
     
  9. FenrirWolf

    FenrirWolf GBAtemp Psycho!

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    Or it just makes a taskbar move across the page without actually doing anything.
     
  10. koji2009

    koji2009 GBAtemp Maniac

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    Depending on the type of media (SD/USB) there could be a noticable increase using a pagefile system.

    For example, on low ram systems running windows vista, using ReadyBoost (basically using a high-speed flash drive as a quicker swap space than a hard drive) you can notice a really big difference. Again, this will wear down the USB drive over time and it will never be as fast as true ram, but it is a marked improvement and could be done.

    The problem would be writing such a system. Windows computers (and most operating systems in general) are designed from the ground up to take advantage of this system... That is, programs don't have to be programmed to cache, the operating system handles it. For it to be useful in homebrew, it'd have to be specifically modified for each individual game... Meaning it's feasible, but not necessarily the best idea.
     
  11. snikerz

    snikerz GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    It may be possible to remap the NAND access to a SD Card, like Waninkoko remapped the DVD commands to USB.
     
  12. beegee7730

    beegee7730 ITS PAAFEKUTO!

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    Or how "Wii-FAKE" did his "Sekrithax"...If its real.
     
  13. harsh111

    harsh111 Member

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  14. beegee7730

    beegee7730 ITS PAAFEKUTO!

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    Awwh, I thought it worked!
    [​IMG]
     
  15. sirakain

    sirakain Advanced Member

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    Nice joke [​IMG]
     
  16. LightyKD
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    LightyKD Future CEO of OUYA Inc.

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    All joke replies aside, for the serious ones, thanks. I was just wondering how far game developers could take things if need be. Every now and then you get a dev complaining about how the Wii doesnt have enough memory but I think if someone taked on a "Guitar Hero on DS" approach maybe one of the ports could be used for memory expansion. Sure there would be plenty of writes to the flash drive but if a flash drive were to be used, whats the expected life span of the drive? How many writes could the average USB stick handle?
     
  17. elenar

    elenar GBAtemp Regular

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    Flash memory cells start to erode with extended use. Depending on the type of flash memory being used (I won't go into this as it's extremely technical, google it if you want extremely specific information) an individual sector on a piece of flash memory will last (on the average) about 10,000 to 100,000 rewrites. Your typical "this is for my camera!" SD and microSD flash memory will be closer to the 10,000. Most flash memory uses bad-sector detection to extend the life of the product, but the memory becomes slower and fragmented. Depending on the rigorousness of rewrite frequency, you can see SD-type memory being un-usable in as little as a few months or as long as several years.
     
  18. Golfman560

    Golfman560 TheRapist.com

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    I don't know about expansion, but a hardware replacement might be possible to allow more space. However just using a USB drive or a SD card would be useless (But possibly possible).