Nintendo DS storage devices

Nintendo DS storage devices
The internals of an Acekard 2.1 DS flashcart shown below to a quarter and Micro SD card.

Nintendo DS storage devices are some of the devices used to store a licensed developer's work-in-progress images, homebrew video games, or downloaded commercial games, since the Nintendo DS is not sold with a rewritable storage medium. (Licensed developers can use the blue Intelligent Systems Nitro Emulator box to flash cards). These devices are commonly known as "flashcarts" or "flashcards". There are two main classes of flashcarts: older devices that fit in SLOT-2 (the Game Boy Advance Game Pak slot) and newer devices that fit in SLOT-1 (the DS Game Card slot). SLOT-2, or 1st generation, devices have historically been cheaper due to economies of scale inherited from their use with Game Boy Advance homebrew but require a booting tool in SLOT-1 in order to use the touch screen and other DS features. Devices that only use SLOT-1, or 2nd generation, do not work with GBA homebrew, but as of 2007, they are becoming easier to use and less expensive, rivaling many SLOT-2 devices in price which may have been cheaper.

First generation devices include GBA flash cartridges, GBAMP CF, SuperCard, and M3. Second generation devices include R4 Revolution, CycloDS, G6 Real, and DS-X. The storage device either contains flash memory or a slot for a memory card to store homebrew. Storage devices with a memory card slot usually have more storage capacity than flash memory devices. Although flash memory capacity is usually measured in megabits (Mb), memory card capacity is usually measured in megabytes (MB), where 8 Mb is 1 MB.

Different brands of storage device differ in their support for homebrew, support for DS and Game Boy Advance ROMs, special features, such as playing media files, physical size and cost. Strictly speaking, a storage device is not necessary for DS with FlashMe installed because homebrew can be sent to the DS using WMB. However, this is not a very portable method because the DS needs to be within range of a suitable Wi-Fi card.


First generation

GBA flash cartridge

The first method of storing homebrew applications were flash Cartridges designed for the Game Boy Advance system. These were ideal for finding exploits since they are a 32 MiB block of rewritable flash memory directly accessible by both CPUs of the Nintendo DS. Many people who used a lot of GBA homebrew use these for DS homebrew as well; however their limited storage space, variety and price makes them non-ideal for new users. Since there were many types of flash cartridge, each with its own method for writing to the flash ROM, most homebrew programs only supported saving to the included 64 KiB of SRAM intended for game saves. With the creation of DLDI, this is no longer a problem, and any program from 2007 or later works with any flashcard. This method of storage does not work with the Nintendo DSi, as it does not have a GBA slot. However a new iPlayer version released late 2009 runs GBA on DSi.

GBA Movie Player

The GBA Movie Player, often called GBAMP, is a CompactFlash adapter for the Game Boy Advance which supports playing music, movies and NES and Game Boy games (under 200kb) as well as very small Game Boy Advance games (under 256kb) from the CF card as well as reading text files. Although its standard features are sub-par, its low price and simple design made it ideal for DS homebrew. A hacked firmware is available which adds the ability to run DS homebrew while keeping the GBA features. This is the most widely supported homebrew device; nearly every homebrew which writes to the storage medium supports it.

Users should note that there are three versions of the GBAMP; a large pass-through device (version 1), a small white and red cartridge (version 2), and a slightly smaller SD version (version 2 SD). The device that has the most support is the 2nd version.

SuperCard and M3 Perfect

SuperCard and M3 Perfect are two devices similar to GBA Movie Player but with more features. M3 is made by the makers of GBAMP. Both contain a CompactFlash, Secure Digital, miniSD, or Transflash slot as well as 32 MB of built-in RAM. They offer all of the GBAMP's features, plus the abilities to play all GBA games and homebrew by using the built-in RAM as a mock flash cartridge, and DS backups using sequential reading. (SuperCard's built-in RAM is too slow to play some GBA games accurately.) Some DS homebrew also uses this additional RAM, though addressing issues and speed make it less useful than the DS's built-in memory. These are more expensive than GBAMP, however (M3 more than SuperCard), and not as well supported by homebrew. Most homebrew has trouble writing to SD cards because the more complex and proprietary protocols used with SD were reverse engineered later than the well-known CF protocol. The SuperCard has full support for booting DS game backups, with no problems with saving or booting, and even has a cheat system and rumble support. However, the SuperCard only has partial support for DS Download. (Most games work, but some freeze upon loading.)

Other variations have been released such as SuperCard Rumble and M3 Pro. These variations bring about many changes, from a smaller form factor that better fits the DS Lite, to the reduction of the built-in RAM.

Max Media Player

The Max Media Player (not to be confused with Max Media Launcher, which is a NoPass device) is similar to the GBA Movie Player, but does not function in GBA mode.[citation needed] Although the easiest device to find—it is the only DS homebrew device sold in major retail stores such as Wal-Mart—its price, power consumption, and poor homebrew support make it an unpopular choice. Its main attraction is the ability to be used to play DS game backups (through use of an unofficial homebrew called Max Overload), although all of these devices can be used for this purpose. (The developers of the GBAMP firmware hack have made an effort to prevent this, though methods do exist.) A new version of Maximum Overload has been released that allows the playing of commercial roms and has 100% NDS clean rom compatibility. A DLDI driver has been written so there is 99% homebrew compatibility. It is compatible with the famous Pokémon Black and White games.

Second generation

Once the DS card encryption was broken, it became possible to design cards that boot and read directly from slot 1. This meant that pass-through devices or flashed firmware were no longer needed to read from an external storage device and led to a wide proliferation of various all-in-one plug-n-play cards.

One drawback was that the new cards had very low compatibility with the significant portion of homebrew applications that required filesystem I/O. DLDI (Dynamically Linked Device Interface for libfat) patching has since solved the problem. All 2nd generation cards that have a DLDI driver written for them are now able to run most of the homebrew that requires filesystem I/O.

Action Replay DS Media Edition

A bulky device that protrudes out of the top of the DS, and has a slot (pointing down) for a game to be plugged in (behind the DS), it is basically an all-in-one combination of Datel's Max Media Player and the Action Replay. It is not supplied with a microSD card, but only supports microSD cards up to 2GB, as it does not support SDHC. It is not compatible with commercial ROMs. Action Replay DS Media Edition is not DSi friendly and had discontinued it. Datel released a successor for all models of the Nintendo DS family.

Action Replay DSi

A much slimmer device that all Nintendo DSs can access. Like former versions of Action Replay, Action Replay DSi* is fully updateable, so you don't need to buy a new one when new games are released; just update your Action Replay over the internet using the PC app supplied. You can also enter codes manually using Action Replay's virtual keyboard. Action Replay DSi is also capable of running Homebrew: it has 99% homebrew compatibility; it uses the GMTF DLDI for homebrews. Roms only work with Lame Boy and NESds. Action replay DSi features a saves function that uses a micro sd card with .duc files which can be downloaded/uploaded on many websites.

Action Replay: Ultimate Codes for Pokémon

A flashcart device much like the Action Replay DS right down to the software, but designed to be used for Pokémon games only.

Acekard 2

The Acekard 2 earned 90% on[1] and the Golden Award on[2] It boasts 99% game compatibility, skinnable, download-play support, micro SD/SDHC memory card support, very swift loading, and Action-Replay cheat support are some of its features. Users reported freezing problems with the first batch of cards, but the Acekard 2.1 revision released in December 2008 addressed these issues. These newer cards show 2.1 on their sticker and can be identifiable by their lack of a microchip bulge underneath the sticker.

The official Acekard Team has not updated their firmware since mid-2010[3]—in addition to the official firmware, a Closed-Source firmware is also under active development, called AKAIO.[4] It is currently at version 1.8.6, with support for the EZ-Flash V 3-in-1 and 3-in-1+ Expansion Packs. Acekard users can also download latest AK-AIO 1.8.7 from[5]

With the release of the Nintendo DSi, the Acekard team became the first team to release a card compatible with it: the Acekard 2i. Other than its support for the DSi, it is identical to the Acekard 2. When Nintendo released the newest iteration of the DSi firmware (1.4.1U in the United States),[6] the Acekard 2i was the Second manufacturer to release a patch to make the card compatible.[7]

The Acekard 2i can be used on a 3DS in DS Mode, a patch was released that fix the compatibility issue.[8]

Many Acekard 2i users have complained about a defect where the spring mechanism will fail permanently, making it nearly impossible to load an SD Micro Card into the slot on the Acekard after just a few uses.[9]

Acekard R.P.G.

The Acekard R.P.G. is the only device on the market to feature both NAND memory, and a MicroSD slot.

The Acekard R.P.G., like most newer devices, uses SDHC cards, which range from 4GB to 32GB. The Acekard R.P.G. comes with a mini-USB cable to connect the card with a computer to access the 8Gbit (1GB) of internal NAND memory. The card is currently the only card with a completely open source loader. This has led to numerous custom loaders, with a wide range of extra features. The most prominent of these features is the native support of the EZ Flash V 3 in 1 expansion pack, which enables the Acekard R.P.G. to utilize the internal PSRAM for the Nintendo DS Browser, the Rumble function in games which support it, and the ability to load GameBoy Advance games to either the PSRAM or the NOR memory.

Many other cards' firmwares are based on the Acekard R.P.G.'s firmware.

CycloDS Evolution

The CycloDS Evolution features DLDI auto patching and full DS download play support. It is one of the best, and most popular cards on the market, but also more expensive due to its primarily European based marketers. It earned 96% on,[10] and a golden star on

Like most other slot-1 devices, the CycloDS Evolution uses MicroSD cards for storage and media are played using a modified version of the Moonshell media player.[11] It was one of the first to use SDHC cards, which range from 4GB to 32GB. The "Enhanced Mode" provides unique features activated through an in-game menu which other cards do not support. These features currently include slow-motion, soft reset back to CycloDS GUI, a built-in cheat device, a real-time save feature, the option to change the brightness of the DS Lite's LCD backlight in-game, and an in-game text reader for video game walkthroughs.

The card also acts as a PassMe and Slot-2 cards like the 3-in-1 extension or G6 Lite can be recognized as expansion packs for the CycloDS Evolution. This allows to extend memory for DSLinux, to play GBA games launched from the Slot-1 device and to use the Opera Web Browser, which normally requires a separate RAM expansion pack. The CycloDS Evolution is also able to boot and patch GBA games directly from the CycloDS menu instead of using a separate homebrew program.

Datel Games n' Music

Datel's "Games ‘n’ Music" is one of few available homebrew players.

The Games n' Music is a slot-1 device made by Datel. It uses microSD cards for storage, like many other slot-1 devices. It uses a similar firmware to the Max Media Dock, but accesses data from the microSD rather than the slot-2 CF device. This device was considered a poor choice for homebrew by a vocal few, because it did not have a DLDI and could not run older applications, but it has since been hacked and a DLDI driver has been written.[citation needed] The Games n' Music is one of the few homebrew devices to make it into stores, along with Datel's other devices, the Max Media Dock and the Action Replay (a cheat engine).

This card has a few known issues. The issues are common to most Nintendo DS storage devices. Unlike other slot-1 Cards, it does not support SDHC or any built-in RAM. The card, overall is very sturdy and can endure heavy scratches.

This device is supplied with a 256MB microSD card, a USB microSD card reader, and a CD containing 25 homebrew games (playable on the DS once they've been transferred onto the microSD card).

DS Link

The DS Link was one of the earliest slot-1 devices, and like most other cards, it uses MicroSD cards for storage. The DS Link wasn't as popular as its competitors because unlike all other cards, it does not contain a No-Pass, which means you must use a Mk-4 Mini to boot it, or flash your DS with FlashMe. The loader was recently updated to support the newer SDHC cards (up to 4GB or 8GB??).


The DS-Xtreme flash card is a one-card solution that contains 4 Gib (512 MiB) (or a newer 16Gib model (2 GiB)) of internal flash memory, with no option to add external memory on top. The DS-Xtreme hardware supports the generic USB Mass Storage specification, and therefore functions as a drag&drop USB drive with no additional drivers needed. It also sports two color-adjustable LEDs. After connecting the DS-Xtreme to a PC via the included USB cable, files can be transferred to the DS-Xtreme memory and be used on the DS immediately thereafter. The DS-Xtreme does not support 100% compatibility; indeed, many of the games that will load will have errors in a variety of areas, most prominently download play and Nintendo Wi-Fi connection. These problems were usually corrected by installing the newest version of the firmware, as with any flashcart, though support is no longer offered, thus many games require patching or other advanced methods of fixing in order to make them operate. In terms of homebrew compatibility, it is one of the highest-rated and does not require extra fixes due to the auto-patching software included. The biggest drawback to this card is its price, usually retailing around $100. As of 2009, the price on them has dropped to around $50, even the 16 Gib models. The developers have abandoned the project since 2007. gave the 4GiB DS-Xtreme a score of 91% in their official review.[12]


The DSTT is a very popular card compatible with SDHC cards. Recently, the DSTT has fallen to the same problem as the R4: clones have found their way into the market. Many manufacturers are making cards that imitate the package and look of the DSTT. Some clones change the name (e.g. DSTT-ADV or CN-DSTT) but most label their product as DSTT even if they are not affiliated by real DSTT Team. There is now a lot of information on DSTT official website to identify fakes and clones and even a guide to telling if a DSTT is real or fake.[13]

The DSTT and DSTTi are versatile beyond simply playing homebrew and ROM software though; one of the most useful features being that they incorporate cheat support in a variety of games.[14]

The DSTTi has been tested and reported to work with the DSi XL console released in March 2010 but not the newest 3DS console.[15]

DSTT and DSTTi TTMenu Kernel updated its official kernel DSTT TTMenu V1.18 on Dec 15th, 2010. A Closed-Source firmware is also under active development, called YSMenu. It is programmed by Yasu Software with latest YSMenu V6.59 on May 14, 2011.[16]

EZFlash V

The EZFlash V uses MicroSD cards for storage. One of the advantages promoted for the EZFlash V is its hybrid mode, which allows for speedy performance and lessened lag, even when using slower memory cards. The newer EZFlash V Plus supports Micro SD cards over 2GB while the original model does not. The EZFlash Vi is an upgraded version of the EZFlash V Plus, made for the Nintendo DSi. Also available is the 3in1 Expansion Pack which supports rumble, cache, and GBA ROM. The newer EZFlash Vi card is also shown to work with the new Nintendo 3DS console.[17] gave the EZFlash V a score of 94% in their official review.[18]


The EDGE DS card is the same size as a regular Nintendo DS Lite cartridge. It has been likened to the R4 card (R4v2/R4v3/R4v5), DSTT card, and SuperCard DSONE. The EDGE is a budget-priced no frills variation of the more full-featured CycloDS, using basically the same system.[19] It also comes in somewhat distinct packaging in the form of a triangular swivel-pack.[20] The EDGE DS card ceased production in October 2009[21] and has since been replaced by the iEDGE DS.

G6DS Real

The G6DS Real comes with a built in 8Gib or 16Gib (non-expandable) of NAND memory and offers a simple drag-and-drop interface via its USB linker with USB 2.0 write speeds like its predecessors. The card features 1:1 gameplay, offering the same ROM backup compatibility as commercial cartridges.

By using the same firmware as the M3DS Real, it supports Action Replay Max. It also offers features such as skinning, soft-reset, and DLDI homebrew auto-patching. A feature unique to the G6DS Real is that it allows the user to select whether the card bypasses the Nintendo DS's main menu, and go straight to the G6 Real's loader. The G6 real is also good for using many types of homebrew.


The iEDGE DS was released on 9 January 2010 as a replacement to the original EDGE DS card.[22] Its structure and packaging is virtually identical to that of the EDGE DS due to the original card being commercially successful. It functions with the Nintendo DSi, DSi XL as well. It does not work on the DSi LL.

The original EDGE DS did not have any clones made by rival factories, but the iEDGE DS has at least one well known clone card that has been circulating on the market.[23] The outside packaging of the genuine card is copied closely, making distinguishing between the two somewhat difficult without testing them using a computer.[24] However, there are still noticeable differences when compared side by side.[25]

The iEDGE card is rumoured to have been discontinued in September of 2011 after the manufacturers stopped supplying the card to distributors. It is not currently clear whether or not the iEDGE card is no longer in production or if a new card is being prepared by the EDGE team.[26]

I-Cheat Xtra

A bulky device that protrudes out of the top of the DS, has a slot (pointing down) for a game to be plugged in (behind the DS). The device is similar in appearance and functionality to Datel's "Action Replay Media Edition". The Orbit I-Cheat Xtra combines the functionality of cheat cartridge, gamesave backup/install, and homebrew player.

Cheat updates can be downloaded from the website and saved to microSD card.


Apparently made by the SuperCard team,[27] the iPlayer is a fairly new card to the market. This card is compatible to use with playback of popular video & music files without conversion. It is one of the few slot-1 cards that can emulate Game Boy Advance games because it has more RAM and power than most carts. The iPlayer does not play NDS ROMs. It is compatible on all DS models and can be updated on DSi 1.4 already installed on the system.

M3 Real

The M3 Real (also known as the M3DS Real) is a mainstream slot-1 flashcard manufactured and designed by the M3 Team. It is most notable for its Sakura firmware, created by Moonlight from code that would eventually be released as Moonshell 2. Yester this, the M3 Team's own firmware—dubbed Touchpod—was used with the cart, though this received mixed reviews due to its rather slow and clunky interface. Today, both Sakura and Touchpod come bundled with the firmware, with the card allowing you to choose which firmware you want to use upon first boot.

The M3 Real has many features now expected from most carts, including automatic DLDI patching, SDHC compatibilty, cheat/Action Replay system, slow motion, and soft reset. Sakura includes a built-in media player, built around Moonshell code, featuring support for playing various formats directly from the shell, including DPG and DSM video, AAC, MP3, OGG, MOD, and many others. It also supports the display of TXT files and several image types, such as JPG, BMP, GIF, and PNG. Another interesting feature of Sakura is the Save Restore function. This allows the user to restore whose save from various backups, which are created each time the game is run.

Received with the M3 Real are two GBA expansion cartridges: a Rumble Pack and a GBA memory cart. The Rumble Pack works with DS game backups and any supporting homebrew games. When activated, it vibrates, though there have been many complaints about users that it is too noisy and inconsistent. The memory cart allows the M3 Real to boot and play GBA games through the software directly, and allows the user to use GBA real-time save and cheat features. The memory cart can also be used as external RAM for hardware intensive applications (such as DSLinux) or emulators (like SNEmulDS).

As of Sakura v1.40 and Touchpod v4.3i, the M3 Real supports in-game real-time saving.[28] This makes it one of the few carts that support this feature.

There are quite a few skins available for the Sakura firmware, though not nearly as many as other popular carts. This is mainly due to the complexity of the skinning system, though the skins produced are generally of high-quality, due to the flexibility of the image format of the components (PNG files with alpha—most carts use BMP or GIF images).

M3i Zero

The M3i Zero is an updated M3 Real card designed for compatibility with the Nintendo DSi. It was released in July 2009.[29] There is no GBA compatibility with the M3i Zero running on the Nintendo DSi because it does not have a GBA expansion slot. However, the M3i Zero will run GBA games on DSs/DS Lites that have a GBA expansion cart.

As advertised on the official website "From Zero to infinity", the M3i Zero is the first card to use specialist hardware to upgrade its firmware, coming with a firmware cable.[30] thus allowing it to bypass Nintendo's DSi update system.[31]

N-Card (NAND Card)

During its lifetime, the N-Card was available in 128MB, 512MB, 1GB, and 2GB. Today there are two versions of N-Card, 1GB and 2GB; smaller cards are discontinued. N-Card does not require FlashMe, PassMe, or any other device or modification. It is compatible with all commercial games without having to patch them. No additional software is required to transfer games from PC to the card. Firmware 1.45 supports download-play - Wi-Fi play has always been supported.

The N-card uses its own internal memory, making read speed faster than cards that use microSD cards.

In order to read the card on the computer to add or remove files, there is a special adapter and an USB cable that comes with the N-Card.

It was the most cloned card on the market with at least six different clones: DS Fire Card, K6, MK5, Ultra N-Card, DS Linker, F-Card. All clones can run the original N-Card firmware.


Like most modern cards, NinjaPass uses MicroSD cards for storage. Compatibility is not total, and is highly dependent on the MicroSD card brand and model. The card works with most homebrew including but not limited to DSAIM, DSLinux, MoonShell, NesDS, LemmingsDS, and DSOrganize. It is compatible with MicroSD cards of up to 4GB and works with cards of all speeds provided that the speed is adjusted for on the main boot menu before loading any applications. The product website provides users with all of the necessary startup software for download. rated the NinjaPass Evolution X9 a score of 82% in their official review.[32]

YushenDS Card, R4DS, M3 DS Simply, and their clones

R4DS (Revolution for DS), YushenDS Card (YDC), and M3DS Simply are essentially the same hardware product. The same method is used to distinguish between Chinese, English, and Japanese (and German for the YDC) versions of the cards. The firmware for the various brand and language versions can be readily patched to work on other language or brand versions of the hardware.

The original R4 card was updated in early 2007 to the "R4 version 2" or "R4v2".[33] In late 2007, the R4v2 was revised, eliminating the spring mechanism for inserting and releasing the Micro-SD card. Instead, it simply had a slot in the back where a user could manually slot a Micro-SD card in. This eliminated the problems of the original R4 Revolution DS Card where the spring mechanism reportedly malfunctioned after prolonged use.[34] rated the original R4 a score of 95% in their official review.[35]

Further confusion has been added by the arrival of numerous poor-quality clones of the YDC(R4,M3) hardware: selling under the brands including N5, E7, ND1, NPlayer, U2DS, MARS, and numerous variations on the R4 name, such as "R4DS Upgrade-II", New R4, R4 Deluxe, R4 Advance, R4 DS III, R4 SDHC, R4 Pro, and R4 Ultra. The firmware for genuine YDC(R4) cards is encrypted, although the encryption scheme was broken in 2007 and several utilities exist for encrypting, modifying, and decrypting YDC(R4) firmware. The N5 and most other clones use a decrypted version of the firmware; decrypted YDC(R4) firmware can be used on the N5 and some other clone cards, and encrypted clone firmware can be used on the R4. Some clone manufacturers have released modified versions of the firmware to support additional games; others have done away with the R4 firmware entirely and replaced it with homebrew loaders such as YSMenu or other alternatives.

All of these are one-card (slot-1) solutions that use MicroSD cards for storage, and all the final official firmware versions include Action Replay cheats, auto-DLDI patching and support for Nintendo Wi-Fi connection and Download Play. They also include a hardware-specific version of the Moonshell media player, selection of which is integrated with the main menu.


Around August 2007, the R4 team revised the hardware to use a springless memory slot as there had been significant complaints about the failure of the slot.

The R4 has since been discontinued. The last official firmware was 1.18, released on April 23, 2008, but clone manufacturer R4Li continued unofficial updates for the original R4.[36] In addition to the official firmware, a Closed-Source firmware is also under active development, called Wood R4. Wood R4 written by Yellow Wood Goblin is updated into latest version Wood R4 v1.30 on May 19, 2011.[37] A Wood R4 DS patch was released on Dec 24th, 2010. R4 DS users can run this patch to update online Wood R4 kernel automatically. It is not sure about whether it can get users' personal data protected.[38]

The R4 has been banned from sale in Japan, due to its promotion of illegal software piracy.[39] Nintendo filed and won a lawsuit against an Australia-based distributor over selling the R4 card, but the technology itself remains unbanned.[40] These cards have also been banned from sale or import in the UK following a high court ruling.[41]

Unlike newer cards, the R4 cannot read SDHC (Secure Digital High Capacity) cards due to hardware limitations, although certain clones add this functionality. There exist several clones of the R4 card that are capable of using SDHC cards, but some studies have suggested that certain types of these cards have high failure rates. One clone, named the "R4 SDHC", is reported to be reliable. R4DS is now known to be outdated, as many other flashcarts are known to be better and cheaper (Acekard 2, M3 Real Supercard One, and Edge), and a genuine R4DS is hard to find.[42]

N5 Revolution for DS

The N5 Revolution for DS is a new flashcart that is simply a direct clone of the R4DS. Not much information has been released about this cart so far, but this cart is nearly identical to the R4DS. The N5 uses an unencrypted version of the R4's OS. The OS is exactly the same except the main menu screen has N5 instead of R4. Even the version numbers are the same. The cart has the same compatibility as the R4. The N5 has automatic DLDI patching like the R4 for homebrew games and applications.

Reported problems with the N5 included the MicroSD reader corrupting MicroSD cards, in addition to the usual problems associated with R4s and their variants, such as spring breakages. There is also no MicroSDHC compatibility (freezes on loading screen) and initial reports of high failure rates. Numerous people have also reported their DS being damaged by this cart. N5 Team have also released the N5i for (NDSL/NDSi only) but no additional information is available at this time.


R4-III was very popular; it had the reputation to be one of the few clones one could trust for a card branded as "R4" after the original R4DS stopped production. Unlike the original R4DS, it was compatible with SDHC MicroSD memory card and many updates continued to be released for many months. When the DSi hit the market, its popularity dropped drastically. Its website is now down.[43]


This card may seem just like any other R4 clone, but it has several features not found in any other R4 clone. Unlike other clone cards, such as the R4-SDHC, SDHC support is not advertised at all, but SDHC cards work on the NDSL R4 regardless. Its firmware appears to be a binary modification of MoonShell v2.10 stable, added with YSMenu (though it lacks the infolib.dat), along with some odd background music and sound effects. The NDSL R4 supports RTS, or Real-Time Save, the ability to save a "snapshot" of an exact location of where a player is in a game. The RTS feature is activated by pressing A+B+X+Y+Start+Select, which brings the player to a white screen with a "Load" and a "Save" button. The feature does not work properly on some games, such as Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing, where it causes major graphical corruption. RTS is not advertised on the package, however. _DS_MENU.DAT seems to be under some sort of unknown encryption, and has a file size of 6.70 MB, along with _DS_MENU.SYS with a filesize of 4.5 MB, and an empty _DS_MENU.INI. _DS_MENU.INI seems to only contain four line breaks. The Wood R4 custom firmware works on the NDSL R4, in conjunction with the WAIO Loader.

SuperCard DSONE

The SuperCard DSONE is a slot-1 solution that uses MicroSD cards for storage. It is made by the SuperCard Team.

The earlier version of SuperCard DSONE demands a very high-speed microSD to fully utilize its gameplay function. With the newer SDHC compatible models, games are playable with slower SD cards, nullifying the most significant problem with the original. The latest firmware includes several functions, like Real-Time saving, Real-Time cheats, and Real-Time game guides. The Supercard DSONE also exists in a version compatible with the recently released Nintendo DSi which is called the DSONEi. DSONEi comes with a firmware writer for future firmware update in case Nintendo releases DSi firmware update to block flash carts. DSTWO, a successor to DSONE/DSONEi which has built-in GBA/SNES Emulator, has been announced and is now for sale. rated the SuperCard DSONE v1 a score of 89% and the SuperCard DSONE v2 a score of 83% in their official reviews.[44][45]

R4i 3DS / R4i SDHC

The first R4i SDHC team (from, who released the R4i 3DS card, were the first "original" card to become compatible with the Nintendo DSi 1.4.2 firmware released in May 2011. [46]

This R4 is also a clone, and it is better than the original[citation needed]. The first ones released were the R4-SDHC and R4i-SDHC. When nintendo released their V1.4 update, these cards were blocked. The R4 team then made a new R4 card, the R4i-SDHC V1.4. Then, there was another firmware update, the Dsi V1.4.1, and you had to buy a new R4i-SDHC V1.4.1 again. This made lots of users angry[citation needed], as other cards simply release upgrade patches. But now, they[who?] released the "3DS Card". I told them that, "that was a REALLY stupid name ", and I suggested R4i 3Ds, so they[who?] released it under that name.

They released a patch for R4i V1.4.2, so you dont have to buy a new card. They[who?] have also done that for V1.4.3. Kernel link: There is also unofficial kernel: Romachine Kernel.

R4i Gold

The R4i gold is one of the more popular of the "R4 clones".[47] It is compatible with the DS, DSi, and the DSi XL. The R4i Gold is usually packaged in a distinctive gold box while the chip itself features gold color components which easily differentiate it from the original red R4i and original green R4 DS chips.

The R4i Gold proved popular in America and Europe in late 2009 and early 2010 due to its excellent game compatibility, and early support for the new DSi v1.4 firmware meaning there was no need for the end user to manually update the card's own firmware.[48] R4i Gold team split into and at the early 2010. has the official support from Yellow Wood Goblin, meaning R4i Gold cn can also run Wood Firmware. is also seeking more cooperation from AKAIO kernel.[49] An enhanced R4IDS card - R4I GOLD PLUS from was released into market ever since Aug 30th, 2011. Its firmware writer can renew R4I GOLD PLUS firmware and gets free from system block error.[50]

Some versions of the R4i Gold eventually added support for DS homebrew games and applications for the new Nintendo 3DS system. Allowing 3DS owners to store and load DS homebrew games and applications on the Nintendo 3DS. It does only work in DS mode on the Nintendo 3DS, but work is underway to make it a full fledged 3DS card, allowing the future 3DS homebrew games and applications to be developed and released.

R4i Redant

This R4 is a not very popular clone but it supports homebrew and commercial games but is designed for the NDS homebrew community to play their games. There are a few technical issues including support for 2GB MicroSD's. Most other R4's support up to 32GB FAT32 MicroSD's, Can not run on updated DSi Consoles and sometimes the "Games" section goes corrupt. The real product R4i SDHC Red does not have these technical issues and supports all MicroSD's, and though Redant is a fake, no DS's have been bricked and may only crash when running pirated games. The R4i Redant product does not sell much of its product anymore, other fakes like R4 King and R4 DSi LL have continued selling their products.

Galaxy Eagle i

It has been confirmed by sources close to the AKAIO developers that the Galaxy Eagle I is an Acekard 2i clone. While the GEi developers would have you believe otherwise, the firmware has been examined and the following facts emerged. The GEi is running a combination firmware solution which incorporates an R4-like firmware (based on the official AK2i firmware which Acekard modified to look like the R4 for their official OEM R4Ultra) and the decrypted/hacked AKAIO 1.6 courtesy of Rudolph (GBA ExpLoader developer). Apparently the Flash Kit is using both firmwares to keep a current ROM compatibility, however this may be incorrect as the firmware was only briefly examined.

AKAIO Firmware 1.7 and up is more securely encrypted, and the AKAIO 1.7+ loaders can not be used for AKAIO 1.6. Meaning that the GEi firmware will only be updated as an unofficial R4Ultra firmware.

Third generation

The Third Generation began with release of the Supercard DSTWO. Emulation, drag/drop video playback, on-the-fly anti-piracy advancements, an in-game menu system, slow-motion, soft-reset, a real-time cheat editor, eReader support, and hex editor. The biggest change in these flashcarts versus second generation was the fact that these flashcarts had anti-piracy countermeasures to bypass the ROM without patching them and without requiring an firmware update. Also the fact that now these flashcarts have built-in RAM and powerful CPUs which allow the use of powerful homebrew programs like emulation, video/music playback, and eReader support. Currently, the flashcarts in existence that offer these features are The Supercard's DSTWO, EX4i, iSmart Premium, iSmart Multimedia, and CycloDS iEvolution. Currently the DSTWO is the most popular flashcart in this generation.

SuperCard DSTWO

The SuperCard DSTWO was revealed on November 20, 2009. The official list of features include real-time functions (saving and cheats), multiple save files, bypass piracy block without patches, microSDHC support, multiple languages (English, French, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, Traditional Chinese), a built-in GBA/SNES emulator, four levels of slow motion, a file management system (rename, copy, etc.), and iReader which supports displaying BMP, JPEG, JPG, PNG, TIF, GIF, TXT, and PDF files, as well as support for several PC video formats including DivX/Xvid. It is capable of performing functions not found in a standard slot-1 flashcard, such as GBA emulation, since the card boasts 32 MB of built-in RAM and an extra coprocessor. Because of this, the built-in CPUs on the card end up draining the battery significantly at startup of the cart, but it's not a big complaint among owners and the Supercard Team. The cart features rewritable firmware like the DSONEi. This cartridge will also include an in-game hex-editing cheat code maker, activated with the press of buttons. The DSTWO is the first of its kind.[27] The DSTWO also supports EZ Flash 3in1 expansion and the SuperCard expansion brands. SuperCard Team release the SDK for the DSTWO flashcart to homebrew developers only when contacted by email. SC Team goal for the release of the SDK was to hope small developers would release power programs and help with debugging of the EOS, GBA, SNES system on the flashcart. Currently The DSTWO is compatible with the DS, DSL, and DSi up to the latest 1.4.1/1.4.2 firmware and 3DS up to the latest 2.1.0-3U firmware. Nintendo has released 1.4.1 for NA,EU,JPN and 1.4.2 in China to block the current flashcarts. In less than 24 hours after the release of these updates, the Supercard Team released a bypass patch for the DSTWO to be able to run on the latest DSi firmware once again.

The Supercard Team are extremely fast at updating the Supercard DSTWO, they quickly found a way to let the Supercard DSTWO to work on the 3DS, just like they did for the recent DSi 1.4.1–1.4.2 CHN fix. The Supercard team has opened a special secret forum for everyone that has been granted permission to get the SCDSTWO SDK (Software Development Kit). This will allow developers to help each other out with the SDK and hopefully allow us to see awesome homebrew in the future. Renowned homebrew and emulator developer alekmaul has recently received the SDK along with a free flashcart sample, and he started porting his Dingoo emulators to the Supercard DSTWO. First of which, an Atari 7800 emulator.[51]

Alekmaul has released his MAME EMU for the DS2. The emulator supports the MAME 0.37b5 ROM set. Based on the included documentation this is a port of his Dingoo MAME4ALL build, which leaves open the possibility for future Dingoo EMU ports to the SCDSTWO.[52] praised the DSTWO in their review.[53]


The EX4i flashcart was created by the R4Li team, and is competitor to the now famous SuperCard DSTWO. It is also DSi compatible under the 1.4 in all regions of the firmware, but not on 1.4.1 and 1.4.2 China. The EX4i is a slot-1 card with similar functions to the DSTWO. Like the DSTWO, its features are GBA emulation, an enhanced movie player, and music support. The EX4i OS is basically a replica of the R4 menu system.It can load GBA ROMs through an in-built emulator.

iSmart Premium

iSmart Premium is the 3rd most recent flashcart to enter the 3rd generation era. iSmart Premium is a competitor to the Supercard DSTWO, DSi-compatible, and marketed around $15. The iSmartDS Team are made up of individuals who have publicly stated to have experience with the flashcart hobby. Their first cart, the iSmart Premium, is being heavily compared to both the Acekard series (price point and opensource firmware options) and EZ Vi (for which the iSmart Premium is based on), and features a yet-unreleased open-source SDK, an in-game menu (save-states, in-game guide, soft-reset), customizable skins, multilingual support, an Action Replay cheat engine, hardware based anti-piracy circumvention, 3in1 expansion support, and more. The iSmartDS Team boasts that the Anti-Piracy patching routines are smart enough to circumvent all current and future ROM based anti-piracy measures. The kit also supports an intelligent save-type detection routine allowing the software to function without the need for save-type database file updates. rated the iSmart Premium a score of 87% in their official review.[54]

iSmart MM (MultiMedia)

The iSmart MM is the successor to the first flashcart release this year by the iSmart Team. It aims to sit alongside the iPlayer and SuperCard DSTWO in the realms of the enhanced flash card: support for video (hardware decoding) and GBA roms via emulation and hopefully other homebrew in the future (The team have already released much to the open source community.) as well as being as compatible with roms as the present iSmart Premium. No firm release date yet other than "November" of 2010.[55]

The features for iSmart MM stated by the iSmart Team in more detail:

Movie Player:
No conversion needed, hardware decoding.
Supported video formats: RMVB,RM,AVI,FLV,MPG,WMV,MOV,3GP
Resolution: 640x480
Display mode: Original mode,standard mode,full screen display
Music Player:
Supported formats: MP3,WMA,APE,FLAC,WAV,AAC,OGG,RA,M4A
Play Mode: Sequence, Random, Single, Single Loop, All Loop play.
ROMs Support:
Four Slots Real Time Save, Real Time Guide (text and BMP image) and Real Time Cheat (.DAT format).
MicroSD supports up to 32 GB.
Multiple languages: English, Traditional and Simplified Chinese, French, Italian, German, Spanish and Korean)
Built-in NDS/GBA emulator
Hardware supports Slow Motion (4 speeds)
Anti-Piracy, no patches needed for anti-piracy built-in games.
Built-in DLDI homebrew support

CycloDS iEvolution

Team Cyclops have announced a brand new flashcart on November 3, 2010.[56] This new cartridge, unlike the regular CycloDS, will work on all current DS/DSi models and appears to be following in the footsteps of the Supercard DSTWO with an upgradeable boot ROM (used to circumvent new firmware Flashcart block outs like v1.4.1). The iEvolution will support SDHC cards and has classic CycloDS features such as real-time save and slow motion. According to Team Cyclops, their new DSi cart, the CycloDS iEvolution will have as the first cart ever, support for exclusive DSi features such as camera access. The cart will run in DSi mode and take advantage of the hardware of the DSi, including the full CPU clock. The CycloDS iEvolution also enables exclusive DSi homebrew, that won't work as fluidly on another flash carts. Team Cyclops supported the DSi homebrew scene by providing developers free iEvo sample carts.[57]


Action Replay-compatible cheat function
8MB flash memory onboard
Super robust and high build quality
Superior technical support
Multilingual OS
Regular software updates
Onboard updatable bootstrap feature
Supports microSD and microSDHC memory cards up to 32GB
Autoboot mode
Supports homebrew applications and games
Full download play support
Wii connectivity mode supported
Enhanced mode with features such as slow motion and real-time save
Updater module and microSD reader included.[58]

Nintendo 3DS Games


In September 2011, a previously unknown Nintendo DS card developer calling themselves Crown3DS released details, along with a video, of a DS card in development that would be capable of playing Nintendo 3D games designed for the 3DS console[59]. This was big news because to date, DS Slot-1 cards were only able to play regular DS and DSi games, without being able to play online-based DSiWare and 3D games for the 3DS console[60].

The card appeared to be playing a 3D version of Splinter Cell 3DS[61]. There was also no proof of it being able to work across all 3D games, nor was there any indication of how close the experimental card was to mass production[62].

See also


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  2. ^ "Acekard 2 Review". Retrieved 2009-12-17. 
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  7. ^ "Acekard 2i on Nintendo DSi 1.4.1U/1.4.1E Firmware". 
  8. ^
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  10. ^ "CycloDS Evolution Official Review". 2007-08-22. 
  11. ^ "CYCLODS ... A world far beyond the realm of just gameplay". Retrieved 2009-12-17. 
  12. ^ "DS-Xtreme 4GiB Official Review". muggsy @ 2006-10-22. 
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  14. ^ "Comprehensive review of the DSTT.". Retrieved 2009-12-24. 
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  16. ^ "Download Unofficial TTi DSTT Kernel". 2011-05-19. 
  17. ^ "Nintendo 3DS Compatible Cards". R4i Shop. 2011-04-24. Retrieved 2011-04-24. 
  18. ^ "EZ Flash V Official Review". retrohead @ 2007-01-07. 
  19. ^ Spike (6 March 2010). "iEdge Review". Two Screen. Retrieved 2010-04-23. "Over the past two years it has become apparent that the Edge is nothing more than a budget cart from Team Cyclops, stripped of high end features and beta cycle OS releases." 
  20. ^ Urza (3 February 2008). "EDGE Review, Official GBAtemp Review". Retrieved 2010-04-22. 
  21. ^ "Popular Edge Nintendo DS Card Ceases Production In October 2009". PRLog. NDS-Gear. 17 October 2009. Retrieved 2010-04-22. 
  22. ^ "Popular Edge Nintendo DS Card Ceases Production In October 2009". Articlesbase. 8 February 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-22. 
  23. ^ "Telling Apart Fake and Genuine iEDGE Cards". Nintendo DSi Cards. 2010-05-10. 
  24. ^ "Fake iEDGE Cards". EDGE DS Cards. 2010-04-02. 
  25. ^ "Difference in Packaging Between Real and Fake iEDGE Cards". Nintendo DSi Cards. 2010-05-14. 
  26. ^ "iEDGE DS Ceased Production?". EDGE DS Cards. 2011-09-23. 
  27. ^ a b shaunj66. "Supercard DSTWO announced". Retrieved 2009-11-20. 
  28. ^ "Download-HandHeldSources". Retrieved 2009-12-17. 
  29. ^ "The release date of M3i Zero has been confirmed !". M3 Team. 10 July 2009. Retrieved 2010-04-22. "The release date of M3i Zero has been confirmed. We will release M3i Zero next week on 15-7-09." 
  30. ^ "M3i Zero announced !". M3 Team. 14 June 2009. Retrieved 2010-04-22. "-Unique technique, from Zero to Infinity ('0 '-> '∞ ') […] upgradable "Firmware"" 
  31. ^ "M3i Bypassing Nintendo DSi Firmware Update !". R4 DS Revolution Cards Information Site. 10 August 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-12. 
  32. ^ "NinjaPass Evolution X9 Official Review". Toadette @ 2007-06-16. 
  33. ^ retrohead (22 February 2007). "R4DS Version Comparison". retrohead @ Retrieved 2010-04-22. "To help answer any questions, Samad at ModMyDS sent me a sample of the R4DS version 2 to compare against the first model. […] The spring loaded micro SD slot seems to be exactly the same for the samples I received [sic], contrary to belief." 
  34. ^ "News". R4DS. 17 September 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-10-11. Retrieved 2010-04-22. "Due to many compliants [sic] of the TF card slot problem, R4 team has improved it and released a new plastic shell. No push needed now!" 
  35. ^ "R4 DS Version 1 Official Review". retrohead @ 2007-01-26. 
  36. ^ "R4 Revolution, R4 Firmware, R4 Kernel". 2010-03-21. Retrieved 2010-04-10. 
  37. ^ / "Wood R4 V1.30 Kernel". 2011-05-19. /. 
  38. ^ "Wood R4 DS Update Patch". 2010-12-24. 
  39. ^ "JAPAN: R4 cards banned | Games Industry | MCV". Mcvuk. Retrieved 2009-12-17. 
  40. ^ "Nintendo wins lawsuit over R4 mod chip piracy - Hardware - Technology - News -". Haymarket Media. 2010-02-18.,nintendo-wins-lawsuit-over-r4-mod-chip-piracy.aspx. Retrieved 2010-04-10. 
  41. ^ "UK court rules R4 carts for DS illegal". Retrieved 2010-07-29. 
  42. ^ "Different / Fake Versions of R4 and R4i Cards". R4 DS Revolution Cards. Retrieved 2009-03-31. 
  43. ^ "R4v3 Fake/Clone Card". 
  44. ^ "SuperCard DS (One) Official Review". muggsy @ 2007-02-16. 
  45. ^ "SuperCard DS (One) v2 Official Review". Zelion @ 2007-05-30. 
  46. ^ "R4i 3DS Card Working on Nintendo 1.4.2 DSi Firmware". NintendoDSCards. 2011-06-04. 
  47. ^ "Information About the R4i Gold Card". 
  48. ^ "R4i Gold Card About and Fake Card Information". 
  49. ^ "R4i Gold Card between Wood Firmware and AKAIO". 
  50. ^ "R4I GOLD PLUS Card". 
  51. ^
  52. ^
  53. ^ "SuperCard DSTWO Review". Ferretboy007 @ Retrieved 2010-08-13. 
  54. ^ "iSmart Premium DS Review". Kiekoes @ 2011-01-05. 
  55. ^
  56. ^
  57. ^
  58. ^
  59. ^
  60. ^ R4DSRevolution (20 Sep 2011). "Crown3DS Plays 3DS Games with DS Flash Card on Nintendo 3DS Console". 
  61. ^ DSCardWorld (21 Sep 2011). "Crown3DS First Card to play 3D Games". 
  62. ^

Official flashcart websites

Unofficial clone flashcart websites

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