Author Topic: Neo Team MK4-Mini & MK4-Key for DS Reviewed!!!  (Read 7498 times)

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Offline Dr.neo

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Neo Team MK4-Mini & MK4-Key for DS Reviewed!!!
« on: July 05, 2006, 12:42:30 PM »
Neo Team MK4-Mini & MK4-Key for DS Reviewed!!!

Product: Neo Team MK4-Mini & MK4-Key for DS
Reviewer: Jassen Payen
Available Soon: Divineo Network
Official Website: NeoFlash.com

Today I received these two swanky looking products from Neo Team 2006, the MK4-Mini and MK4-Key. Neo Team are mostly known for their DS/DS Lite and PSP products, which provide all manner of solutions for your gaming and/or developing needs. Examples of products that they have created include the Neo 2-in-1 Converter (Including 4gb Microdrive), and the Neo 8-in-1 PSP Pad.





On the DS front, they have concentrated on providing a solution for budding developers with their NeoFlash range of products (such as the Neo MK2/3), which allows users to run unsigned code from regular SD/CF based memory cards. Inevitably this provides a pathway for users/coders to test out their own games, backups and applications. This requires the bypassing of the RSA encryption scheme imposed on the DS cartridge slot.

Short History – Cracking the code

This leads us to a short reminder of how this was done, and the basis of what is being reviewed! The method by which this was first possible was when a hacker called Dark Fader worked out the RSA encryption schemes of the DS slot. Having done so, he designed a method of tricking the DS into booting code from the GBA cartridge slot of a DS.

This was manufactured to a PCB card called the ‘passme’ that would be slotted into the DS Slot to bypass the security. This is what would allow you to boot homebrew and backups from the convenience of your favourite flashcard in the GBA slot. Nintendo once sought to step up their DS encryption with newer DS models, and the DS Lite rendering the original Passme/passkey useless.

Thus a new version of the Passkey was created, the Passkey 2, which currently works with all models of the DS/DS Lite, but requires a long-winded technique of loading a file, and programming the PassKey 2 to recognise a ‘donor’ DS Cart to get working. You can read more about my experiences with the Passkey here.

A cheap product was created shortly after called the Max Media Launcher, This aimed to condense the bulk (Passkey’s would generally stick out the top of the DS Slot), eliminate the donor card, and eliminate confusion by providing a bite-sized simple way of just working. It shares the same dimensions as a regular DS card that only needed plugging in and turning on to do the same work as the bulky complex passkey 2 without the extra fuss.

Unfortunately there were a couple of shortcomings, which include not working correctly in ‘sleep-mode’ and being incompatible with certain GBA flashcards. The MK4-Mini and MK4-Key are both very similar to the Max Media Launcher, but aim to improve upon the slight niggles described, to provide a pain free, transparent experience to enjoying your DS!

First Impressions

Anyone who has bought Neo Team products in the past will recognise the shimmery holographic design on its packaging. This is true of both the MK4 products, which look identical to each other in every way, except for the cartridge shown through the blister packaging on the front. The cart is the only thing that describes whether you have an MK4-Mini or an MK4-Key, as both sets of packaging are carbon copies with the MK4-Mini title emblazoned on the top of both packages.


You can tell that Neo Team are more than a little inspired by The Matrix, the familiar tiny green trailing characters of a computer screen flows downwards from the top, and fades to a black background. Everything that appears on the packaging has a holographic effect. The Neo Team 2006 logo is just below the title, as well as a small descriptive blurb of features, which read:

? Support ALL NDS & Lite
? GBA / NDS Swap
? PLUG and PLAY
? R.S.A Secure

Below this near the bottom of the packaging is a holo-picture of 6 DS Phats in their different colours, which creates a nice impact. The back of the packaging describes the MK4 mini SPEC as follows:

? Can boot all versions of NDS and NDS Lite
? 100% Plug and Play
? Supports all Flashcards (Neo/XG/SC/M3/MP etc)
? Can adjust brightness level of NDS / NDS Lite
? Size is almost the same as one NDS card
? With R.S.A Secure
? Can boot from GBA Slot or NDS Slot, More Flexible!

Below this are pictures of the 3 japanese DS Lite variations, and a simple 3 step instruction of how to use the MK4-Mini. It really is a case of plug and play. Surprisingly, the package includes a mini CD, even though it isn’t needed for this device. Overall I was very pleased with the packaging, I was expecting a no frills package, but the holographic elements of the design are very attractive and presented nicely. The quality of the packaging is great, and I was able to get to the contents without mangling it with scissors, which is usually the trend with blister packs!

The contents consist of the MK4-Mini/key cart, and the mini-cd. Checking the mini-cd out, it provides a useful resource to the uninitiated in some aspects of the Neo Team products, a link to Flashme (if you want to modify your DS’s firmware with the software to bypass the R.S.A encryption) and some example programs from the Neo Team coding competition to try out on your flashcard.

Cart Comparison

Looking at the cartridge itself, I compared its size and dimension to that of my Mario Kart cartridge, currently occupying my DS Slot. It is virtually identical in size, and design. The difference being that there is a really tiny switch on the top of the MK4-Mini and MK4-Key allowing you to specify whether the cart boots straight into the DS mode, or into GBA mode, a function lacking on other pass-me type devices that only boots to GBA.


I then compared both the MK4-Mini and MK4-Key to each other, and they are also dimensionally identical. The only difference between them is colour, and one slight discrepancy in description. The MK4-Mini has EEPROM, which gives you an option to save your DS save files directly to the MK4-Mini cart. This is a handy function because some NDS backups have issues on their respective flashcards when saving, and the only alternate solution is to save to an existing NDS Card, overwriting the save for the game it was designed for, but proving to be a solution for compatibility issues where gamesaves are concerned. At the time of writing, a new patcher has come out to patch rom files to save to the EEPROM on the MK4-Mini, but it is still in beta, and thus has limited compatibility at present.

The MK4-Key doesn’t have any EEPROM, so you have to rely on saving your DS saves straight to your flashcard/SD/CF. For most, those using popular flashcards, such as Supercard and M3, this isn’t a problem, but there are some known issues with regular GBA Flashcards that require saving to a NDS cart. Other than this, they both essentially do the same thing.

Easy as pie

I tested both of these out with a Supercard, and an M3, and it works beautifully! It really is so simple to use, even the technically challenged can do it. All you do is plug this thing in the top, put your favourite flashcard in the bottom and you’re away! Both carts tested sit flush with the DS just like a regular cart. Booting up the DS with the switch on ‘GBA’ boots directly into the respective menus on the Supercard/M3 cards that were tested. If you have an MK2/3, which goes through the NDS slot, you can flick the tiny switch on the MK4, which boots directly into NDS mode. You can then select to boot to the MK4-mini/4 where a simple menu allows you to either boot into GBA mode again, or swap the MK4 in the slot for an MK2/3 device.

I have to hand it to the Neo Team, they have produced a solid working product, and in probably the most complete package I have seen yet for a PassMe type device. You could always FlashMe your DS firmware to relegate the Need for a PassMe/PassKey/Max Media Launcher/MK4, but in doing so, there is always a risk of the procedure going wrong, and thus ‘Bricking’ your DS, a term referred to as breaking your DS, and rendering it useless. In fact, there have been reports of attempts to flash the new DS Lites going wrong a bit too often than not.

To avoid this risk, and to save your warranty, I heartily recommend this. I’ll be keeping one of these handy when I transition to the Lite myself. Hmm, you know, there are practically no negatives to this product, but if it would be improved in anyway, how about someone adding a mini/micro SD slot somewhere in it and allowing code to be run straight off it? Of course I’m clutching at straws here…enjoy!

Positives

+ Boot directly into GBA or DS modes
+ Dimensionally the same in size to an original DS cartridge
+ No original ‘donor’ DS cartridge required
+ No programming required
+ Low power consumption, increased battery life compared to big PassMe/PassKeys
+ Works on all DS and DS Lite Variations
+ Exceptional build quality and packaging
+ Sleep mode works!
+ Compatible with all kinds of flashcards
+ Allows users to flash their DS with FlashMe (use at your own risk!)
+ Comes in different colours to match your DS Lite!

Negatives

- Maybe a possible complete MK4-Mini with integrated memory slot, and loading support in the future? (such as NinjaDS without the bulk?)
- Any other suggestions?

original link: http://www.maxconsole.net/?mode=news&newsid=8214
« Last Edit: July 05, 2006, 12:48:39 PM by Dr.neo »
In my world,have 0 and 1 only ......Matrix World......

Offline d-loader

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Re: Neo Team MK4-Mini & MK4-Key for DS Reviewed!!!
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2006, 01:46:03 PM »
Very nice review, congratulations  ::sm-19.gif::

Seems to be the Neo Teams most complete device yet. It really paid off this time, considering there aren't really anything negative about it ( its only suggestions XD )

Offline svenmoleman

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Re: Neo Team MK4-Mini & MK4-Key for DS Reviewed!!!
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2006, 10:41:11 PM »
Nice review. This puts Neoflash in the sunlight.

But that suggestion is realy nice, would be cool to have a 'real' DS flashcard  :D
« Last Edit: July 09, 2006, 06:25:02 AM by svenmoleman »

Offline clestrada

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Re: Neo Team MK4-Mini & MK4-Key for DS Reviewed!!!
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2006, 11:29:13 PM »
So when is the mk4 key going to be available?????? ::sm-06.gif::

Offline miniCooper_S

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Re: Neo Team MK4-Mini & MK4-Key for DS Reviewed!!!
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2006, 12:07:37 AM »
Isn't it available now?  I ordered mine from IC2005.com and got it a couple weeks ago.

Offline ISOHaven

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Re: Neo Team MK4-Mini & MK4-Key for DS Reviewed!!!
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2006, 06:07:34 AM »
I think clestrada meant the MK4/SD.

Offline sven

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Re: Neo Team MK4-Mini & MK4-Key for DS Reviewed!!!
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2006, 08:59:07 PM »
aint the mk4-sd what the reviewer wanted? ::sm-14.gif::

i hope it comes out sone and works perfect.
O hai

Offline ISOHaven

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Re: Neo Team MK4-Mini & MK4-Key for DS Reviewed!!!
« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2006, 06:10:51 AM »
It wont come out soon.  As of two weeks ago they couldn't even answer questions about it.  My guess is the MK4/SD is still on paper.