NEO Team's Projects for the GBA/NDS/NDS lite > MK5 8G/16G GIGA Cart zone

Official ISO-420 Certified Review of the MK5 GIGA

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brakken:
I have just posted a review of NeoFlash's MK5 GIGA system and it's one really good and refined product. You can read it at the URL below.

http://www.iso420.org/nds/mk5/index.htm

Dr.neo:
thanks brakken

here is the complete review:

MK5 GIGA (8Gbit) Review



Written by Brakken
February 2007


Introduction

NeoFlash, the company known for releasing various types of Nintendo DS development units and then not supporting them after a few months has been kind enough to send us a sample of their newly released MK5 Slot 1 backup unit. The main reason why I was originally hesitating to actually review this product is because the lack of support Dr. Neo (the owner of NeoFlash) has given products after they are launched, but after reading through a few forums the MK5 actually out performs most other Slot 1 solutions when it comes to backup game compatibility. This and the fact Dr. Neo is saying they will be dedicated to the MK5 made me change my mind and now I'll be reviewing this little guy.

For those of you that are unfamiliar with Nintendo DS development and backup units here is a brief explanation. Using these products you can run unsigned code (also known as homebrew) and boot backups of your original games. At first you were limited to using a GBA flash cart in conjunction with a rather large PassMe device. The PassMe is what allows you to boot the Nintendo DS code from the GBA slot (Slot 2). Soon after this came Slot 2 units and now the latest trend are Slot 1 (the Nintendo DS cartridge slot).

The MK5 Giga is a Slot 1 solution which comes with it’s own internal memory to store your homebrew, music, movies, pictures and games on. Although I personally dislike being limited to a set size (other carts use removable media allowing for unlimited storage space) I am impressed by the MK5 due to it’s massive amount of internal memory and the price. You can pick up an 8Gbit (1 Gigabyte) unit for $59.99 or double your memory for $10 more. Currently, these are the only two sizes on the market, but the maximum planned size is a whopping 64Gbit – that’s 8 Gigabytes of space!

Features

Supports Clean Roms (No Patching Required)
Huge Internal Memory (8Gbit - 64Gbit)
USB 2.0 Interface (High-Speed Data Transfer)
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 with Auto Save
Menu System is Upgradeable (Drag and Drop the New Core to MK5)
Multi-Rom Support and Media Play Support
MK5 Turbo Engine (100% Game Speed without any Slowdown)
Build in PassMe Functionality (Boots most Slot 2 Carts [NDS/GBA])

 Contents


MK5 Giga Cart (8 or 16Mbit)
MK5 Slot 2 Programmer
USB v2.0 Cable
Software Disc

Installation


 The MK5 Giga is ready to go the minute you take it out of the box. It comes with a few homebrew titles along with DSOrganize and MoonShell. DSOrganize is a full-fledged organizer application, which rivals PDA products such as the Palm Pilot. MoonShell is the mother of all media players, which will let you listen to MP3 files, read text and ebooks and also playback DGP format movies!


 Of course you’ll most likely want to add your own media to the MK5, which is pretty easy to accomplish. All you need to do is plug the MK5 into Slot 1, insert the Programmer into Slot 2 and attach the USB cable to your computer. NeoFlash warns not to use any sort of USB hub when hooking the device up to your PC, but I had no problems what-so-ever with using my HUB.


 Once everything is hooked up all you need to do is power on your Nintendo DS and it will automatically turn itself into a USB Mass Storage Device. If everything goes okay Windows will detect the device and assign it a drive letter. Now you can copy and paste your clean ROM images, music, pictures, text and movies onto the MK5. When the MK5 is transferring data the onscreen text will flash red and blue. Speeds are decent with a throughput of around 1.0 – 1.2 megabytes per second. Once you have you media files on the MK5 you simply turn off your Nintendo DS, take the Programmer out of Slot 2 and then turn your console back on.

Usage

 Using the MK5 couldn’t be easier, but could have been a little more polished. After turning the power on you’ll be brought to the normal Nintendo DS boot menu where you must manually select the MK5. I think it would have been better if it would automatically boot into the MK5’s menu, which would save you, the end user time.

Once you boot the MK5 cartridge you are presented with a brief 3D animation and then are presented with a bunch of animated icons. Each icon is actually the internal image from the homebrew/backup on the MK5, which has been textured onto a 3D block, which is rotating. It’s kind of cool, but I prefer static images, as the 3D ones are a little hard to make out. Luckily, there is extended information located on the top screen, which shows the name of the image, and it’s save game information.


 The MK5 bases it’s save game size off of an external database (which you can update manually). If for some reason the game isn’t in the database you can manually select the save game size by holding Select and pressing Left or Right. Once you’ve selected the save size you can boot the game, but if it doesn’t save or doesn’t work you’ll have to reset your Nintendo DS and then try another size. Luckily, the save database is updated often so check the link at the bottom of the review to find the latest version along with a game compatibility list.


Compatibility wise the MK5 currently runs 100% of the commercial games on the market and around 75% of the homebrew floating around on the Internet. This by itself is a major achievement for the NeoFlash Team, which will definitely help sell their product.

 Another feature of the MK5 is its ability to act as a PassMe device allowing you to boot Slot 2 development/backup units. This comes in handy if you want to play GameBoy Advance homebrew and backups. All you need to do to boot your Slot 2 device is to pick the executable from the main menu and you’re all set.

Additionally, NeoFlash actually was thinking about their end users this time around and made the save data in the same format as their MK4 devices. If you’re upgrading (which you should) all you need to do is copy over the .sav file and you’re good to go.

Lastly, I wanted to include how to fix your MK5 if for some reason the menu system gets corrupted. I though this would be good information to include. It personally hasn’t happened to me, but if it does at least you can fix it.


 To format the MK5 from your Nintendo DS insert it along with the Programmer cart (don’t insert the USB cable just yet). Next hold down the Left Trigger + Right Trigger + Down then power on the console. Once you see the MK5 logo appear keep pressing those three buttons and then press A + B. The Programmer will now format the card. Once this is done follow the instructions above to hook the MK5 up to your PC then copy over the original file structure from the disc included with the MK5. If you do not have the disc I have included the files at the end of this review.

Lastly, there are some customization options, which should keep some people happy. The menu systems along with MoonShell are based on a bunch of normal BMP files, which you can edit at your own discretion. Finally, you can edit the “global.ini” file and change the font color and force the MK5 to automatically save the EEPROM when rebooted.

Conclusion

If you are a fan of devices, which feature their own internal memory and want a really good Slot 1 solution I would actually pick up a MK5 Giga over the competing products. Take for example the over hyped DS-X. It only has 4Gbit of storage space and costs two times more then the MK5 Giga 8Gbit. With it’s unprecedented compatibility with homebrew and backups and promised support I would add this to your list of products to consider.

Negatives

Limited to Internal Memory
Flashing Requires Slot 1 Device
No GameBoy Advance Support
Lack of Proper Instructions & Documentation

Positives

Very Attractive Price
Simple to Use
Acts as it’s own PassMe
Superior Compatibility Rate

 

DjoeN:
I have for some time an Express Card (8GB) in my hands.

It's amazing how identical it looks as the MK5.   :P

Same GUI
Same way of Flashing

Better you can compare the pictures on my Express Card Review   ::sm-22.gif::
http://www.dualscene.net/viewpage.php?page_id=59

Not that i really care :D

Express Card ( and MK5 ) are a great  product and i was amazed how good it performed.

1 Thing you can be sure of, MK5 would be the best product Neoteam has offered for a long time (still waiting for there megadrive/snes/N64 flashkits ;) )

boblen:
Hey,
Yer they are the same,
Just opened the USB GBA cart up and its exact layout and same colour...

boblen:
And theres another one!
By the looks of it.

People say Supercard have made it...
www.dslinker.com

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