Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Supercard DS ONEi Review


Supercard has a long history of providing flash cartridges to the GBA and DS, being one of the first to provide stable support. Now, they’ve released the SuperCard DS ONEi – a cartridge very similar to the SuperCard DS ONE that was originally released as a slot-1 flash cart for the DS and DS lite. Right now, the current choices for a flash cart for the DSi are far slimmer than for the DSlite, so the release of the SuperCard DS ONEi was highly anticipated.

Physical Properties

The SuperCard DS ONEi comes bundled with a usb “flasher” and a microSD reader. The microSD’s reader is decent…I prefer not using it because it makes a slight grating noise as I put my microSD in. I don’t see any scratches or anything, but it still freaks me out. I’ve used it at least 10 times though, and it still works fine.

The USB flasher that is included is meant to flash the firmware of your Supercard DS ONEi should Nintendo release a firmware update that blocks the use of your Supercard. If Nintendo does, you’d be left with a SuperCard that can’t be updated (because you can’t access it on your DSi). This is where the USB flasher comes in. All you would need to do is copy some new firmware files onto your microSD, plug the microSD into the supercard, and then plug the supercard into the usb flasher. When the usb flasher is plugged into a usb port, it will read the files on your supercard and begin patching immediately. Essentially, the usb flasher helps update your card should your card ever become blocked.

The SuperCard DS ONEi itself is a little bulkier than the other DSi flash carts that I’ve tested. It feels like I’m stuffing the cartridge slot a bit when I put it in, but I guess that’s good to make sure it makes full contact with the metal contacts on the DSi. It is always detected by the DSi and has no problems in that department.


The Supercard DSONEi is VERY slow at loading and booting. I noticed that in a folder with multiple games (anywhere over 8), the ONEi would even lag when scrolling downwards. I don’t mean a slight pause either – I mean a good 1-2 second lag to scroll a SINGLE game down. This was VERY irritating, and it takes me nearly 20 seconds to reach a game that’s near the end of my folder (of 10 games).

Like the EzFlash V and Vi, the supercard is based off of moonshell. This means you have video, music, and text support, right from the firmware – no homebrew needed. One thing to note though, is that the developer of moonshell has requested that supercard (and all flash carts in general) not to copy his code for moonshell 2.0, which is faster and less buggy. Some flash cart companies have ignored this plea, making him quite angry. Supercard, however, has abided by his wishes (so far) and are using moonshell 1.5. However, the downside is that moonshell 2.0 is much faster with better video rendering and smoother operating. Hopefully the creator of moonshell will agree to let supercard run moonshell 2.0 sometime.

The ONEi seems to have support for even the newest roms, such as GTA: Chinatown (which many cartridges needed to be patched for). However, a huge downside to the ONEi is it’s rom loading time. I didn’t record the exact times, but even loading a small game like tetris felt like it took nearly twice as long (if not longer) to load. This is definitely a huge minus in my book – the faster a rom can load the better. To make up for the slow speed however, the supercard offers many awesome features that we’re used to having in the best ds lite carts, mentioned below.

Advanced features

By pressing X while looking at a rom file in the file browser, you can access and enable a bunch of features, such as realtime save, realtime guide, and realtime cheats. While it carries an impressive range of advanced features (or as the supercard website calls them, “powerful features” lol), the supercard team didn’t give a good job explaining how to use them. All you need to do to enable these features is tap on the box next to the feature. However, the supercard team failed to mention that enabling certain combinations simply cancels all the other features out. For example, when I turned on some combinations of advanced features the rom would no longer boot, or it would boot without ANY of the features.

1) Realtime save
The realtime save for the supercard seems to work great. It definitely doesn’t look nearly as pretty as the old CycloDS advanced menu, but it gets down and dirty with realtime save and works great on multiple games I’ve tested.

2) RealTime Guide

The ONEi is the first DSi flash cart to offer RealTime Guide. Many people have never experienced or seen this function, since many of the last generation flash carts for the DS lite/DS didn’t have it. This awesome feature allows you to view a text file while playing a game. You simply hit a key combination (for the supercard ONEi, it’s L+R+START+DOWN) and your game will pause, and a text viewer will pop up. However, the realtime guide could use a lot of work. Currently, it only displays guides on one screen, with a gigantic font. Most guides are considerably large, so it takes forever to scroll to where you need to read. The screen usually only holds two sentences or so at a time. Also, you must change your file format from a txt to .scd, which is specifically made for the supercard.

3) Realtime Cheats

This is a nice feature which allows you to activate/deactivate your cheats while playing. Sometimes, we just want the cheats to be available without having to save and reboot. However, you don’t want them to be on unless you need them. This is when it’s very convenient to have cheats that can be enabled while playing a game, so that they are only activated if you really need them.

4) Multiple Save Slots

One of my favorite features on the ONEi is its easy-to-use multiple-save interface. Some flash carts have this function, but it’s a bit difficult to keep track and activate the saves. With the Supercard DS one, you only have to enter the saves menu and click “add” to add a new save. You can make as many saves as you want, and to choose the one you want to play you just need to select one and make it the “default”. Each rom can have multiple save files.

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
RealTime Guide Needs special text format/long patching
RealTimeSave Poor Advanced Feature Menu
RealTimeCheats Incredibly slow to load roms
USB Flasher

The Supercard DS ONEi has many of the features that I would like to see in an ideal flash cart for the DSi. However, it’s SERIOUS problem with lag makes the cartridge a huge turnoff. It can take 2-3 minutes for me to load up a game. Also, the many flaws in the design of it’s RealTimeGuide make the guide practically unusable. I would personally rarely use it because of its incredibly slow loading and the errors I run into when applying advanced features.

Overall Grade: B+

The supercard team has just released their newest firmware, which increases the speed that cart works at. Also, I wanted to mention (due to popular demand) that by changing the view to list view (or anything without the picture icon), I can greatly increase the rom-list speed. However, I personally feel that if other carts can load the rom images and info immediately, so should the supercard. Reflecting on my scoring, I might have been a little harsh. It offers more features than any other DSi flash cart, and has no physical flaws. Therefor, I am bumping up it’s Score from B- to B+. I still prefer my other cartridges over this one. It probably just isn’t as bad as I made it out to be.

Source from : http://www.goodtechtips.com/supercard-ds-onei-video-review/

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