What is the best GBA flash cart?

Discussion in 'GBA - Flashing Hardware and Software' started by Rokku, Jul 21, 2012.

  1. Rokku

    Rokku GBAtemp Fan

    Oct 4, 2010
    United States
    I just got a GBA SP real cheap and I'm wondering what the best flash cart for it is.

    There's a couple options out there, but I personally have zero experience with GBA flash carts so I figured I would ask.
  2. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

    pip Reporter
    Nov 21, 2005
    United Kingdom
    The question comes up every so often but OK

    note- I probably will switch but GBA carts are usually measured in megabits rather than megabytes so be careful when looking (8 megabits= 1 megabyte).

    Long version
    Absolute best- probably a tie between the EZ3 and M3 perfect depending upon the person but both of those are as rare as rocking horse shit.

    Still very nice but available- EZ4 lite deluxe. Quite pricey anywhere I know to find them the last few months (pretty much http://shop.01media.com/info.asp?ProductID=33276 only). It is DS lite sized but a quick case mod sees it quite happy to work in a regular GBA slot. About the only notable thing is lacks if hardware real time clock (pretty much only pokemon and boktai/solar boy django) but there are patches for most of that (I am not sure if someone was made for pokemon emerald in the end) and savestates which the ones above do have after a fashion (it is a similar story in DS savestates in terms of ease of use).

    Nice but slightly hard to get your hands on- g6 of various flavours. Used onboard memory but had some nice GBA abilities.

    Most commonly available cart- the regular EZ4 which is GBA sized but make sure you get a miniSD to go with it. From the same link as the EZ4 lite deluxe you can get a regular EZ4 lite which again is DS lite sized but uses microSD. Like the lite deluxe it lacks real time clock support and onboard it has a different memory arrangement- GBA roms, which come up to 32 megabytes although rarely exceed 16, need fast memory to run which means NOR or PSRAM but not NAND (which CF, SD, miniSD..... use) and the original EZ4 has 32 megabytes of NOR (slow to load but stays there once written) and 16 of PSRAM (fast to write but loses the ROM when power is shut off*). Other than early GBA carts which were all NOR pretty much everything uses a NAND loading to PSRAM or NOR arrangement.

    *pretty much every GBA flash cart and certainly all those that mattered wrote to a different section of SRAM for saves hence the battery that most have.

    Old GBA era devices- They can be a bit fiddly to use compared to a DS cart, although the same can be said for most things on the GBA side of things, and some of the later GBA devices mentioned above are far more user friendly but they work really well.
    The EZ2 had a 1 gbit version that will not be on sale long should one appear (the EZ3 or m3 perfect will fetch a decent price but you can bet I will pick up an EZ2 should one crop up). Although I am not going to recommend it to GBA flash cart neophyte I see shop.01 have some of the old neoflash carts in stock and they are technically rebadged XG2 cards and for all that might be said about their contributions to the history of the DS ROM running scene they should have inherited quite a bit of their, for want of a better term, precursors GBA ability; give or take a few things which all have patches getting GBA games to run on a flash cart is a trivial affair most of the time.

    Avoid- anything with supercard on the name (they make fine DS carts but GBA not so much*), EZ4 lite compact, and M3 professional as their GBA abilities are limited; they were made when people likely still had proper GBA devices and needed something geared towards DS games.

    *where pretty much everything else is near perfect the supercards are maybe 70% (although it is a fairly good 70%) for GBA use and annoying to use, in addition to the not so hot compatibility comes the potential for slowdowns and a save feature which will rarely have kind words said about it, which means they are not held in high esteem.

    Some people have tried to use DS expansion packs on the GBA which can be made to work but it is fiddly as you will need a DS to flash new games. They are great if you are using them on a DS and just want a game at a time but not for a GBA and not if you want to see all the GBA has to offer in a similar manner to how you might use a DS flash cart to see all the DS has to offer which is usually the operating logic that leads to these sorts of threads.

    Short version
    EZ4 with miniSD or EZ4 lite deluxe if you can spring for it and mod the case is about your only viable choice for a good GBA cart these days as nothing much has been made in years save for the EZ4 which had a small run a few years back hence their being available to this day.
    1 person likes this.
  3. Rokku

    Rokku GBAtemp Fan

    Oct 4, 2010
    United States
    I don't understand why the EZ3 has RTC support and the EZ4 doesn't...what kind of developer REMOVES features? :P

    But I'll try and find a mini-SD EZ4.
  4. Rydian

    Rydian Resident Furvertâ„¢

    Feb 4, 2010
    United States
    Cave Entrance, Watching Cyan Write Letters
    RTC costs more money than non-RTC, and they develop the carts to make money, so it's an investment-payout thing.
  5. Rokku

    Rokku GBAtemp Fan

    Oct 4, 2010
    United States
    Well I can't find the EZ4 either...

    Oh well.
  6. Another World

    Another World Emulate the Planet!

    Former Staff
    Jan 3, 2008
    From Where???

    -another world
  7. raystriker

    raystriker Alpha PC Builder

    Dec 28, 2011

    ez4 for $29
  8. Rokku

    Rokku GBAtemp Fan

    Oct 4, 2010
    United States
    Oof, that's...a lot.

    I can get a Supercard DS2 for that much, and that emulates GBA and DS games...
  9. VicKi

    VicKi Newbie

    Jul 23, 2012
    Maybe this is a stupid question, but why do you need the RTC to play pokemon?
  10. dickfour

    dickfour Banned

    Jun 20, 2011
    United States
    I have a pretty big collection of slot two cards but I often find myself using my gba sized ez 3in1, writing the rom to nor then backing up my sav in my ds when I'm done bearing the game. You might be able to find one of those for under $20 still if you're lucky
  11. MFDC12

    MFDC12 GBAtemp Advanced Fan

    Oct 12, 2007
    United States
    You don't necessarily do
    some things just won't work without it. If you are playing to just train/beat elite 4 it probably doesn't matter (it's been a while since I played RSE)
    "The tides in Shoal Cave depend on the time of day. It is low tide from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm and 9:00 pm to 3:00 am, and high tide from 3:00 pm to 9:00 pm and 3:00 am to 9:00 am." is the only thing listed at bulbapedia, but I thought there was more
  12. porkiewpyne

    porkiewpyne Report-er

    Global Moderator
    Jun 8, 2008
    Good thing Slot 1 cards generally have a lower price, especially nowadays. Not too sure why but considering the insane number of clones/brands out there, some of which are really cheap, I assume that the cost of production to be relatively low. Though, take my words with a truckload of salt. Pretty sure the Slot 2 carts were always pricey (either that or all the sellers in my place intend to rip me off).

    As mentioned, Shoal Cave in RSE relies on it, without which means a Shell Bell cannot be made. Nothing too crucial but still. I am not too sure about berry planting but I think it is also affected.

    Since OP states that he intends to use a GBA, I believe the larger EZ4 would be the choice. :)
  13. VicKi

    VicKi Newbie

    Jul 23, 2012
    Ok thanks, then i probably will order an EZ4.

    Edit: Oh wait i have one more question. Will i be able to play and save GB and GBC games on the EZ4?
  14. Hadrian

    Hadrian Better than Craigslist

    Former Staff
    Oct 12, 2004
    M3 professional I can vouch for however I could never get Racing Gears Advance to work on it.
  15. jimmyemunoz

    jimmyemunoz GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

    Feb 23, 2009
    United States
    M3 Professional? Guys it's the M3 PERFECT that is rare, and I have one for sale right now (SD version) in the Wanted to Sell section.

    @ Hadrian Your right. They can never get that one game to run!
  16. superspudz2000

    superspudz2000 GBAtemp Advanced Fan

    Aug 23, 2007
    i think Racing Gears Advance works without the Soft reset and RTS options.

    some games dont work with modification. run it through M3 manager without the Soft reset check box.