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Introduction to R4 3DS

Nintendo 3DS ROM Backup Linker & microSD Flash Memory card adapter.

r4-gold

This nice little Slot 1 NDS / DSi / 3DS flash card has been featured under different names, such as Ncard, MK5, Ultra FlashPass, DS Fire Linker, R4i Gold, Neo Flash 5, Express Card and other. They are all basically the same so for the ease of reference I will further call it R4 3DS. With this Slot 1 kit you can play DS ROMs, homebrew, listen to MP3, watch movies, pictures and so on. The only potential drawback is the limited size; however it is compensated by big internal micro SDHC card memory (8Gbit to 64 Gbit; currently the largest size available is 32Gbit) and the really great price. Let’s have a closer look at R4 3DS.

Here is the list of R4i 3DS official features:
  • Supports clean NDS ROMs (simply drag and drop rom files to sd card – no patching required)
  • Compatible with large flash memory cards (from 2Gbit to 32Gbit) SD and SDHC
  • USB 2.0 interface
  • USB disk function (compatible with any operation system)
  • Build in the latest MoonShell (v1.5) and upgradeable
  • Supports homebrew
  • Build in SMS Multi-Save function plus Auto Save
  • Upgradeable menu
  • Multi-ROM support and media play support
  • R4 3DS Turbo Engine (100% game speed without any slowdown)
  • Built in PassMe

(Source www.R4 3DS.com )

Packaging and card

The R4 3DS card is delivered in a typical cardboard box with a carton tray holding 4 items. The packaging is nothing special, but decent. Items included: 

  • Slot 1 card (16GByte)
  • USB v2.0 cable
  • DS Linker Writer
  • Installation disk

The card is made of good quality plastic and looks smooth. It is the same size as original Nintendo cards, so it perfectly fits into console. The USB v2.0 cable is a bit short. The packaging also includes a CD with manual; however I would suggest visiting the manufacturer’s website to download the latest files http://www.r4dscard.com

Installation
First plug the R4 3DS into Slot1, then put the Linker Writer into Slot 2, then connect the USB cable to the Linker Writer and also to your PC (there have been warnings not to use hubs, but in my case it worked just fine). Then turn on the DS and you will see the regular boot menu. You must manually select R4 3DS (unfortunately it does not boot automatically). Once you have uploaded ROMs on the card you can unplug the writer. You can load whatever you want to see on your card. R4 3DS also comes preloaded with Moonshell 1.6 and DSOrganize and both are patched with DLDI drivers, so you will be able to playback video files.
GUI is not too pretty to be honest. The top screen displays game information such as ROM name, file size etc. There is also a help file describing how to back up saves or use PassMe. The bottom screen displays card’s capacity, date and time. The centre is for icons of games loaded on the card. Icon style can be changed and also background is skinnable. There is also a multiple save support for NDS ROMs.
Testing
R4 3DS was tested with many ROMs and provides superb 100% compatibility. It was fascinating – everything I threw at it worked without a glitch. Not so well with homebrew, where compatibility was approximately 80%. I particularly tested

Positives:

  • Superb clean ROM compatibility
  • Good homebrew compatibility
  • Great price
  • 16Gbit Memory
  • Touch screen option
  • Multiple save option
  • PassMe option
  • Low power consumption
  • DLDI support

Negatives:

  • Slow file transfer speed
  • Unattractive GUI
  • Available in one colour

To summarize the above: R4 3DS is a decent reasonably priced slot -1 card practically for anything you need – playing ROMs, homebrew, watching movies, pictures, reading e-books. The design is a bit unattractive and rough e.g. the GUI is not pretty, also R4 3DS does not boot automatically, however you do not have to deal with MicroSD cards. What is very good is the price and the fact the card does all it is designed for. Check it out yourself.

While R4 3DS is the most popular of the 3DS Flash Cards it does have to compete with the following brands that are catching up in popularity:

SuperCard DSTWO 3DS
+ Can do all that R4 3DS can do and plus to that has exclusive built-in DivX Player and GBA, SNES, MAME and now even DOS emulator!
- More expensive than R4i Gold SDHC or AceKard.
AceKard 2i and AK3 acekard
+ Great opensource kernel and firmware that at times has better comunity based support than R4 cards.
- a little more expensive than others and does not have a name that Nintendo promotes like Revolution 4 DS .
EZ-Flash 3DS
+ Well known team from the old days of GBA Flash Linkers comes with a solid card at a reasonable price.
- Rather expensive and software is not as polished as that of the SC3DS and AceKard3.
CycloDS iEVO 3DS
+ The only card capable of running DSi roms in true DSi MODE. Features some exclusive emulators for DSi mode.
- Way too expensive for the feature list that has been surpassed by others.

Offilial online store for 3DS backup linkers -> R4 Shop.com